LABOUR Minister Keith Bell announcing the launch of MyGateway portal for job seekers. Photo: Austin Fernander
By LETRE SWEETING
THE Labour Department yesterday launched a new service on the MyGateway portal for job seekers.
The new vacancy notice service and services for new and renewed labour certificates on the portal was launched in partnership with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Labour and Immigration yesterday at the Department of Labour on Rosetta Street.
Immigration Director Keturah Ferguson will also authenticate each labour certificate that accompanies an application for a work permit.
The Department of Transformation and Digitisation, as well as the Digital Transformation Unit will facilitate the security of the system, while government employees will be managing the system daily.
In the past, applying for a labour certificate, which is necessary for a work permit to be approved, required people going to the Department of Labour.
Once there, they would fill out a paper form, provide copies of an ad for a job, and bring in other necessary documents. Now, the entire process will be completed remotely from anywhere in the world, said Labour Director Robert Farquharson.
“The process for the application processing and distribution of the labour certificates has gone digital and are available to the residents and citizens of The Bahamas online,” he said. “It significantly reduces the time.”
He added: “We had to approve 29 foreigners to be lifeguards in the Bahamas last month. We need teachers, engineers, nurses, pharmacists, across the board. We want to encourage members of the public who are seeking a job to register with the Department of Labour online portal, www.jobseekers.bahamas.gov.bs.
“We can only help you if you register with us,” Mr Farquharson said.
The next step for the Department of Labour is working with the Department of Transformation and Digitisation and the Digital Transformation Unit is to digitise the process of conciliation, so as to save time and money by having these services done online, Mr Farquharson said.
Labour and Immigration Minister Keith Bell said the new system has fail-safes in place to prevent fraud.
“In addition to significantly reducing the time to process an application, the new system will also allow the staff of the Department of Labour to have digital access to date that will reduce fraud and attempts by unscrupulous persons to have multiple applicants applying for the same job.”
Mr Bell said that the new digital era of The Bahamas is here and Bahamians should seek to embrace it.
“This new digital service signals our collective commitment to build a strong foundation for digital transformation in our nation. We are in the midst of a digital revolution and we are ready to work with our clients in new, more progressive ways.”
The minister added: “We are not here to simply talk about making a process paperless, or extending a service to more islands. We are here to herald a moment in time where we have made a government service more easily accessible and its process more transparent.”
Wayde Watson, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, agreed regarding the benefits of the new process. He said that the platform had been tested for a number of weeks by various stakeholders for efficiency, before being opened to the public. “We fully intend to operate a reliable, resilient and secure system.”
The Department of Labour works closely with the National Training Agency and The Bahamas Vocational and Technical Institute (BTVI), which has training opportunities free of charge for Bahamians.