Minister for National Security, Rayburn Blackmoore, has been outlining the conditions under which the government of Dominica will issue and renew work permits to Haitians.
Blackmoore’s announcement comes in the wake of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s announcement on the December 6 edition of his Anou Palay talk show that the government would, in the following weeks, begin regularization of work permits to Haitian nationals.
He said in a statement that government prides itself on its progressive policies of being welcoming to all and not opposed to the engagement of foreign nationals.
However, the minister stated that the government is also committed to ensuring that a proper process is put in place for the issuance and reissuance of work permits.
“A distinction is being drawn between registered businesses, self employed persons, farmers and persons wishing to hire in-home assistance, whether it is for help in the homes, yards or caretakers,” he said, adding that as of January 5th 2021, some conditions will apply regarding the issuance and renewal of work permits.
“In keeping with the law section 27.F as far as it is applicable, potential employers must show that he or she has advertised their position locally and are unable to get suitable Dominicans to fill the positions,” Blackmoore explained.
He said three newspaper clippings may need to be appended to all applications, return tickets may be required for the non-nationals, and persons who are self-employed will be required to produce proof of their businesses or proof of their livelihoods.
The minister said the Government of Dominica has been repeatedly demonstrating its commitment to the agricultural sector and in that regard will be flexible but those individuals who are taking up farming on whatever scale may be subject to a process of verification.
“Persons wishing to hire domestic and home assistance may also be required to provide some measure of proof,” he said. “Valid photo identification will be required of all applications.”
According to the National Security Minister, there is no intention to create unnecessary strain on small organizations or individuals but “there must remain a standard of best practice and transparency.”
He said application forms for work permits and work permit renewals are available at the Labour Division located at Government Headquarters in Roseau.
Meanwhile, pointing to the “unfortunate” reality of “a pool of dishonest persons,” Blackmoore cited what he said was evidence of some tampering of documents.
“There were instances of persons purporting to be employers making requests for permits on behalf of persons who were not legitimately employed,” he explained. “Therefore the government felt that it was of outmost necessity to review its approach to the issuance of work permits and to put systems in place to mitigate against abuse and to ensure that the existing laws are respected and complied with.”
He noted that the Immigration and Passport Amendment number 19 of 2003 section 27 to section 27-H provides the conditions under which the minister may grant work permits.
“As the minister, I wish to express my utmost confidence in the laws currently in existence,” Blackmoore stated. “It should be noted there are distinctions in how different categories of employers will be treated.”