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  • The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) has announced that effective Monday, June 23, it will restructure the processing of work permits for foreign nationals.
  • This is aimed at protecting the Jamaican labour force from a saturation of skills that are already locally available.
  • This is being done in keeping with the country’s Labour Market Reform, which is intended to create a dynamic labour market.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) has announced that effective Monday, June 23, it will restructure the processing of work permits for foreign nationals to protect the Jamaican labour force from a saturation of skills that are already locally available.

This is being done in keeping with the country’s Labour Market Reform, which is intended to create a dynamic labour market which can foster productivity growth, promote flexibility, provide an effective social safety net and increase real incomes.

Director of the Work Permit Unit in the Ministry, Lisa-Ann Grant, said the new structure is based on a categorization of economic sectors with different fees applied to each group.

She was speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, held on June 17 at the agency’s Head Office in Kingston.

“The sectors that will encourage investment, economic growth and employment will attract lower fees. Conversely, the sectors for which adequate skill sets are available locally will attract higher fees,” she said.

Ms. Grant informed that the restructuring will see a four per cent increase in the current application fee of $14,400, which will move to $15,000.

“Under the new regulations the existing general permit fee of $180,000 per annum will be abolished to introduce several categories of employment under which respective fees are to be paid, in accordance with skill set demand,” she noted.

Ms. Grant further explained that foreign nationals in the wholesale and retail trade and motor vehicle repair sector will pay a fee of $170,000 annually, while the hotel and restaurant services and construction sector will see work permit seekers paying $150,000 per annum.

“Those in transport, storage and communication will pay up to $130,000, while persons in the manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors will pay a maximum of $110,000 in permit fees,” Ms. Grant added.

The changes follow modifications to The Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) (Work Permit Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 by Labour Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier.

For more information on the restructured employment categories, members of the public are invited to contact the Ministry of Labour and Social Security at 922-9590.

Work permit fees were last increased in 2008.