The Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) have entered into an agreement to share databases, which will allow for more efficient processing of work permits.
Labour Minister, Hon. Pearnel Charles; Permanent Secretary, Alvin McIntosh; and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PICA, Jennifer McDonald, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the agency to embark on the initiative yesterday (Dec.1) at the Ministry’s North Street office in Kingston.
Under the MoU, guidelines and time periods for the review and processing of work permit applications will be established as well as a framework for the speedy transfer of data and other information from one entity to another.
The shared database will allow for the tracking of work permit holders, and ensure that employers make provisions for Jamaicans to understudy the skills being brought in by foreigners.
Mrs. McDonald, in her remarks, said that the signing of the MoU symbolises “seamless operations between ourselves and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and really represents joined-up Government, which is what we are working towards.”
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Alvin McIntosh (right), shows Labour Minister, Hon. Pearnel Charles (centre), where to sign a copy of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will see the Ministry and the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) partnering to share databases in order to ensure greater efficiency in the processing of work permits. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PICA, Jennifer McDonald also signed the agreement on Tuesday (Dec. 1) at the Ministry’s North Street offices in Kingston.
She informed that a representative from PICA has been assigned to deal specifically with work permit matters. “We are hoping that we are able to serve the applicant in a serious way and we are able to catch those persons, who may perhaps pose a threat to our security,” Mrs. McDonald added.
Mr. McIntosh, for his part, stated that the partnership is a “very refreshing” development, as some Government agencies at times, tend to operate as disjointed entities.
He noted that the sharing of databases will make the process of issuing work permits and visas easier and more convenient for the customer.
Under the agreement, work permit applications will continue to be processed at the Ministry, but security and immigration checks will be conducted by PICA. In addition, PICA will advise the Ministry about changes in the applicant or sponsor status, as well as any breach of conditions of the permit.
A work permit is a document bearing a number and photograph that is issued to an expatriate, which authorises that individual to work in Jamaica according to its stipulations for a specified period of time. Persons seeking to obtain a work permit are required to make an application to the Labour and Social Security Ministry.