The Labour Department is expected to undergo a major overhaul, Labour Minister Dr Kedrick Pickering has said.
The overhaul will include computerising sections of the Labour process and extending what can be described as isolated treatment to expatriates employed in senior executive positions.
“We are currently making provisions for senior executives’ work permits to be processed at the Ministry [of Labour] with a view to a quicker turnaround,” Dr Pickering explained.
He further said his ministry is “exploring the use of technology that will allow photos to be uploaded to the work permit card”.
Dr Pickering said this new order of business will eliminate the need for applicants to physically come to the Labour Department, particularly during the renewal process.
Reasons behind changes
The changes, the labour minister explained, are among recommendations from a consultant the ministry hired with support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The consultant’s mandate was to review and offer solutions to the current issues facing the local labour market.
Pickering further said the upgrade also ensures the ministry remains current as government moves to rebuild smarter, greener, and more efficiently.
Moreover, it also served to align local standards with international best practices across the board.
“For example, the Labour Code does not outline the steps to be taken during natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods,” he noted.
He continued: “It does not make provision for flexibility within the labour market, that is, enabling employees to work for another employer when their primary employer suffers a temporary or permanent shutdown.”
He said the ministry, in tandem with the Labour Department “will ensure that the supply of labour is commensurate with the level of development in all sectors of the economy while being sensitive and responsive to the needs of the labour market.”
The minister was at the time addressing Thursday’s sitting of the House of Assembly.
Skilled workers Programme
A total of 1,710 skilled workers, mostly in the construction industry, entered the territory after the onslaught of last year’s hurricanes.
Pickering said they came under the Skilled Workers Programme which was implemented to ensure that the necessary manpower was able to enter the territory in a timely manner.
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