Foreigners getting Ja jobs

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica Labour and Social Security Minister, Derrick Kellier has admitted that work permits have been issued to foreigners without the jobs being advertised locally.

Mr. Kellier made the admission in the House of Representatives while answering questions tabled at a previous sitting from Opposition Spokesman on Labour, Ruddy Spencer.

This after Mr. Spencer pointed out that currently there were more than 200 machine operators without jobs, one of the categories that Mr. Kellier said was among the occupations for which work permits were granted, reports the Jamaica Gleaner.

“The truth of the matter is that there have been lapses in this regard in the past,” Kellier said. “But we have been insisting and there are a number of applications that are currently at the ministry that have been denied until we are satisfied that the advertisements have been properly put … here in Jamaica and the wider CARICOM”.

Mr. Kellier said the ministry was now insisting that the jobs be advertised on the ministry’s labour exchange website and in the local newspapers.

Mr. Spencer also charged that work permits were granted to persons working in bars and as exotic dancers in the entertainment industry.

“On what basis then minister would work permits be granted to persons working in bars, hotels, in go-go clubs; can you explain to this House on what basis would the Government of Jamaica grant work permits to these persons?” he asked.

In response, Mr. Kellier said the entertainment industry was a specialised one and that these persons are granted work permits for a certain period and if they are found in violation of what they are asked to do the work permit would be revoked.

The minister said that 1, 341 work permits were granted to foreign nationals for the building and construction industry between January 2005 and August 2006.

Of this number, 880 were granted to persons employed on the Bahia Principé Hotel in St. Ann.

Mr. Spencer also charged that work permits were granted to persons working in bars and as exotic dancers in the entertainment industry.

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