Government Tightening Up On Undocumented Workers

31

Government Tightening Up On Undocumented Workers Jermine Abel An ongoing investigation by the Ministry of Labour has revealed that there are large numbers of undocumented workers employed in the Federation’s private sector. This is according to Minister of Labour, Hon. Vance Amory. He informed The Observer that there are a number of delinquent companies hiring the illegal immigrants, noting that the Ministry is looking to remedy the situation. “The Labour Commissioner and the Department are doing their investigations. We are doing that so that we can tighten up the process, in terms of ensuring that workers who are delinquent and engaging in work illegally, that if they are eligible they can be straightened and they can continue to work.” Premier Amory was reluctant to give information into their findings, but said it is important that the Ministry carries out the exercise. “This is where we are at this time, to ensure that we get all the workers properly catalogued or documented so that they are straight.” The Premier opined however, that he does not feel “non-nationals” should be occupying jobs that many locals can fill. Through the documentation process, he said, they will seek to “even the playing field”. “There are some businesses that have undocumented workers and we are trying to sort that out and get them to legalize and straighten out the whole process.” It was during a recent sitting of the National Assembly that the Premier revealed there are a number of undocumented foreign nationals working in the federation. He pointed to the construction field where a large group is employed. “For us in the Ministry of Labour, we have made it a matter of urgency that the Labour Commissioner and the officers in the Department of Labour have been mandated to visit all the sites on which there is construction to ascertain that persons employed on those sites are not in breach of the laws of St. Kitts and Nevis,” Amory told the Parliament. Premier Amory could not give The Observer a time frame regarding when the investigation will be completed as the Department of Labour is currently short-staffed, he said.