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PM declares govt to crack down on work permits

PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis.

PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis said the government would crack down on granting work permits yesterday, declaring: “We’re not anti-foreigners. We’re just pro-Bahamian.”

He did not say what the government would do differently: Labour Director Robert Farquharson has repeatedly said the Department of Labour is cracking down on issuing work permits.

Mr Davis said it is unacceptable for employers to seek work permit renewals for foreigners after ten to 15 years.

He said Bahamians should get the jobs after being trained. He said he had tasked labour and immigration officials with cracking down on employers seeking to take advantage of the system.

He made the comments while defending the government’s decision to increase work permit fees.

“We accept that foreigners are required to fill some positions,” he said while wrapping up the 2023/24 budget debate in the House of Assembly.

“And we accept that a foreign investor may want their key personnel here, but we can’t do it at the sacrifice of us, man, and we want them to come because we appreciate as well that we may not have the capacity or the expertise and experience locally to provide some of them. In those instances, fine.”

He added: “I want to make it clear to employers that in these instances, we expect a Bahamian to understudy and be trained for that position. The Department of Immigration and, by extension, the government, should not find itself in a position where an employer is asking to renew a work permit after 10 or 15 years.”

“This is unacceptable, especially when our database at the Department of Immigration and at the Department of Labour are qualified to fill the post.”

Labour director Robert Farquharson cited the government’s desire to reduce the 8.8 per cent unemployment rate further when asked about Mr Davis’ mandate yesterday.

He said a taskforce was formed two months ago to focus on work permits.

“Once a Bahamian is available, our job is to identify the Bahamian and choose Bahamians first,” he said. “In the event that no Bahamians is available, then the employer is mandated under the policy of the government to identify a Bahamian understudy and the Department of Labour is mandated to monitor that understudy to make sure the necessary training and transfer occurs.”

Comments

donald 8 months, 1 week ago

Let's get real, Bahamians must get more productive. Businesses always simply want to hire the most productive.

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SP 8 months, 1 week ago

Businesses want to hire the most productive, but do not want to pay Bahmaians to produce!

The foreigner gets better pay, housing, school fees, and transport allowances while the Bahamian is paid a low wage.

Don't expect an underpaid Bahamian to train your well-compensated foreigners and produce.

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LastManStanding 8 months, 1 week ago

Truth. I know of a case where a business will even pay their work permit holder's rent while refusing to give their Bahamian employees a raise for years. I lived overseas and had this thing called a salary which used to pay my rent. Bahamians get treated like second class citizens in this country.

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SP 8 months, 1 week ago

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. We have heard this same bullshyt song and dance from every PM for 40 years and have gotten absolutely no results from any of them.

This whole subject has become so diluted that It is way beyond ludicrous for the government to even mention, much less, consider renewing a work permit after 10 or 15 years!

What damn job could possibly take 10 to 15 years for a Bahamian to qualify for? If the government were in any way near serious, there would be an 18 Month to 2-year maximum on any work permit.

If the foreigner is unable to train a Bahamian in a maximum of 2 years, it can only mean the individual is "incapable of training," and that individual should then be automatically disqualified for any work permit renewals!

This ongoing 40-year bullshyt talk from governments about “We’re not anti-foreigners. We’re just pro-Bahamian” and renewing work permits for 10 to 15 years is an insult to our intelligence.

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Dawes 8 months, 1 week ago

Or the person is incapable of being trained.

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SP 8 months, 1 week ago

Don't be a jackass, what profession is so difficult? It would be obvious within weeks if a person is untrainable or unsuitable. In either case, that individual should be immediately replaced, and the foreigner should still be accountable to train a replacement within the allotted time.

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Dawes 8 months ago

Doctor, Finance, Enginering, i could go on. Plenty you need years of studying and then years of experience. But hey lets let a let a surgeon who has had 2 years of training have a go at it.

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stillwaters 8 months, 1 week ago

Distraction....trying to deflect from what Bell did.

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bcitizen 8 months, 1 week ago

Why would anyone want to go through the onerous hoop jumping process of getting a work permit for a foreign person if a local one is available to work?

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SP 8 months, 1 week ago

Pure and simple prejudice!

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immigrant 8 months, 1 week ago

How much training = a required degree? I’m just wondering because I’m a d average Bahamian and am thinking of training under a vascular surgeon. By this logic, I’ll be ready to go in a few years. Who wants me to operate on them 1st?

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stillwaters 8 months, 1 week ago

Yeah....you missed the point...is all this a little over your head?

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