The Ministry of Labour is set to implement a Skilled Workers Amnesty Programme (SWAP) in the British Virgin Islands this year.
Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley made that announcement in a recent session in the House of Assembly where he said SWAP is one of the many programmes expected to be rolled out by his ministry in 2020.
“The department will introduce a Skilled Workers Amnesty Programme for skilled workers — particularly in the construction industry — who are working in the territory with employers not listed on their work permits. They will be asked to contact the department to address regularizing their work permits status,” Wheatley stated.
Employers Orientation Programme
Wheatley added that there will be an orientation programme for employers in the territory.
He said several benefits will come from this programme. These benefits include building employer awareness and compliance on Health & Safety and Labour relations matters; reducing unauthorized employment from within the territory, and curtailing the number of reported disputes by informing employers of their rights as prescribed in the territory’s Labour Code.
“The primary objective is to ensure that sound labour practices are followed through the enforcement of the BVI labour laws or code so that a harmonious working environment can exist between the employer and the employee,” Minister Wheatley stated.
Health and Safety Campaign
He also said the Health and Safety Campaign will be recommenced and used as a means to rejuvenate and create a culture of safety in the BVI’s workspace.
Wheatley said the VIP government will continue to the 1,000 jobs in 1,000 days initiative, which will be offering soft skills training to local jobseekers.
These initiatives, according to Wheatley, are all aimed at creating a labour market in the territory which is conducive to economic growth, investment and employment creation.
The minister said he believes it will also create a labour market which will be characterized by improved skills, equity, and sound labour relations.
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