JIS News

Passage of the recent Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill in the United States will enable Jamaican H-2B workers who have participated in the US Hotel programme over the last three years, to obtain employment for the 2005 season, as they are exempt from the allotted H-2B visa quota.
This was announced yesterday (May 17) by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Horace Dalley, during his contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
Under the United States Department of Homeland Security, the Minister informed that a total of 66,000 H-2B Visas are issued each fiscal year (October to September). Traditionally, Mexico and the Caribbean have been the major recipients of these visas.
“Since the beginning of fiscal year 2003, there has been strict enforcement of the cap, which for this fiscal year was attained as early as January 2005. Most of the hotel workers recruited from Jamaica are normally employed for the Spring and Summer seasons; therefore, the employers would not have been able to file their petitions before the cap was reached, as applications cannot be submitted earlier than 120 days before their date of need,” the Minister explained.
Although there is little possibility for increasing the number of workers this year over 2004, Mr. Dalley said the Ministry welcomed the new regulations, as employment would now be found for a number of those H-2B workers who have travelled on the programme in the last three years.
“I must express profound gratitude to all the organizations and individuals who have worked tireless for the successful passage of the Bill,” Minister Dalley said, adding that the Ministry was in the process of preparing workers for an early dispatch.
Turning to the Guantanamo Bay Programme, the Minister said it continued to provide employment opportunities for skilled Jamaican workers in the areas of accounting, clerks, information technology (IT) workers, tailors, store clerks, cooks and barbers.
“In recent times, a number of private contractors have shown an interest in securing their workers through this Ministry and we have expressed our willingness to accommodate them,” the Minister said.

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