Minister Taylor highlights efforts to prioritize employment of TC Islanders first
COCKBURN TOWN, TURKS & CAICOS — According to the Cabinet office, the government’s moratorium on first-time work permits has had a positive impact on local employment, “in accordance with the policy where all routes to employ Turks and Caicos Islanders have been demonstrably exhausted”.
During a meeting, the Cabinet “noted progress made in implementing the moratorium on first-time work permits and the positive impact in facilitating Turks and Caicos Islanders to be gainfully employed”.
Data from the Ministry of Education, Labour and Employment Services indicated that for the first half of 2021, there were approximately 8,500 work permit holders in the country, but since the moratorium came into effect in May, applications for first-time work permits have dropped at least 10 percent.
However, Minister of Education, Labour and Employment Services Rachel Taylor highlighted that the moratorium is working in tandem with other job-related government initiatives.
She explained, “The recent moratorium that came into effect on May 1st, 2021, has provided the Department of Labour and Employment Services the opportunity to assess the employment market and strategize as to how best unemployed and underemployed residents can benefit from any available jobs that would have been occupied by first-time work permit holders. “
Part of the mandate also included a consultation period with key stakeholders, during which discussions were to center around local recruitment and training, as well as “staffing information from companies throughout the TCI to build on our current employment database in order to compare wages, gender information, youth employment, skills deficit across various sectors and predict potential job growth in the next two years”.
The minister, in a separate interview, noted that some work permit requests were for jobs like store clerks or babysitters, and she expressed confidence that residents can fill those roles if given the opportunity.
This is why, she added, government initiatives like the nation-wide job readiness registration drive held in June are crucial.
Up to that time, 476 people had registered with the Labour Department, with Taylor pledging that “the government is committed to ensuring that on this road to recovery, our people are gainfully employed in positions that are aligned with their skillset”.
She encouraged unemployed residents to continue registering with the Labour Department, and also urged members of Parliament and community leaders like pastors to likewise get involved “because that is the only time that we can help to address their unemployment”.