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Story Highlights

  • Minister Kellier has called on the Canadian High Commission to give consideration to lifting the visa requirement for seasonal farm workers.
  • Minister Kellier argued that the removal of the visa requirement will ensure the quick dispatch of workers for the programme.
  • Since the visa regime has been introduced for the agricultural workers, it has slowed the process somewhat.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, has called on the Canadian High Commission to give consideration to lifting the visa requirement for seasonal farm workers to the North American country.

He made the request to High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica, His Excellency, Robert Ready, during the opening of the annual review meeting for the Canada/Caribbean Seasonal Agricultural Workers programme on Monday, December 2, at the Riu Hotel and Resorts in Montego Bay.

Minister Kellier argued that the removal of the visa requirement will ensure the quick dispatch of workers for the programme.

He said that although the Canadian High Commission does its best to ensure the timely dispatch of workers to their employers in Canada, the process would have been faster and smoother if the visa requirement were lifted.

“I say that specifically, because when an employer wants a worker he doesn’t really want him next week he wants him right now. It is a service that we provide in the Caribbean to you in Canada and we want the through-put to be as quick and as smooth as possible,” Minister Kellier stated.

He acknowledged that there must be checks and balances to ensure that certain requirements are met, but added that since the visa regime has been introduced for the agricultural workers, it has slowed the process somewhat.

“While we have had good discussions and great cooperation from the High Commission, and things are moving, yes, but we would be better off if we never had to do it (get visas for the agricultural workers),” he stated.

Minister Kellier encouraged High Commissioner Ready to think about the suggestion, while stating that he intends to discuss the matter further.