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Another Work Permit Warning

Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Minister Elsworth Johnson.

Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Minister Elsworth Johnson.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net 

WITH staggering rates of unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Immigration Minister Ellsworth Johnson has again issued a warning on work permits, saying not all work permit holders in the country will be able to get their documents renewed.

Instead, Mr Johnson said foreigners granted work permits would be replaced by Bahamian workers who have been deemed “competent” by officials to take over those roles.

This, according to the minister, is part of the government’s efforts to tackle unemployment amid the pandemic.

“We know that 50 percent of the population is (estimated to be) unemployed, some work permits will not be renewed. Where we have fit and proper competent Bahamians to do the job, they will be given that opportunity to do the job,” he said on Tuesday.

“And so, what we have done in the increment because persons are sheltering in The Bahamas, the competent authority has extended annual work permits with the understanding that we’ve already refused some work permits.

“(For example if) you’re a training manager, how many training managers (do) we have in the Bahamas who can do that job now? And so, we’re going through that process along with (the Department of) Labour to do it as humanely possible as we possibly can.”

According to Mr Johnson, this also applies to other areas of work where Bahamians are found to be equipped with the necessary skills to complete the job.

“We are a brilliant and competent people and so no areas are really exempt,” he said.

“Once you come ahead and you could prove at the end of the day because when you ask somebody to come into the country to work by way of a work permit, we should’ve done our due diligence to ensure that there’s no fit and proper Bahamians to do it who have the skills.

“But when you find that there is that skill set, then you bring someone in.”

He continued: “Also, there’s supposed to be a component where you’re training to build capacity so where you find that someone comes in by the way of the permit and at the end of the day, you would find that if they would train ten Bahamians, we love this person.

“Because he’s helping to build capacity in the country. But when you bring someone and after 10 years… you find that there is nobody who can acquire this skill, something is wrong, so we have to do it in a tactful and meaningful way.”

In August, Mr Johnson said the government will not be issuing any new work permits, except under “urgent circumstances”.

Earlier this year, Labour Director John Pinder noted that more than 40,000 work permits have been granted in the country. At the time, he also said officials have been finding that work permit applicants are not being completely truthful about the roles foreign employees are taking.

Asked Tuesday if applicants could see the process for getting work permits become more stringent, the minister suggested it potentially could.

Mr Johnson also lamented the need for full digitisation in the Immigration Department to effectively respond to the needs of its applicants, especially those applying for citizenship.

“What we’ve done in the Immigration Department is we’re forcefully pushing the digitisation process. We’re tired of persons saying they can’t find their documents. COVID-19, as devastating as it is, has reassured us of the urgency to fully digitise,” he said.

“There’s no reason why you should not be able to upload your application online, pay online and get a temporary response and for the system to produce an algorithm to say within a reasonable time, this is when we’ll deal with your application – we’ve appointed a steering committee to that.”

Comments

benniesun 1 month ago

Mr. Johnson do not just tell us that you 'intend' to do something - actually show us what you have done. You can start with the top water and sewerage positions in Abaco and Eleuthera and the top BPL position in Abaco. Prove to us that you are serious, effective, and that you have the Bahamian interest at heart!

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Proguing 1 month ago

Not sure this is the best message to give to potential foreign investors...

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ohdrap4 1 month ago

Thing is they are not giving 40000 work permits to "training managers" and other highly skilled specialists. These permits cost more than 10000 dollars.

The bulk of these permits go to dimestic workers and other labourers, assigned to jobs Bahamians prefer not to do.

As for the "training" requirement a pharnacist or specialist doctor cannot "train" someone to replace them, the trainees have to go to schools. So this is a sector of work permit holders that remain for 10-12 years.

They talk this same thing year after year.

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ohdrap4 1 month ago

Instead, Mr Johnson said foreigners granted work permits would be replaced by Bahamian workers who have been deemed “competent” by officials to take over those roles.

So these officials are going to grant pharmacist permits and medical licenses now?

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SP 1 month ago

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. All we get is blah. Successive governments issued 40,000+ work permits in the country as a means of generating revenue! Who the hell else does that?

Please identify for us the dumb, jackass, politicians who decided that replacing 40,000 Bahamians with nonessential workers who repatriate the majority of their income for investments in home countries, grossly under participating in the local economy, and exporting hard currency was a good idea.

How the hell can anyone with even a flea brain have concluded that putting Bahamians out of work and giving jobs to nonessential workers was good for the Bahamas? What politicians in any other country have done something so damn stupid?

Just how big of a jackass does one have to be to do such a thing, AND where the hell was the opposition when this asinine stupidity was passed in the house?

Bahamians are paying politicians to destroy us and allowing Haitians to ride us like donkeys!

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JokeyJack 1 month ago

... and voting for the same people and Parties every time and giving money to Pastors every Sunday meanwhile people in Fox Hill praying for boongie grease.

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Clamshell 1 month ago

Have we found anybody yet who’s competent at keeping the lights on?

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SP 1 month ago

Lol.....You're way too ignorant to know, but surprisingly Mr. dumbass, the richest, most powerful country on the planet, the great United States Of America, has power failures in virtually every state daily!

TODAY, the sole state without a power failure is Vermont .............................. .................https://poweroutage.us/">https://poweroutage.us/

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Clamshell 1 month ago

Uh, dumbazz ... the same cities and towns in the U.S. don’t have blackouts for hours on end a couple of times a week, over and over again. Wow, talk about ig’rant. Bzzzt ... D- ... but enjoy that BPL paycheck.

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SP 1 month ago

So you're dumb, stupid, and can't comprehend what you read? I'll repeat it for you JUST THIS ONCE!

The United States Of America has power failures in virtually every state daily

That means EVERY DAM DAY Arschloch!!

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Clamshell 1 month ago

Wow ... you really are unglued. Perhaps if your lights were on, you could look it up and realize that the entire power grid of the Bahamas is the size of a single mid-size U.S. city, like maybe Tucson or Cincinnati. Those cities don’t lose power 3 times a week, every week, for 4-8 hours.

In short ... moron .. it’s not the same U.S. city going dark time and time again, every week, as it is here. Gawd, are you ever thick. D- ... Bzzzzt. You lose.

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Clamshell 1 month ago

... also, moron, by that link of yours, about 35,000 Americans at this moment have a power outage, in a nation of 330,000,000. Every time Nassau goes down it affects nearly 10x as many people. You really should work on your math skills. ... D- ... Bzzzzt ... Fail again!

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lobsta 1 month ago

For one it's really a bad comparison, because the US has a lot of overland power lines... but even then to compare the power reliability with the Bahamas is laughable at best and dishonest at worst. Lived in the US for over 10 years and the only time we had a power failure was during a tropical storm. Also, in some more developed countries in Europe you might have a power failure every couple of years... and then it's a big deal because the power was out for 30 minutes. So, yes the people at BPL are grossly incompetent.

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Clamshell 1 month ago

... ‘zackly. I’ve lived off and on in the U.S., you can go years there without a power failure. Heck, I even worked in Russia for a while, and as screwed up as that place was, the power never went out.

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JokeyJack 1 month ago

Not the workers - it's the equipment. Buying old generators from Yugoslavia and such places for $20M that are worth $3M. Remember the investigation that found that old guy at fault but his health was so bad he could not stand trial. Then the investigation sort of disappeared from there. Just one old guy who, I suppose, must have swam with that generator on his back all the way across the ocean.
We all know the things that go on here, and yet we continue to come out every year in July and celebrate Independence. I don't blame the government for doing whatever they feel. If the people are happy and partying and enjoying their "independence" - then God bless them and keep the steering wheel straight.

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The_Oracle 1 month ago

Companies and investors find they need Expatriate workers. Governments have figured out they can charge exorbitant fees for them. Expatriate workers cost more money in permit fees, housing, transport, in every regard, so there is an obvious savings to be had by hiring Bahamians instead IF qualified competent Bahamians can be found. Aside the Xenophobia, how can we fix the core problem and create more qualified competent Bahamians? Meanwhile we have lost our $US earning export, hospitality. What you gonna replace that with? Ain't no foreigner coming here to be paid in a valueless currency.

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benniesun 1 month ago

... how can we fix the core problem and create more qualified competent Bahamians?

Qualified competent Bahamians who are not part of the local "Brotherhood" are blacklisted and ostracized, as they cannot be trusted to ignore, consent and carry out the wishes of corrupt politicians. Qualified competent Bahamians refuse to have their spirits broken and maintain their creativity. This is why there are no bright bulbs in the public sector, and this nation is a muddle of mediocrity.

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SP 1 month ago

This is not rocket science. Jamaica, Barbados, and many other countries have already crossed this bridge many years ago. All they did was to simply bring in the best of the best to resolve any shortcomings and seriously educate and appetence locals to learn those skills.

You have identified corrupt politicians as the fulcrum of the problem, so the solution is obvious.

If we keep doing the same thing repeatedly and expect a different result......you know the rest!!!

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hrysippus 1 month ago

Yawn. In other news BPL vow that there will be no more power cuts next summer.

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SP 1 month ago

In other news, has anyone else felt doubly charged by BPL this month? They promised power bills would decrease in August due to a fall in global oil prices, but everyone I know is complaining about bills doubling instead!

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SP 1 month ago

@ohdrap4......TOTAL, ABSOLUTE, POPPYCOCK!....STOP TALKING BULLSHYT!......

It is an absolute fallacy perpetrated by dishonest politicians that "the bulk of these permits go to domestic workers and other laborers, assigned to jobs Bahamians prefer not to do".

Many 1000's of Bahamians are homeless, facing daily food shortages, unable to pay rents and care for children, living without power and water, and doing whatever they have to for survival. These people are desperate for ANY job doing anything!!!

It is inhumane how many Bahamians are forced to live while foreigners live on the fat of the land doing minimum skill jobs.

Hubert Alexander Ingraham and Perry Gladstone Christie are equally guilty, for purposefully lying to, and misguiding the country with the totally false notion that Bahamians were not interested in domestic and laborer jobs. However, just prior to every election these same two "leaders" had no problem hiring 1000's of Bahamians as laborers doing the lowest of the low jobs in the country!

SHAME on Hubert Alexander Ingraham and Perry Gladstone Christie for misleading the country to the massive detriment of our people. SHAME

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mandela 1 month ago

Dear Mr. Immigration Minister, BLA, BLA, BLA, no one is listening, BLA, BLA, BLA, no one takes you seriously, BLA, BLA, BLA,

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UN 1 month ago

‘Fit & proper’ but are they likable?? Today, some strange dude working at a warehouse had his usual daily breakdown (I’m having a LOUD one-sided convo with you, talking about your life while I’m here earning a salary). At my old job (worked there 15 years) my female boss let 3 young Bahamian girls (age 18 or 19) go because she found them annoying/irritating (they only lasted 2 weeks).

I went to McDonald’s this evening & received the usual weird treatment (gestures indicating they were there when I did this or that), weird sounds in throat from cashier.

That’s what’s lost on the government - they may be able to do the job but why should employers be forced to be around someone with negative energy, who will only create a weird/toxic work environment? People are spoiled - ‘no matter what we do you all are stuck with us’ (hostage).

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The_Oracle 1 month ago

The problem with the Ingraham/Christie pre election hires is that they did no work! Still the basic problem with the civil service. Benniesun is right, It is all about who you know, or who knows you, rather than what you may know.

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themessenger 1 month ago

Mr Johnson said foreigners granted work permits would be replaced by Bahamian workers who have been deemed “competent” by officials to take over those roles.

His Mr. Johnsons competency and that of his parliamentary colleagues is anything to judge by we're in deep s...t.

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Jim 1 month ago

South Bimini Sands marina brought in an American recently that either has a work permit through another company, approved by political or monetary means, or is working there illegally, taking a well-deserved position of a Bahamian that truely needs to work.

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Dawes 1 month ago

Do politicians realize that what they say is then out there for all to see. So in one article we get told that to get Freeport and therefore Grand Bahama going we need to open up and allow more foreigners in. Then out comes the Immigration minister saying the exact opposite. Why doesn't he say that if there is a need for foreigners it will be filled, however if there is not it won't. Companies are there to make profit, only a insane company would prefer to spend all the extras you would need to get a foreigner when there is a Bahamain who can do the job. In addition the 40,000 is a headline grabbing number. Part of that is all the foreign doctors and nurses, and i doubt we are going to tell them bye. Then there is all the laborers and domestic workers. Those high power jobs everyone is thinking of (the expat banker) is not that much in the 40,000 (i think around 300, and with many of them when they go so does the company as it is theirs). This is all politics and a way to show that this country will never be much more then it is now as we are so insular. We want the foreign money but we don't want the foreigner.

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TimesUp 1 month ago

Do people really think businesses prefer to pay 10k work permit fees, upscale housing, insurance of choice, pension of choice, private school fees for their children, phone bill, utilities, yearly travel, moving fees, company car etc etc and pay a competative salary greater than the person would earn in their native country?

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OMG 1 month ago

Why oh why did the previous deputy diredctor recruit teachers from Cuba who in some cases barely speak understandable english, have little interest in the students but rather how much stuff they can buy to take back to Cuba, and yet competant teachers exist here. Here is an idea Mr Loyd,in the areas most lacking such as woodwork, Auto why not get competant tradesmen or women or BTVI students to assist existing teachers and take summer courses for t he theory part.,then instead of bringi ng over a Cuban or having empty workshops you give a job to a Bahamian who has a vested interest because he lives here.

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