A total of 11,138 Jamaicans benefitted from job opportunities under the Overseas Employment Programme during 2012/2013.
This was disclosed by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, during his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House, on June 4.
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Of the number, some 3,269 workers were placed in the United States (US) agricultural programme, while 1,295 were placed in that country’s hospitality programme.
“An increasing number of these opportunities are being identified in the Canadian Labour Market, and approximately 6,237 of the numbers placed were accounted for in the Canadian market,” the Minister said.
Mr. Kellier pointed out that the Ministry has been forging strategic alliances with partners in key sectors, such as the Canadian Labour Market, in a bid to diversify and expand available job offerings.
“During my visit to Canada last year, discussions were held with the relevant Ministers and officials at the federal and provincial levels regarding the development of a framework to guide the movement of certified and skilled workers,” the Minister told the House.
He said the aim is to secure mobility agreements at this level, so that more avenues to new employment opportunities can be realised.
The Minister noted that since his visit, several new employers have come on board, “as they now look to Jamaica to supply a range of new skills to fill the gaps in the Canadian labour market”. These include Class 1 trailer drivers, heavy duty technicians/mechanics and welders.
“Up to March 2013, some 69 drivers, 66 heavy duty technicians and two welders departed the island to take up employment in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, New Foundland, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Ontario. Currently, 188 drivers and 38 heavy duty technicians are at various stages of processing,” the Minister further informed.
Download 2013/2014 Sectoral Debate: Minister of Labour and Social Security, the Hon. Derrick Kellier
Mr. Kellier said the Overseas Employment Programme, which is managed by the Ministry, has had significant impact in the alleviation of unemployment, poverty reduction, the development of the rural economy and improved access to education and healthcare.
“The programme has also been an important source of remittances, and during 2012/2013, Cdn$16 million was remitted by workers to Jamaica – representing 20 per cent of their earnings for the year,” he said.
Contact: Alecia Smith-Edwards