JIS News

It is anticipated that for the 2010/11 financial year, there will be an increase in the number of Jamaicans recruited to participate in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s United States (US) and Canadian employment programmes.
This is according the Ministry’s annual report for 2009/10 tabled in the House of Representatives recently, which stated that the signs of the US economy recovering from the recession are expected to have a positive impact on the demand for Jamaican workers.
The document further stated that the opportunities for Jamaicans in Canada during the 2009/10 financial year expanded to include the training and recruitment of culinary experts, automotive technicians, practical nurses as well as care aids/personal care attendants.
“A number of Jamaicans are currently accessing training and are hopeful of being absorbed in the Canadian labour market. It is anticipated that the demand for workers in all these areas will increase in the 2010/11 financial year and foster the growth of the Ministry’s Overseas Employment Programme,” the report read.
The Overseas Employment Programmes are administered by the Manpower Services section at the Ministry, which has the objective of facilitating access to employment opportunities both locally and internationally for Jamaican workers.
The Programmes include: the United States Farm Programme; the United States Hospitality/Hotel Workers Programme; the Canadian Farm and Factory Programme; and the Guantanamo Bay Programme.
During fiscal year 2009/10, a total of 10,200 persons were employed in North America, with the Canadian Farms/Factories Programme employing 5,862 persons, representing the highest number of persons recruited for the period, which accounted for 57.5 per cent of the total number. The US Farm Work Programme followed with the employment of 3,798 persons or 37.2 per cent.
“A total of 3,671 persons were recruited in the US Farm Work Programme during the year and 3,427 returned to Jamaica. Of this number, 45 were absent without official leave (AWOL), two persons changed status and one individual died. Approximately 71 per cent or 2,593 of the workers were recruited during the second quarter of the year (July to September) and at the end of the year, a total of 550 persons were still in the US,” the document read.
Further, during the period under review, 540 workers were recruited under the US Hospitality Programme, while 372 returned to Jamaica, 108 went AWOL and 33 changed status. At the end of the year 2,250 workers were still working in the US. The largest number of workers, 251 or 46.5 per cent, were recruited during the first quarter of the year (April to June).
Additionally, under the Canadian Farm/Factories Programme 5,757 persons completed their contract, while 162 went AWOL. A total of 32 persons changed their status, 32 persons breached their contracts and 77 were sent home. A total of 1,398 persons were still working in Canada at the end of the year.
“Of the 5,862 persons who participated in the Canadian programme, 5,014 were specifically requested, while the reminders were new recruits. The largest numbers of workers, 2,751 or 46.9 per cent were dispatched in the first quarter (April to June),” the report further stated.
In addition to also granting work permits, facilitating the Electronic Labour Exchange (ELE) and the administration of the Employment Agencies Regulation Act, the Ministry’s Manpower Services section also processes remittances received for workers under the Overseas Employment Programmes.
During the fiscal year 2009/10 total remittances from the US Programme was approximately $6.1 million. Male workers were responsible for 89.1 per cent of the remittances. Most of the remittances (81 per cent) were from US farm workers which amounted to US $4.9 million.
“Most of the US remittances, US$2.5 million (40.9 per cent) were received during the third quarter of the year (October to December). Remittances from Canada totalled $11.7 million for 2009/10. Males accounted for 98 per cent of the remittances (US$11.5 million), most of which was dispatched during the third quarter,” document read.

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