The Ministry of Labour and Social Security will be undertaking a pre-selection exercise for the Canadian farm work programme in March.
This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, during a statement on Tuesday (January 15) in the House of Representatives.
He informed that the exercise will see representatives of the Ministry going island-wide to pre-select suitable persons to work under the programme.
The upshot of the exercise is that a pool of suitable workers will be readily available for consideration when employers submit their requests under the various work categories.
Members of Parliament (MPs) and Councillors across the island will be provided with forms, which are to be distributed to suitable candidates in their respective constituencies and divisions.
The forms should be completed by the respective candidates and returned to the MPs along with a passport-sized photograph and a character reference from either a Justice of the Peace (JP) or a security officer.
All forms must be submitted to the Ministry by January 29, following which they will be processed and the names of all candidates compiled on a master list according to parish.
Between March 4 and 15, recruiting teams from the Ministry will travel to four strategic locations throughout the island to conduct interviews.
Minister Kellier said it is of utmost importance to ensure that only the most suitable candidates are selected for the programme. To this end, the Ministry will be introducing a points system in all 63 constituencies.
“Each of these constituencies will start with a maximum number of points corresponding to the total number of forms allocated to the respective constituencies. If it is found that persons recommended from constituencies go absent without leave or breach any of the programme rules, then the number of forms issued to these constituencies at the next pre-selection exercise will be reduced,” he pointed out.
To guard against any such eventuality, Mr. Kellier said that persons who go through the pre-selection process will have to undergo security checks.
“If such persons are found not to have a criminal record, they will then be entered into the Ministry’s Overseas Employment database as the next set of “pool” workers, who will be available for dispatch when the employers request new workers. Such persons will also be required to complete a medical examination,” the Minister said.
The Canadian farm and factory programme is part of the Overseas Work Programme administered by the Ministry. The others are: the United States farm work programme, the United States hospitality programme, and the Guantanamo Bay programme.
In 2012 alone, the Canadian programme contributed in excess of $1.5 billion to the economy.