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Changes coming for work permit process

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

Changes coming for work permit process

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KINGSTON – The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) says that as of June 23 it will restructure the processing of work permits in order to protect the Jamaican labour force from a saturation of skills that are already available locally.
The changes will see a four per cent increase in the current application fee of JA$14 400 to JA$15 000 (BDS$270).
The reform is in keeping with the country’s Labour Market Reform, which is intended to create a dynamic labour market which can foster productivity growth, promote flexibility, provide an effective social safety net, and increase real incomes.
Director of the Ministry’s Work Permit Unit, Lisa-Ann Grant, said the new structure is based on a categorisation of economic sectors with different fees applied to each group.
“The sectors that will encourage investment, economic growth, and employment will attract lower fees. Conversely, the sectors for which adequate skill sets are available locally will attract higher fees,” she explained.
 She added that, “under the new regulations, the existing general permit fee of JA$180 000 (BDS$3 235) per annum will be abolished to introduce several categories of employment under which respective fees are to be paid, in accordance with skill set demands”.
Grant was speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank, on Tuesday at the agency’s head office in Kingston.
She noted that foreign nationals in the wholesale and retail trade and motor vehicle repair sector will pay a fee of $170 000 annually, while the hotel and restaurant services, and construction sectors, will see work permit seekers paying $150 000 per annum.
“Those in transport, storage and communication will pay up to $130 000, while foreigners in the manufacturing and agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors will pay a maximum of $110 000 in permit fees,” Grant added.
The changes follow modifications to the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) (Work Permit Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2014. Work permit fees were last increased in 2008. (Observer)