Over 260 Jamaicans departed for Canada and the United States, today (April 15) to join the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s (MLSS) Overseas Employment Programme, as farm workers.
About 166 persons left the Overseas Employment Office, East Street, Kingston, to join the programme in Canada, while another 96 left in the afternoon for the United States where they will work in greenhouses and open farms.
Since the start of the year, 2,258 Jamaicans have benefited from the Canadian programme, while 800 have been employed in the United States programme, bringing the total number of farm workers recruited and dispatched to North America by the Ministry, since the start of 2009, to 3,058.
According to the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, today’s departures represent his Ministry’s commitment in providing employment for persons, despite the global economic challenges.
Jamaican farm workers load up the bus to take them from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s Overseas Employment Office, East Street, Kingston, to the Norman Manley International Airport for the trip to Canada, on April 15.
In order to ensure proper and safe working conditions for the workers, the Ministry has also sought to strengthen its support systems through its liaison officers.
Mr. Charles said that the Ministry has expanded its liaison service in Western Ontario, Canada, as it explores other employment opportunities which could be utilised by Jamaicans. These include skills such as plumbing, carpentry, masonry, electrical engineering, culinary, steel work and automotive mechanic.
It is projected that about 6,800 Jamaicans will be sent to Canada on the programme this year, which is 500 more than last year’s 6,300, while the Ministry is trying to stick as close as possible to the 6,000 jobs provided in the United States programme last year in light of the employment situation there.