Asserting that a number of foreigners are coming here and obtaining permits to work, Labour Minister Stephenson King has said that the government has been trying very hard to restrict that.
“As we speak now we are reviewing the process even further even though we strengthened the requirements and made it a little more difficult for people to apply for work permits,” King told St Lucia Times.
“We are looking at the requirements, processes and procedures to make sure it is air tight so we can determine whether one applies in an area that they claim they cannot get a worker from Saint Lucia -that we can prove to them that there are workers here in Saint Lucia,” King explained.
He disclosed that Saint Lucia’s Labour Market Information System is being beefed up with the support of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which will be undertaking a project here.
According to the minister, with that system Saint Lucia will be able to gather information on the skills available locally and know the sectors where those skills are.
King told St Lucia Times that at the same time, local officials will be able to identify the deficits in other sectors.
“So for example if in case there is a deficit of say – chefs on Island and we recognize that the hotels are applying regularly for foreign chefs; then it means that we, through the Labour Market Information System, we should inform the Ministry of Education through the TVET programme or even the normal education pogramme to look at that area to build more capacity and create more opportunities for Saint Lucians in those areas,” the Labour Minister explained.
King spoke against the backdrop of this week’s announcement by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet that there has been a drop in the nation’s unemployment figures.
King welcomed the news, indicating that the government is on the right track.
But he stated that a lot more has to be done to deal with unemployment.