Local News

Foreign Nationals without work permits in Jamaica have 10 days to regularize status

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Foreign nationals working in Jamaica without valid work permits, have 10 days to regularize their status or face deportation.

“We will, as of on (Oct. 17), be giving all non-work permit foreigners who are working in Jamaica, 10 days to come into the Ministry of Labour and report to have your stay regularized,” said Labour and Social Security Minister, Pearnel Charles, at this morning’s post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.

“After 10 days, the inspectors will not take you to North Street (the offices of the Ministry), they will take you to the airport… and the plane, very simple,” the Labour Minister warned.

Mr. Charles noted that once these persons come into the Ministry and explain their plight, the matter will be dealt with professionally.

In the meantime, the Minister has said that an audit of the work permit system is now underway, to determine among other things, the number of foreign nationals in possession of such permits.

He told journalists that since 2002, a total of 25,000 work permits have been issued by the Ministry, but only 5,000 known foreign nationals are in possession of these permits. “There is nothing in the Ministry of Labour to advise me how many of the 25,000 work permit holders are still in the island. We now have 5,000 live work permits but we don’t know of the other 20,000, how many are still in the island,” he said.

“Therefore, we have appointed inspectors, who have started working from last week to examine some of what we have been hearing and to find out how many non-work permit holders are employed in Jamaica,” he noted.

The Labour Minister explained that if an employer is desirous of recruiting a foreign national to fill vacancies in Jamaica, the position must first be advertised in the local media, adding that Jamaicans will not be denied these jobs as long as they are qualified.

“We are not going to give you a work permit to take a job from a woman in Jamaica and she stands on the street without a job, that is not on; that is selling jobs. We don’t sell jobs, we sell vacancies because we don’t have anybody to fill that job,” he stated.

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