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Canadian Bank's Work Permit Bid Rejected

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

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.

Comments

Islangal1 1 year, 6 months ago

Great way to kill foreign investment in the country and if you don't think you need it, wait til they start packing up and going elsewhere. If you do turn down work permits, don't brag about it!

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jujutreeclub 1 year, 6 months ago

How is this killing foreign investment. If you have the qualified bahamians here, why not hire them. With unemployment so high we don't need foreign staff to fill positions that we can fill. Those banks are on the verge of pulling out anyway whether they reject or accept the foreign workers. They are streamlining for a better selling porice

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tetelestai 1 year, 6 months ago

Islandgal1, that is the single most vacuous statement ever asserted on this comment board, and that is really saying something.

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Aegeaon 1 year, 6 months ago

Again. It's kinda hard to find Bahamians who are usually qualified in those higher-level fields. Even if one is found, they are already planning to leave the country. And other college-trained Bahamians are qualified in a different field, and already long gone to Canada and the US.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

It's hard to find good people everywhere. There's nowhere in the world where selecting employees is easy. If we continue this line about how difficult it is to find Bshamian managers, guess what? It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy because no Bahamian will get to the upper level management. How about starting a management school, similar to Wharton Business school but right here in paradise. People can stay on the beach fir six months and get advanced management training. Companies can then pay for their rising stars to get this advanced training. How about we do this as a country? How about all these corporate citizens who complain about the poor quality of talent out their heads together to establish the curriculum and fund the implementation. They'll be the beneficiaries.

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Economist 1 year, 6 months ago

Wow, I guess we will have plenty of Bahamians available for lots of banking jobs when the bank pulls out.

The Director of Labour must be one of our grade "D-" students who was given a government job and has now climbed up the ranks of the civil service. What an ignorant clown.

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ohdrap4 1 year, 6 months ago

my employer once was looking for a financial analyst and wanted to hire a foreign national.

the dpt. of labour, upon receiving the request for the labour certificate, called to say they had a chemical analyst in their database.

An analyst is an analyst right?

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jujutreeclub 1 year, 6 months ago

Ok Economist, then let the company (if foreign) you are working for (if working) let you go and hire a foreign staff member to replace you, then you will see the logic behind the policy in place.

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tetelestai 1 year, 6 months ago

Economist, so he is ignorant for denying a foreigner's application when there is a qualified Bahamian (he claims) that can perform the job? You must have sat next to the Director in the "D-" group in school. Such a silly statement.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

There's an ad in the paper looking for a developer who speaks fluent German Italian and French. Yay CEB Bill.

This is the 21st century version of the stafford sands model. Bring in the foreigners, they'll bring money and we'll get jobs. It hasn't worked. The hotels raked in the billions and we learned to say please and thank you, now the mega hotel business has dried up and we're on a two day work week with no alternatives. (And no, the spike had nothing to do with the imaginary tourism marketing campaign that no one mentioned until after the event. The spike will go the way it came, unexplained)

A few years down the road when the grass is greener elsewhere, the foreigner will leave again, just like they've been doing for decades, and we will be left with 100000 Bahamians who haven't moved one centimeter on the development scale, completely unprepared for the present. They will be great toilet cleaners and sweepers though. We must stop this foolishness of importing foreign workers as the ONLY strategy as if bahamianshave no brains. And no they won't train a single Bahamian, forget that nonsense.nobody deliberately works themself out of a job.

When someone starts talking about importing an entire workforce of foreigners, hear what they're really saying "I'm looking to set up my own business in this industry and I need cheap labour, forget Bahamians".

The statesman says let's start preparing OUR people

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ohdrap4 1 year, 6 months ago

There are a few bahamians who speak foreign languages. They just come home to teach or hold some civil servant jobs.

I know an european woman on the internet who speaks several languages and is a computer programmer. She has lived all over the world.

She looked up some offering in the Bahamas. Then when to wikipedia and other online sources. She then emailed me to say she found that 'the population was mostly hatian' and that Freeport 'was in shambles'.

She would not even consider such a job, if she can work remotely, she will likely do it from Sydney or London.

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Dawes 1 year, 6 months ago

Obviously the company needs a developer who will be working with European Clients. There are many people who are able to speak all the languages and more. I take it you want them to be told no and go elsewhere, as this would be great in making sure no Bahamian works as a toilet cleaner or sweeper. Though what exactly do you want the Bahamian to do? As always you turn a blind eye to all those Bahamains whose parents did those jobs and were able to ensure their kids got a good education and then went on to very lucrative jobs. Unfortunately most of them used this as a chance to get out of this country and have no intention of coming back as we are too closed minded. I wonder if they are thought of in their new country the same way you think of foreigners here (as a note there are over 30,000 Bahamian born in the US alone, and thats Bahamian Born, not descent which would be a lot more).

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

Obviously you didn't read what I said. I said we cannot look to importing foreigners as the ONLY strategy because it hasn't worked. They stay export their dollars then leave during the dry spell making space for the next influx. My entire point is this is no strategy for COUNTRY I.e "people" development.

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Dawes 1 year, 6 months ago

OK and what should we do to develop the country? Also you did not mention anything about the 30,000 Bahamian Born who now live in the US who no doubt do what you are complaining about? And in addition there are numerous foreigners who have come here, made a contribution and family and stayed here doing more for this country then many Bahamians.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

The country they are in can absorb them. Haven't you heard? The economy in the US is growing, unemployment is down to 4% I believe, yeah just checked its at 4.1%.

What would I do? I've been repeating it constantly for the past year or two, a deliberate strategy to train our people not this "trickle down" nonsense. I said last year instead of firing people cold from government. Identify the overstaffing, give them six months notice and send them on a monitored training program. Part of their salary goes to the instructor. Get unemployed qualified persons to teach approved material. Win win. The employee doesn't attend, they don't get paid. They don't keep the standard they're out of the program. At the end, they have a skill they can use. For some it will be basic math and reading skills that they can build on, for others it will be more advanced courses to move them up the ladder or even get a business started. If they find another job in that period you offer them a spot in an evening class if available and they're interested. And you don't let people choose willy nilly what they"want" to do, you identify the need and set the training framework. Our future is in KNOWLEDGE not maid and butler jobs, yes they are honorable professions but when the foreign hotel and the foreign bank decides to leave, our luck buck. Knowledge

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Dawes 1 year, 6 months ago

One of the main reasons for the growth in the US is due to its immigration policies whereby they bring the best and brightest into their country so it will spur growth and lead to an increase in jobs. So that stat on unemployment you quoted kind of goes against what you support.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

One of the main reasons for growth in the US is an EDUCATED workforce. Their people have the education to take advantage of the opportunities. How anyone could say a strategy to educate your workforce is secondary to anything is simply beyond me.Our people perish for lack of knowledge and vision.

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stillwaters 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't know how a government can win sometimes. If they had reported that they had given the work permits to the foreigners, it would have been.........aren't there qualified Bahamians? ........and they giving the Bahamas away to foreigners...........Jesus........YALL MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MINDS!!!!!!!!!!

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tetelestai 1 year, 6 months ago

Stillwaters, exactly. And this is why politicians should not listen to Bahamians at all. All we do is complain and then complain, oh, and then jump on message boards to complain. The Director was absolutely right in this situation. Any objective, right thinking Bahamian should understand that.

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banker 1 year, 6 months ago

This rejection is going to have consequences. Most Canadian charter banks are looking to divest their Caribbean interests and this is just another nail in the coffin.

The policy of Bahamianisation has to end. You do not create a diverse, vibrant economy with restrictions and closures. So what if there was a qualified Bahamian. Look at how many other jobs that the banks create. It is the second pillar of the economy. Would you rather have no banking jobs or even worse, just the Bank of the Bahamas?

Throw open the borders to anyone and everyone who wants to create economic activity in the Bahamas.

The bigggest fear that I have with the divestiture of the Caribbean operations of the Canadian banks is that they will be bought up by less solvent or less responsible entities who cannot support the high level of unproductive employment in our banks today. Bank branches in Canada operate with one third of the staff and twice the accounts levels of Bahamian branches. There will be blood on the floor with wailing and gnashing of teeth, once the lower level banking jobs are gone. The very real possibility is that once sold, these banking operations will simply close more and more branches, or heaven forbid, fold altogether.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

The banks WERE (as in past tense) leaving already. They've been leaving for a decade. I remember the immigration fiasco a few years ago, that also had consequences but it came on the backs of an industry that had already squeezed everything they could get out of the Bahamas and was selling off any tangible asset they had and making ready to run for the hills,

I worked beside those people for years, they hid the knowledge so they could stay

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Economist 1 year, 6 months ago

Did you try to get into there international system and get transferred to another country? If you don't do that then you will not get ahead.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

Yeah I suppose ...if I were emotionally tied to that company you'd be right. There wasn't much room for growth locally.but I just like them I love it here. In 2005 or 6 I think, a Canadian at another company pulled me aside and told me I should really consider going to work in the US or Canada, I remember just staring at him thinking,... but how will I see the ocean? Lol.

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hrysippus 1 year, 6 months ago

What a great idea, let's refuse all the work permits for all these foreign owned banks and drive them all out of the country. Then we can do the same for all these foreign owned hotels and any other foreign owned business. We need to follow the Bungling Shuffling Buffoon's model in the previous government and let everyone get a good paying secure government job. Once you have a government job there are plenty of businesses that will sell you a car and loan you a years salary that will keep you entertained for days at a web shop, two or three days at least.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

It seems like the application was rejected because ten suitable Bahamians were found. It's up to the employer to explain why none of those Bahamians can do the job.

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seamphony 1 year, 6 months ago

Foreign banks need to start respecting the Bahamas and the Bahamians in general. You want to do business out of the Bahamas, you learn to work with Bahamians. btw that whole this person that person speaks 10 languages story, forget it. The bum on the street in France speaks french or pick any random country in latin America, they speak spanish. so what? English is the universal business language and Bahamians speak it. there you have it. Parents make sure you have your kids do better than yourselves in school so we can at least have the future generations walk with their heads held up high.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

EXACTLY. Europeans speak English better than you and me especially the educated ones. The request for German, French and Italian fluency may as well have been accompanied with a request that the applicant should have two Z's one Y and a B in their last name with their first name being Sergei. This was a clear request for a preselected person not an open invitation for applicants.

This is the Stafford Sands "tourism" model, bring in the foreigner, yeah they'll make a lot of mobey but we'll get jobs. How has that worked for us? That cannot be the SOLE strategy

So often we pick up these economic models and say this is the way the world is doing it so we have to do it too without so much as a thought to our unique circumstances. The developed world wants open borders because it's to their benefit. What you have to sell to them??? Huh? They want you open your borders so they could sell to you. When it's not to their benefit, they randomly impose tariffs or impose some random EU rules. You see China asking for 10,000 Bahamian constructions workers to build hotels in Hong Kong? They sell you the supplies AND send the workers, the money going back to China. Every country EXCEPT the Bahamas seems to operate in the best interest of their own citizens.

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Dawes 1 year, 6 months ago

There are many Bahamians who speak multiple languages such as what was requested (you know in case you are dealing with a customer in France who only speaks French in the morning and then one from Germany who only speaks German), and they will also have the skill set needed for this job, however chances are they are currently sat in London or New York or some other cosmopolitan city and have no intentions of coming back here. In addition to the 30,000 in USA there are 2,000 in the UK and Canada i take it you want them sent back. Also if the developed world wants to sell to us, exactly how are we to buy as you have also said they want to take all our jobs?

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seamphony 1 year, 6 months ago

we are not going to give up such coveted jobs as bank jobs at least without a protest. it was a nice gesture on government's part to send the application back with 10 resumes. the educated bahamians who are in the bahamas need to sort of band together and take care of business in the bahamas. the government, the education system, the laws are all a part of that. we can always use fresh blood and ideas in the economy but for a dying sector of the economy like the financial services (think less than 10-15% of gdp), we have nothing to lose.

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Dawes 1 year, 6 months ago

Well we have 10-15% of GDP to lose, but otherwise all great.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

The person writing the software is RARELY the person speaking with the customer. More than likely the owner or a senior business analyst takes that role. IT people are not front office people. Where did I say "they want to take ALL our jobs"? You are not reading what I'm writing. I repeat again. Inviting the foreign labour force in cannot be the ONLY strategy, (that means it can be "part" of a solution, but not the entire solution. It should be a short term solution with a deliberate push DELIBERATE to train Bahamians at ALL age levels to fill the gap within 3-5 years) "hoping" they train Bahamians is no strategy.

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Dawes 1 year, 6 months ago

No one is saying that inviting foreign labour is the only strategy, obviously training Bahamians to be able to compete in these markets is needed. But that is a long term solution, and the only way for them to be able to truly compete in a global world is to be exposed to this world and show the world they can match or be better then the rest. Or we could just close up shop and hope that we have the best.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

That's where we differ, other than a few professions, you can train anyone for almost any profession within three to five years. That's a short term strategy. The Internet is sufficient, "if" that's all you gat, to expose anyone to anything. There's no need for any long term anything. You can train a medical coder within two years that's a highly sought after skill in the insurance and health fields. And insurance and health are big business worldwide

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Dawes 1 year, 6 months ago

And insurance and health will want the best people worldwide, and will go where they are able to get that.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

Wow you dnt listen. Or I should say comprehend. I said you can "train" a coder within "two" years. We have some experienced coders here. They can be at the forefront. This isn't computer programming this is translating medical procedures into corresponding codes in a billing system. ~basically

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Dawes 1 year, 6 months ago

Which company is this person going to work for coming from? Why would a foreign entity come if there is no benefits to them. So if it is a Bahamian company who would they be doing the work for? You make it sound so simple that i always ask why is this not being done right now by everybody over here, and if it is, why is it not being done on a large enough scale to employ all the people who are unemployed. Companies will always do whats best for their bottom line, so if thats hiring a Bahamian or a foreigner thats what they will do.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

Coders can work from anywhere, "Technically" ....as long as the proper security infrastructure is in place. We're talking about giving Bahamians knowledge, employing Bahamians and empowering Bahamians. You could set up an entire local company that outsources this work. I don't believe it's simple I believe it can be done. That's the first step.

And coding is just one of a myriad of services that Bahamians could be trained to provide to a global market. It takes some thought and I'm a thinker...at least I like to believe so...

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Dawes 1 year, 6 months ago

We're going to yet again have to agree to disagree. On the issue of the bank above we will probably hear they have shipped off more of the back office work to another Caribbean island if they really want whoever the person was in that job.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

They want you to believe that. The banks have been selling off assets for YEARS. they planned their exit strategy ten years ago. That is how they operate, "risk mitigation". They will leave when they want to. Hiring one employee won't make any difference.

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stillwaters 1 year, 6 months ago

Banking and many other professions are being eradicated as feasible and sustainable businesses. That's just how the world is shaping up and nothing can stop this. T

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pablojay 1 year, 6 months ago

Some of us just cannot keep our politics out of our opinions. The Director of Labour said that 10 Bahamians had the qualifications that the bank was looking for.The next step should be to interview them and pick the best one. I don't think even Birdie Strachan would have a problem with that.

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bogart 1 year, 6 months ago

While there are bank positions advertised .....there are some banks, ......some positions like being fully qualified 2x banker that require being salesperson to 'sell' bank prpducts in order to meet near impossible sales targets set by foreign bosses in order to get salary increment which many bankers prefer not to get knto as they sre not paid for banking but salesmanship-without sales education and training, ..(practice should be outlawed- could lead to bad quality loans and create defaults, marginal loans)...some banks with low cost platforms that one would rather not be a part of and catch the blame if something goes missing,...., common one is the embarrassing one is put in when the system shuts down and irate customers transactoons cannot be procedded....,..bank where one can sign KY C and other legal documents but can be put into position where position may be compromised....where it may be on not wanting to take a posotion in bank where customer lines are constantly long with irate customers,....position involves travelling...etcetcetc...not all positions advertised attract Bahamians who for various reasons would decline working for a particular employer, etc.Just like the Haitian working for minimum wage having to pay for their permit and some bossman with human challenges...Bahamian interested...but not interested

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

I worked with a French consultant years ago, he was a senior consultant on assignment here, he was encouraging me in a new role to learn as much as possible, he was one of the good guys. He'd travelled all over the world for the company on special projects, he said, "The company" needs to realize that this strategy of bringing in foreigners does not work", this the Frenchman talking now, "ultimately people leave because they have no ties to the place, "the company" needs to train the local people". This was over 10 years ago. He knew this ten years ago based on his GLOBAL experience in multiple locations..

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bogart 1 year, 6 months ago

...if 10 Bahamian job roles are sitting for the vacancy requiring foreign work permit it seems that on the ground native soil role for the foreigner is required who perhaps have other qualifications.....is this a bank trying to sellout or divest its holdings in the Bahamas?.??.......inside banking joke that years ago whenever a certain senior banker showed up in any Caribbean country where that particular bank had a branch, bankers knew that that persons role was to close up its operations he was the best .lol..

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

When they show up with their own printer...

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Aegeaon 1 year, 6 months ago

No one seems to REALLY understand how extremely hard and risky to recruit and train locals to manage any high duty banking and business without making critical and fatal mistakes that can sink a banking company. There's barely anyone that can stay in Nassau to manage anything without money laundering or the web shops taking valuable customers away from the banks on family islands. How can a Bahamian go through college to reach to management and only to have financial corruption and supposed "legal" gambling screwing them over, making your efforts futile, fruitless and a waste of time.

If only we sweep up corruption and the re-criminalize the web shops once again, Bahamian and foreign banks will stand a chance against any challenge.

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