By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
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."