341 fewer work permits issued in April quarter
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security granted 341 fewer work permits during the first quarter of the current fiscal year when compared with the corresponding period last year.
Speaking at the Ministry’s quarterly press briefing this morning, portfolio minister Shahine Robinson disclosed that a total of 1,334 work permits were granted between April to June 2018, of which 831 were new applications and 503 were renewals.
The ministry issued 1,675 permits for the same period last year.
Of that number, 835 were new applications and 781 were renewals.
“We have heard and appreciate the concern that permits might have been granted for some skills that exist locally. As minister, I have been insisting on a thorough review of all applications for work permits. As a result, the numbers are trending down,” Robinson asserted.
“As minister, I do believe that we have a responsibility to find the balance between facilitating investment opportunities as well as meeting the employment needs of our citizens,” she continued.
The labour minister disclosed that in 2017 it refused only 15 of the 5,717 applications it received for work permits.
Robinson informed that the ministry in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank has developed a project to modernise the work permit system.
She explained that it is to be replaced with a new client-focused, web-based work permit software.
“The new regime will be designed to cut the processing time for work permits, analyse the database of skills in Jamaica, and help to simplify the process of doing business,” said Robinson.