More people benefit from overseas employment programme – PIOJ
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Karl Samuda (left), greets veteran farmworker, Clovis Cooper, during a send-off ceremony held at the Ministry’s Overseas Employment Services Centre in downtown Kingston, recently. The workers left the island for Canada. (Photo: Mark Bell)

KINGSTON, Jamaica – There was an increase in the overall number of people participating in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Overseas Employment Programme in 2021. Some 12,839 people participated in the programme in 2020 but that number increased by 24.8 per cent to 16,019 in 2021.

According to a Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) Economic and Social Survey 2021 report, "employment in the US hospitality programme increased by 909 persons. This was driven by an increase of 517 in female participants."

"The number of participants in the US farm programme also increased by 4.3 per cent to 4,769,” the document further cited.

“Improvements were also seen across all the Canadian programmes, which grew by 27.2 per cent to a total of 9,688 participants. The majority of participants (92.2 per cent) were employed on the Canadian Farm and Factory Workers programme, which recorded a 28.5 per cent increase in participants to 8,929.”

Additionally, the number of workers engaged in the Canadian Low Skilled Worker programme expanded by 14.0 per cent to 759. Similar to the previous year, there were no participants in the Canadian Skilled Worker/Hospitality programme.

The Ministry, through its Overseas Employment Programme, places qualified Jamaicans in employment in the United States of America and Canada. Included are the US Farm; the US Hospitality; the Canadian Farm, and Factory Workers; the Canadian Skilled Worker/Hospitality; and the Canadian Low Skilled Worker programmes.

In addition to the Ministry-operated labour migration programmes, private employment agencies facilitate the placement of Jamaicans in employment overseas. These private operators are regulated by the Ministry under the Employment Agencies Regulation Act, 1957.

“In 2021, a total of 4,117 persons were placed in overseas employment by private agencies. Females accounted for 52.7 per cent of private placements. The majority of persons was placed through the H2B programme (1,885) followed by local placements (1,433), J18 (699) and Cruise Ship programmes (100),” the report stated.

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