The Employment Agencies Unit has continued to undertake routine inspection of private employment agencies to ensure compliance with the Employment Agencies Regulation Act as it seeks to place persons in overseas jobs.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Mike Henry, says figures for the 2019/2020 fiscal year indicate that close to 7,000 Jamaicans were placed in overseas jobs, mainly in the United States (US) hospitality sector and under the Summer Work and Travel programmes, through private placement agencies.
“Of course, this sector also took a hit when the US hotel employers shuttered operations and began repatriating workers,” he noted.
Mr. Henry was making his contribution to the 2020/21 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 21.
In a bid to reduce illegality in the sector, Mr. Henry said the Ministry is reviewing the business processes for licensing application.
“The Ministry has eliminated the need for the provision of certain documents, and the relevant application forms can now be downloaded from the Ministry’s website,” he pointed out.
“Whereas previously the process of renewal could only take place at the Head Office in Kingston, the process can now be initiated at any Ministry of Labour and Social Security parish office across the island, and applicants for renewal need not resubmit government-issued documents,” he advised.
Meanwhile, Mr. Henry said the Ministry continues to educate jobseekers to conduct business with legitimate agencies.
He noted that plans for the 2020/2021 fiscal year include continued focus on the business processes in order to simplify application procedures, and to sensitise employment operators about ethical recruitment practices and trafficking in persons.
Currently, there are 57 registered employment agencies – 34 providing overseas employment and 23 local employment.
“We have uploaded this list on the Ministry’s website to guide the public. The Government will be taking steps to address the imbalance between the legal and illegal agencies,” Mr. Henry said.