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Gov't to increase fee for work permit

Published:Friday | April 11, 2014 | 12:00 AM

PERSONS WHO apply for a work permit in Jamaica will have to dig deeper into their pockets this year as the Government will be increasing the cost for the permit.

Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier told members of parliament examining the Estimates of Expenditure during a meeting of the Standing Finance Committee that an adjustment would be made to the fee this year.

The Government currently earns about $6 million per annum for work permits.

Kellier did not provide details about the proposed increase.

He reported that his ministry issued 3,381 work permits between 2012 and 2013.

For the period 2013-2014, the ministry issued 4,308 persons from abroad with permits to work in the island.

The majority of the permits are issued to personnel associated with large construction projects and other businesses.

work given to foreign nationals

But Opposition Spokesman on Labour Rudyard Spencer complained that there were persons on work sites locally doing jobs that Jamaicans could be hired to carry out.

Spencer did not provide details about the nationalities of the persons on the work sites, noting that the matter was sensitive and as such he had to be "diplomatic".

"The work permits that are given ... we have those people on sites doing the work that Jamaicans can do," he said.

Responding, Kellier explained that investors signed agreements with the Government in which quotas are agreed on for the granting of work permits to persons from overseas to work in Jamaica. "We have to be very careful how we deal with those issues. Once there is an agreement, we have to follow it," he said.

However, the labour minister made it clear that his ministry would not tolerate the violation of the terms of a work permit. "If you work in contravention of the permits you have been granted, you will become a candidate for expulsion," he declared.