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Labour Chief Eyes Work Permits Cap

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

The Government's top labour official yesterday said it is examining whether to cap the number of work permits that can be issued to any one person as part of a strategy to crack down on abuses.

John Pinder, pictured, director of labour, said his department has prepared recommendations to bring greater accountability and transparency to the issuance of work permits.

He said: "My department has put together some recommendations for the Minister which I will present to him very soon. I will present some recommendations to ensure better transparency and accountability as it relates to the work permit issue.

"There is a concern that a number of persons who apply for a labour certificate to get a work permit are opposed to, in some cases, having an understudy. Even where there is an understudy, there is no follow-up system in place to ensure that understudy is receiving the necessary training or education for him or her to take over the position."

Mr Pinder added: "I am recommending to the Minister that we put some sort of guideline in place where the understudy to the individual on a work permit can fill out a form on a quarterly or bi-annual basis to ensure that we are satisfied that they are getting training.

"They need to be able to submit something to us or show our inspectors what they are learning. That is one of the recommendations we are making to the Minister."

Mr Pinder said he was also looking to implement a policy between the Departments of Labour and Immigration that would cap the number of times a work permit is issued for one particular individual.

"In a number of cases we have Bahamians meeting 90 per cent or all of the criteria, but a person starting a new business as a foreign investor wants to have his person in place," he added. "We would issue a work permit for them to get started. If they have a special model we have no problem with Bahamians being trained to carry out that model, and we want to ensure that happens."

Mr Pinder continued: " We want to cause for there to be a policy between the Department of Labour and the Department of Immigration to ensure that work permits are not issued more than five to six times maximum for any one individual.

"We want to ensure that there must be a Bahamian there to fill the position. We also want to continue to collaborate and have conversations with vocational and educational institutions to ensure that they have certain courses where there is a demand for work permits so Bahamians can qualify themselves."

Comments

ohdrap4 2 years, 1 month ago

to the individual on a work permit can fill out a form on a quarterly or bi-annual basis to ensure that we are satisfied that they are getting training.

Brilliant. Nothing that a form cannot solve. Make that weekly, a weekly form!!! And, do not accept this form unless it comes with a tax compliance certificate, an nib letter, and a urine test for both the trainer and the trainee.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 1 month ago

Ridiculosity. Not your suggestion (I detect sarcasm), Mr Pinder. I could fill out a form to tell you everything I learned, but then over a year, the things I've learned have nothing to do with what would actually make me qualified to take over the position. The first thing you need to do is list the education milestones what would make me qualified to take over the position. And for gods sake don't ask the expat with the job to help you with the list,

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Economist 2 years, 1 month ago

Insted of limiting the number of permits, try upping the education standards in our schools.
Make it clear that we, as Bahamians, are not entitled to a job, just because we are Bahamians, but have to show that we are prepared to work.

We must get rid of this attitude that our mediocrity will be protected by government. That is what is killing our economy.

Look to Cayman and Turks & Caicos to see how a more open immigration policy has reduced the unemployment to less than one third of ours.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 1 month ago

Agreed. Where I differ slightly is in governments responsibility. I believe the government needs to up its effort to train Bahamians. I see that they are making some effort and that's good but more is needed.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 1 month ago

"There is a concern that a number of persons who apply for a labour certificate to get a work permit are opposed to, in some cases, having an understudy. Even where there is an understudy, there is no follow-up system in place to ensure that understudy is receiving the necessary training or education for him or her to take over the position."

This is not rocket science. When you implemented that ill advised and poorly written CEB bill we told you EXACTLY what would happen. The bill doesn't even require Bahamians to be trained, the bill says the employer "may" train a Bahamian, anyone short of a leaving certificate understands that "may" implies a choice.

No foreigner is going to train any Bahamian to take their job. Not when the pay the perks and Old Fort Bay so sweet. They may get fed up and leave for other reasons, but they're not training themselves out of a job. I worked with two expats with specialized skills on two separate jobs over a 10 year period and both individuals went over and above board to ensure nobody learned anything from them and they retained their unique status. Down to secreting training manuals. Now yes that's only two individuals, but I'm going to go on a limb that this is common.

Just look at the Pointe, wouldn't that have been a great opportunity to get Bahamian construction workers trained to do work they "supposedly" can't do? but look at what they actually did, not only did they not bring in Bahamian understudies, they hired Chinese workers to do the basic work Bahamians could do.

That CEB Bill, the Indian visa program along with WTO accession are setting a stage that you blind as a bat don't even realize you're allowing to send many Bahamians back to slavery days. All because one man wants to make it easy to get cheap labour for his software enterprise.

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sucteeth 2 years, 1 month ago

The whole process doesn't work as it stands. We need to model our country like Cayman. Let the expats in as they create employment for others and businesses. Who cares about foreigners bring them in and the money will follow.

Our financial services product is done. Our tourism product is the most expensive in the hemisphere. Our educational system is beyond repair. Our workforce is pathetic. Our government is full of self serving individuals that do not care for the country. The list goes on.

We relocated our company to Cayman and it was the best decision we ever made. The ease of opening up a company, bank accounts, immigration, licensing etc., was all done within 2 weeks. Bahamas the same process took 6 months and tens of thousands of dollars especially to the lawyers.

Wake up Bahamians before its too late !!

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