The Work Permit Committee that reviews applications must now include a representative from the HEART/NSTA Trust
Director of Communications in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Vando Palmer, told JIS News that the move is at the instruction of portfolio Minister, Hon. Mike Henry.
He said that the objective is to ensure verification of the availability of skill sets in the Jamaican labour market before any permits are granted. He noted that it will also strengthen the work of the committee.
Mr. Palmer said that the Ministry has a responsibility to find the right balance between facilitating investment and meeting the employment needs of Jamaican citizens.
“We have to balance the availability of skill sets here in Jamaica with what the work permit applicant is bringing in to the table,” he noted.
“We also must realise that there are many projects being carried out across the island, which require specialised skills that may not be available locally in adequate numbers. There is a distinction between specialist labour and simply, per se, someone who can just fix air conditioning,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has confirmed the arrival of 34 persons in Jamaica with renewed work permits on July 21.
Mr. Palmer, however, said that the Ministry has no record of a work permit application for one individual among the 35 listed on the aircraft manifest.
He said that the skill sets represented by these individuals indicate a range of specialist areas such as air conditioning, underwater welding, resort circuit, thermaflex and resort air duct.
Mr. Palmer informed that approval of the renewals was granted by the Ministry between March and July of this year.
“It is important to note that all 35 persons are employed to Clima Insular Caribe Limited that has been contracted by RIU Hotel to do work on their refurbishing and expansion projects,” he said.
“The company had indicated that these persons had previously completed projects of a similar nature in Jamaica and their expertise was needed to interpret and execute the design needs of the hotel. The new refurbishing project in Montego Bay is expected to provide employment for approximately 400 Jamaicans,” he told JIS News.
A work permit is a document issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security that authorises a foreign national to work in Jamaica, according to its stipulations, for a specified period of time.
It is an offence for a person who requires but does not have, a valid work permit to engage in any occupation or be employed in Jamaica.
It is also an offence to employ a person who requires but does not have a valid work permit.
Offenders may be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $500,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.