By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE Director of Labour yesterday said work permit applications from a Canadian-owned commercial bank had been rejected as it "aggressively" ensures foreigners do not fill posts where there are qualified Bahamians available.
Robert Farquharson said 8,500 applicants have been added to the Department's job seekers database since January, as he declined to identify the bank whose applications were rejected beyond confirming it was a Canadian-owned commercial bank. "We have employers who seek to hire non-Bahamians for various positions, and they have to come to the Department of Labour and apply for a labour certificate," Mr Farquharson said. "The policy of this government is that where qualified Bahamians are available, no non-Bahamian will be considered for that job.
"We are aggressively pushing that policy. I just turned down a couple of applications for non-Bahamians from a major bank in this country. I said to them: 'You will not be employing a non-Bahamian', and sent them 10 résumés.
"I can't tell them who to hire, but I said you have 10 qualified Bahamians who meet your qualifications. That Bahamian was hired and that is why we need as many persons as we can to come and register."
Mr Farquharson was speaking at a press conference to announce the upcoming 'Labour on the Blocks' job fair for this Saturday, April 14. He said that since January 2018 more than 8,500 job seekers have been added to the Department's database, which has about 79,000 persons registered.
Mr Farquharson was quick to clarify that this did not represent a total number of unemployed persons in the Bahamas, noting that once the PC Recruiter portal is fully rolled-out, persons who have been hired will be identified also.
Commenting on the job fair, he added:
"We already have confirmed 16 employers who will be on site. Between now and Saturday we will have some others. These are employers who have confirmed that they are actively looking to employ persons."
Among the employers at the job fair will be Fusion Superplex, Commonwealth Bank, Caribbean Bottling Company, Rubis Bahamas the John Bull Group of Companies, Atlantis and Diamonds International.
It will be the last one for New Providence this year and will be held at the Doris Johnson Senior High School for the constituencies of Fox Hill, Seabreeze, Elizabeth, St Anne's and Yamacraw.