JIS News

The government will be clamping down on illegal foreign workers and the inspection team within the Ministry of Labour and Social Security has been strengthened to deal with the matter.
“We have strengthened the inspection team and that team will hit the road very shortly and so people who are in the island without work permits will find themselves in difficulty,” said Labour Minister, Pearnel Charles.
The Minister, who was speaking with journalists at the Iberostar Rose Hall Hotel in Lilliput, St. James recently, following a meeting with tourism investors and contractors in Western Jamaica, said that the government is adamant that all foreign workers within the island must have the relevant work permits as required under the law.
“That is why we gave them enough time to come in and register and apply for a work permit although the law requires them to apply from their homes,” he stated, making reference to the recent moratorium for illegal workers to register their status.
He said that there are still several persons on the island without the relevant permits, and once the clampdown starts, anyone found without the relevant permits will be in trouble with the law.
The meeting with the tourism investors was to apprise them of the Ministry’s policy governing issuing work permits to foreign nationals. During the discussions, which included representatives from the trade union movement, Minister Charles also outlined government’s stance as it relates to working conditions on the project sites.
He stated that the government welcomes the investments being made and the resultant increase in job creation, but the laws must be respected.
He gave the assurance that as long as the proper procedures are followed, the government is prepared to work with all investors to ensure that they have the right persons for available jobs, whether they are foreigners or locals.
He was adamant, however, that as long as there are qualified Jamaicans available for a particular job, no work permit will be issued to foreigners to fill the same posts. “The instruction from the Prime Minister is to protect your capital and to protect the Jamaican worker,” the Labour Minister stated.
Pointing out that there are approximately 600 work permits awaiting his approval, Minister Charles said that by this week, he would have perused the lot and all genuine permits will be approved.

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