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Embassy's plea over threat to Filipino work permits

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

THE Philippine Embassy yesterday appealed to the Bahamas government to allow its citizens to keep their jobs as the Christie administration’s new and strict Immigration policies continue to cause concern among businesses.

photo

Minister of Foreign affairs Fred Mitchell.

According to several international news agencies, Philippine officials out of their Washington based office raised the matter to the Department of Immigration during a recent visit to the capital. 

It has been said that around 1,000 Filipinos are employed in the country in various capacities including housekeepers, cooks, maids and medical staff.

The government, last month, began dialogue on Immigration matters which caused a stir among residents and private sector business owners after Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said the government had planned to stop issuing work permits for positions that Bahamians could fill.

However, when Mr Mitchell spoke to reporters at the House of Assembly on the matter he said the government’s policy is rational and there will be no apologies for ensuring that Bahamians receive gainful employment. He added that Immigration officials did not think that the Filipino’s issues were at a level of concern. Mr Mitchell said they were just seeking clarification.

He said: “There is no apology that has to be made for a policy of Bahamians first. With every policy there is for work permits the general policy still applies whether at the labouring level or the management level. Bahamians first and that means this. No work permit is going to be issued unless a Bahamian is not available for that job.  

“They met with the Permanent Secretary when they were here and I am told that that was not a very large portion of the meeting. They had a whole number of other issues. This is a country of rules and laws. It is not an arbitrary or whimsical or capricious country.  Nor is it arbitrary or whimsical in the applications of its policies.   

“We know that Bahamian citizens have rights for their existing employees and we operate within the rule of law.”

Mr Mitchell believes that the government’s commitment to training Bahamians will ensure that they are ready to handle whichever vacancies there are especially in Grand Bahama. He also urged BahaMar officials to take a page out of Atlantis’ book in giving Bahamians the tools they need to ably do jobs. 

“The Ministry of Grand Bahama and Ministry of Labour, working with immigration has said to these employers you’ve got to have a training component. You must. Because we cannot as a matter of social policy allow the situation to continue with unemployment being 30 per cent with people under age 25.

“And to transfer that to theatre here in Nassau. We’ve said to BahaMar to take a page out of Atlantis’ book and follow what they did which is to set up a training programme.”

Comments

Ironvelvet 9 years, 5 months ago

Denying work permits for cleaning houses and cooking is one things, but to expect a business to train the workforce is our job as a country. I think you should thank Atlantis for graciously doing that, but by no means is that a requirement. For a tourism destination and CURRENTLY as leaders in the region in tourism, we should be training our workforce for all aspects of that as well as being able to market our school for foreigners to come here and spend the money here to learn tourism from us.

Our culinary school does an amazing job and the chefs that finish from there do extremely well, many of them winning international awards, but we don't hear much about that.

Whatever happened to the Hotel Training College? Oh yes, that's right COB wanted rights over them.....let the Hotel Training College be an independent entity, they would be much more successful if they were.

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SP 9 years, 5 months ago

I find it absolutely appalling that the Philippine Embassy yesterday had the audacity to appeal to the Bahamas government to allow its citizens to keep their jobs while the Philippine government follow a very strict immigration work permit policy to the letter that would NEVER allow a Bahamian or any foreign national to even apply for any job that a Philippine citizen can remotely do.

http://www.dumagueteinfo.com/Philippi...">http://www.dumagueteinfo.com/Philippi...

http://www.philippinesinsider.com/exp...">http://www.philippinesinsider.com/exp...

Indonesian and Philippine domestic workers are all over the world causing major unemployment havoc and fighting losing court battles trying to systematically invade other countries domestic employment.

http://news.yahoo.com/foreign-maids-l...">http://news.yahoo.com/foreign-maids-l...

With many thousands of them here, one would expect to see them in food stores, restaurants, malls, fish fry etc. however they eat and survive off of employers.. These people are of no benefit to the Bahamas as every dollar they earn is either saved or repatriated to families in home countries. These practices’ further deepens the recession as millions of dollars are taken out of circulation while also draining the countries hard currency reserves.

It is important to note that Bahamians do not hold any malice or hate against Indonesian, Philippine, Latino or Haitian domestic workers. However the fact is they just are not good for the country and have displaced too many Bahamians causing massive unemployement and negative social issues ....THEY MUST GO!!!

The PLP and Minister Fred Mitchell should be commended for finally taking meaningful steps to protect the Bahamas for Bahamians just as other countries protect their jobs for citizens.

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MonkeeDoo 9 years, 5 months ago

If Bahamians didn't tief and loaf and suck teet so much they would be the first to be hired, but guess what ?

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ohdrap4 9 years, 5 months ago

The understudy is a peculiar issue. I worked in a place once where there were always understudies. A few of them stayed for several years but the majority would move on to better paying jobs once they acquired work force skills better than the school system provided.

They also resented being paid smaller wages than that paid tothose who were training them.

The employer was in fact a scrooge, and all salaries were low, bahamian or not. But despite immigration fees and administrative hassle, it was still cheaper to keep a few work permits than pay a market salary to a qualified bahamian. The foreigners there were not on vacation, they were overworked and underpaid.

But, I repeat, where are the statistics for the number of foreign teachers employed? this category of worker has entitlement to low-cost immigration fees and a sure path to low-cost permanent residency.

The teaching profession can provide employment to Bahamians too.

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TheObjectiveVoice 9 years, 5 months ago

I've always like Fred Mitchell. Very smart, very intelligent, very genuine. Just let him do his job. If he doesn't do this, then people will say the government lied when they said they would put Bahamians first. I'm with Fred. I need someone looking out for me and my rights in my own country. As a Bahamian, I need to feel like my needs are a priority of my government and we all know, unemployment in the Bahamas is at an all time high. Let Fred give us a good fight. If he fails, you can't say he didn't try. He is like a tree planted by the water...he shall not be moved. He is sticking to his guns on this and I don't blame him. He's been on the campaign trail. He knows exactly how things look and how much Bahamians are not working and stopped looking for work because they are discouraged. So I say press on Fred and don't back down. People who oppose you are looking at this through a political magnifying glass instead of just using 20/20 vision and getting the real picture. Bahamians need to work and if they end up bring rude and disgusting and lazy, then fire them. Plain and simple. But they need to get on the job first...Go Fred!!! Just how those people in the other countries are worried about their citizens, you absolutely should be worried about the welfare of yours too.

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santos 9 years, 4 months ago

Hi every one! well i'm fully supporter of the boarders restrictions. But restrictions have to be intelligent to be able to provide training and growth to Bahamians , I'm a very professional person and I have over 22 year experience in 9 countries 4 continents not long ago a was contact by a leading 4 generations family company in Australia. I didn't take the job to give my services to Bahamas. In Australia They thank me for my time and they felt that Australia would be losing someone that would help they community and i felt very honored for the comment. Now! Bahamas! I was there, i liked very much the people and was very happy. At the end of the day you feel like you have a problem and you vote for the person who you trust to provide the services to the voters and hi should do his job. I left my old job one year ago and they have not find replacement and they advertising for the position globally!!! I understand that in Atlantis has been serving Bahamas with employment and now they will have Baha Mar, Is not going to be easy to be competitive without education and foreign workers that will contribute to the Bahamian education and business growth. This are world class properties and some people don't even travel to Bahamas but to Atlantis and soon to Baha Mar and they will need to provide world class Products and service. My country was hit by immigration out of control, now is recovering but has been very criticize by the way it was don! well i think it's been well don! and it was not only with the foreign work force but the nationals too! and one of thing we had was people complaining but would not look for a job. so the government stop benefit, if you don't work you have to do something to get you benefit meanly voluntary work or education to help back to work, so it mean the responsibility is not only governmental but the people too. I wish everything get sorted But working only against Immigration is not the solution

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