EDITORIAL – Work permit raises its ugly head again
THE?STATED POSITION of Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite is clearly at variance with what has become the trend among “some hotels”.
It may also be at variance with the general considerateness of the Immigration authorities.
Generally, jobs requiring a long-term work permit for a foreign national must first be advertised in the local newspaper.
If no suitable applications are received, then the prospective employer may apply for such a work permit.
Prior to doing this, a notice must be placed in the newspaper informing the public that it is the employer’s intention to apply for the work permit.
Hinged upon all this, it appears, is the presumed desire of the prospective boss to have a foreign worker in the first place. And we know of no perfect monitoring to determine whether local applications for the job at hand are indeed unsuitable.
This may well have been at the forethought of the Attorney General when he declared in the House on Tuesday:
“Our strategy must not only be . . . to encourage our people . . . . We must ensure that no roadblocks are placed in their way in this country. So we must be vigilant.”
In their defence, these hotels, with which Mr Brathwaite has some difficulty, say they seek the foreign national for his or her “expertise”.
Reports were not too long ago that Four Seasons had been exempted from our work permit laws and would be able to bring in offshore labour – on condition that the hotel trained 100 Barbadians offshore each year.
The Barbados Government, it was said, had relaxed its tough stance on allocating work permits. This was not confirmed to our knowledge.
An amendment to our Immigration Act provides for certain CARICOM nationals to live and work in Barbados in specified categories without a work permit.
This naturally adds to the contest for jobs among our own nationals.
When this is juxtaposed with truly unnecessary foreign labour input, the concerns of the Minister of Home Affairs are firmly grasped.
So while we empathize with the minister, it really requires more of him than stating his disappointment over the “many work permits” given “over the years”.
Mr Brathwaite needs to lobby his Cabinet colleagues to be of the same mind. After all, as he suggested to Parliament, we cannot be spending these large sums of money on developing our young people, then to put roadblocks inadvertently before them.
It cannot be an acceptable excuse for a “policy” by any hotel or other sector.