Fears over NWDA capability

| 28/10/2013

(CNS): With the passage of the new immigration law, employers holding Term Limit Exemption Permits (TLEPs) must begin the process of advertising the posts and looking for Caymanians this week before getting new permits for these workers. Bosses have just 45 days to regularise their expatriate workers or find a Caymanian. Those guest workers who have not been here eight years and do not get a new permit will need to leave. However, there are real concerns that the National Workforce Development Agency (NWDA), which has been tasked with helping locals apply for the posts, will not be able to cope. The concerns were highlighted in Finance Committee, when seniorcivil servants said they could not release the contact details of jobless locals to employers due to issues of confidentiality.

In an absurd example of bureaucracy and a ‘jobs worth culture’, the minister responsible for employment, as well as the chief officer and deputy chief officer in charge of the NWDA, said that the agency staff could not give out the names of people looking for work to employers because that would entail giving out personal information.

As legislators probed the line items during Finance Committee last week, the issue was brought up by the North Side MLA Ezzard Miller after he related an experience in which he had tried to find a common labourer via the agency for some work at his own home.  He said the agency refused to give him the names and addresses of potential candidates and the only way the NWDA could help was if he posted the job with them. Then some time in the future they would send him a candidate as no list of unemployed people existed.

During the scrutiny of the education and employment minister's appropriations for this budget, Miller quizzed Tara Rivers and her ministry staff about what was going on and pointing to the role that the agency would be expected to play in the forthcoming situation regarding the TLEP holders and getting locals into those jobs. The ministry staff said that a list did exist but they could not release the list to members or potential employers for confidentiality reasons.

MLAs seemed dumfounded by the sheer bureaucratic idiocy of such a policy, as they pointed out that someone who had registered with the agency who was looking for work had given their contact details and skill sets to the agency with the very hope that this would be given to potential employers.

As of today, 28 October, employers must begin trying to find locals to fill their TLEP holder posts before they can apply for a work permit. However, with some 1,500 positions and around 2000 unemployed locals, at least a thousand of whom are now registered with the NWDA, members remained unconvinced the agency will be able to help these people find work. Despite the PPM government’s good intentions to clamp down on abuses, many Caymanian workers who could do the jobs currently held by TLEPs may never even get a chance to apply because of what many say is the sheer inability and incompetence of the NWDA to do what it is supposed to do.

At a time when government is under pressure to make its new immigration regime work, the decision by the NWDA to withhold names and addresses of workers from employers for confidentiality reasons is unlikely to help. Many believe this will make the process lengthy and bureaucratic and unlikely to have the desired result and do little to address the mounting crisis of local unemployment.

Although government has established a task force to reshape the agency and make it work as intended, the review may not come in time to help government demonstrate as early as possible that its new immigration regime will not make local unemployment even worse.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The NWDA cant give names because the NWDA truly dont have a clue what they are doing. The office is a nursery for adults looking for work and truly wishing nothing shows up. The office in turn is run by pre-schoolers who are just as lost as Columbus was when he discovered Cayman- however the difference is that Columbus didnt know where he was going yet he still found success. When an integral department such as this is run by incompetence- then the result will be less than desirous. IF I may make a humble suggestion to the government- disbanded this office and enter into a public-private partnership with all the employment agencies in Cayman for assistance with finding employment for Caymaninas. These agencies seem to know what they are doing or have to do- the results speak for themselves as many an expat secures work in this country using this conduit. Finally, would the Ministry and NWDA care to release how many job waivers have been issued since January 1, 2013 to current. If not, an FOI is needed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    As an employer, I am ok with this. Instead of giving me twenty names to contact, give the twenty people my contact information. That way, I will only have to answer the phone twice 

    • Anonymous says:

      God, when you get that application from someone who thinks they are suitably qualified your stomach churns with all the trouble it is going to cause.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I tried to see if they had anyone for a temporary position at my workplace. They told me to call another govt. department., which I did.  Was then told to call the NWDA  back.  I'm a busy person and could not take the time to call back and forth until I got someone who knew what they were doing.  I gave up and contacted a few of the employment agencies who were able to provide me with several suitably qualified Caymanians.  I would advise all Caymanians looking for work to sign up with the private agencies as well. 

    • Anon says:

      The agencies are crying out for qualified Caymanians but for some reason not many register with them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe it is the outrageous cut in pay they suffer compared to full time hires.

  4. Anonymous says:

    "…will not be able to cope"


    This says a lot.


    Maybe this department needs to hire all of the unemployed Caymanians so that it can get the work done.

    • Anonymous says:

      They mean "will not be able to" cooperate. Translated, this means "are unwilling to cooperate."

  5. Just Cuz says:

    The NWDA is in crisis and nothing short of it. I hope to goodness the H.R. Managers who were on loan to help review the list checked to make sure people's skills match the job categories in which they have expressed interest. No more senseless matches please… Honestly, its just a waste of everyone's time! Come on Tara.. Shake this thing up!

  6. The Philosopher says:


    AAAHHH!  The National Workforce Development  Agency!  [N.W.D.A.]                 WHAT HAPPENED?  

    Here we go again. Just when things seemed to going pretty good, they come out with an outrageous statement by those who seem to repeat whatever they're told to say. And I quote: 

    These concerns were highlighted in Finance Committee: When senior civil servants said they could not release the contact details of jobless locals to employers due to issues of confidentiality. Such unadulterated rubbish! 

    Not only do they think that those of us on the outside are idiots but they had the boldness to think that those in the assembly would also buy into such an explanation, so ridiculous it's not even funny.

     As stated by others on this page, a "release info form" signed by the applicant would have solved that problem. But that's too easy. And those in charge want it no other way!

    Question! Has anybody but me noticed that many of those who get promotions within the Civil Service and within Government, are those "YES" men and women, who it seems, never question any directive that comes from a superior, even though, they "have to know" that in carrying out some of these directives it could mean depriving their fellow Camanian of an opportunity to earn their livelihood and the ability to provide for their family? Some of those who now hold these "cushy" jobs, never possessed it seems, the basics that would enable them to hold any job on the merits of their own abilities, and so, they now have to become the "YES" men to those above them! 

    It is such a shame that  rapacity, cupidity and greed has taken this Island to a point in it's history, where those, to whom we looked to for opportunities to help us provide for our families, are themselves so engrossed in the building of their own fortunes, that they now find it difficult to attend to the business of the people. 

    On the other hand, there are those who want to do what's right, but are either not in a position to make things happen, or because any suggestions they may make would" if implemented" interfere with protocol as directed by those at the top. So sad!.

    Unless there is a major change to the "modus operandi" of the  [N.W.D.A.]  I shall in future be referring to it as:

     "Need  Work?  Don't  Apply! 




  7. Foreign Devil says:

    The only people that the NWDA is going to get work for are the people who work at the NWDA.

    true unemployment, that is people who actually want to work, as opposed to people who want money, is almost ZERO

    our social services underclass is alive and well and growing.

    • Who the Cap Fits says:

      where is MArio Ebanksin all of this?  lets hear you Mario

  8. Anon says:

    This is probably the most ridiculous story I've heard in a long time. How does the NWDA plan to help people with any job if they cannot connect them to interested employers?  It would be interesting to hear from those who have registered with the agency, looking for jobs. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    They need a new head over at this dept.! Slackness describes them best!

  10. Anonymous says:

    What a croc of shit!

    In the civilized world all emplyees are in a data base, which gives the employers and companies the information thats needed. This information tells the history and back ground of the employees.

    What do  these employees have to hide about themselves and their performance. This is the first stumbling block and why the NWDA is going to end up to be  disfunctional…if  not so already. It will never be efficient.

    The NWDA is a waste of tax payers money. They should shut it down and let a private employment agency run things, otherwise it will never work.

    Now that the employees have a conduit to acquire jobs, lets see how many really are going to accomplish the feat and show that they really wanted a job.

    Good luck!

  11. The Help says:

    Are we seriously being made to advertise for domestic helper positions?? Surely our brilliant politicians can’t be that stupid. There are NO Caymanians who want to be maids or nannies and this POINTLESS requirement serves only to increase the profits of the local newspapers.

    • Anonymous says:


      I totally agree with you. It shows the ineptness and incompetence of the  people, in these authorities.

      What is wrong with our Government and CS??? why are we forcing people to advertize for these positions when the school children in Japan knows there are no Caymanians going to answer those ads.

      Wake up please! all you in these positions, suggest to the powers to stop the madness in this country. Is this another way of bringing grief to your people?? Mr. Franz, please use your brain.

      On another note, can the immigration department please give a count of how many of these ads, for renewals,  have been replaced with someone else.


      Now that we have ammended the immigration law, which gives immigrants 9 years to stay and work in the Cayman islands, can you baboons now remove the policy to advertize every year for an ongoing work permit holder.

      It is my belief that immigration and our Government is only doing this to blow smoke up the a@@…stop the madness!!!


  12. Anonymous says:

    And this is what employers have to contend with? 

    I am looking for the camera as I read this article because clearly I am being punked. Ashton? Ashton? Are you there?

    I couldn't invent a bigger farce if I tried. 

  13. Anonymous says:

    These concerns were hidden by the PPM so that it could pass the law for its friends.


  14. Anonymous says:

    The current agency is a nightmare to work with anyone in human resources will tell you this.  The website is horrible.  The least it could do is match Immigration website as far as job titles that you want to put in but it doesn't.  When you register as a user they are missing crucial employment categories such as hospitality, tourism, hotels, financial services the list goes on.

    Then you finally get your job posted and maybe if you are lucky someone will accept the job posting in about four week's time.  Meanwhile as an employer you are desperately trying to find employees and waiting several weeks for them to accept your posting is not helping your business nor the unemployed.

    Completely on another tangent I sincerely hope Mr. Miller in employing a labourer to do work at his house was going to make sure pension was paid and health insurance was paid as after all the rest of us employers are bound to do this and the current head of labour enforcement has publicly said that if you hire someone to just simply mow your lawn for the day you are in violation of labour, pension and health insurance laws if they don't have a license and you don't ask to see their proof of insurance, pension and license…..this person actually stood up and said this numerous times in public forums so Mr. Miller beware LOL. You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried and the sad part is the guy is right you would be violating the laws and they could fine or prosecute you!!! Crazy!

    CNS: You can post jobs vacant / jobs wanted here FreeCayAds.com. It's free and it appears instantly.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is NOT a requirement to pay pension, health insurance or any other benefits to a person who is not an " Employee" ie.a casual worker which is defined in the law as “a person who is employed for a period not exceeding 30 calendar days continuous employment". It is ridiculous to say that you would be considered the "employer" of someone who does odd jobs around your home occasionally. 

  15. Anonymous says:

    I generally enjoy reading CNS articles, and while I agree that the process at the NWDA seems a little bit backward, the tone of this article really shows a lack of understanding by CNS (and the public) of the monumental job the NWDA undertakes.

    For example, CNS states that job-seekers might find it nearly impossible to gain access to the advertised positions held by TLEP workers "because of what many say is the sheer inability and incompetence of the NWDA to do what it is supposed to do."

    If you look at the number of job-seekers the NWDA has placed, and those it attempts to place, compared to the annual budget they're allowed, it's actually very impressive. Compare them to some of the private firms that provide job placement and one would see they're doing a stellar job with the resources they have available. To be fair, the types of jobs and job-seekers that go through the NWDA and private sector recruitment firms are generally quite different, but nonetheless the NWDA should be applauded for their unrecognized efforts.

    While I do agree that policies should be put in place to allow a listing of job seekers for employers to browse, I don't think the NWDA derserves the reputation the public holds of it (fueled in part by inadequately researched journalism).

    • Anonymous says:

      with all due respect every employer who seeks to get a work permit must first advertise in what Immigration deems a legitimate print publication and at the NWDA.  As an employer if I can get a qualified Caymanian I want them for a myriad of reasons so I also advertise at every online resource as well but the whole point is that when we were sold this new venture breaking up the DER we as employers were told this would be our one stop shop! We were told of all the fancy assessment testing that would go on and how job seekers could enhance skills etc., many of us were invited to test out the software that was going to be used and in fact told we might be assessed for the cost of this system…..that was at least a couple of years ago flash forward the NWDA makes the former DER look like a stellar superstar agency!

      goodness knowshow much all of our citizens have paid for this incompetent dysfunctional mess but I fear it's only just begun.  Now if you can't find a qualified individual and you breakdown and attempt to get a work permit the infighting between immigration and NWDA is a real treat.

      government should be required to use it's own medicine all the jobs it has ex-pats in should be forced to be listed on NWDA then they might begin to understand what the private sector goes through.


      Hey CNS maybe you can find out is/does government have to use the NWDA services before bringing in an expat? Doubt it very much.

    • Anonymous says:

      People are complaining because you are on here posting and patting yourself on the back instead of trying to match out of work people with suitable jobs.

  16. Anonymous says:

    If businesses had direct access to people looking for jobs then there would be no need for the NWDA.


  17. Anonymous says:

    So why with all the unemployed people in North Side did Ezzard have to go to the NWDA to find someone to mow his lawn?  Also, how about all those Cayman companies that are dying for business?  Why did Ezzard not call them

    • Anonymous says:

      Because he was working withint he system and testing the system. If it had worked he could say to the guys "why aren't you registered with NWDA?". Since it didn't he can say "why doesn't NWDA work?" – See, two birds one stone. Plus he probably still got Bob from down the road to do the work, so thats three birds down for a stone-and-a-half (waiting a bit on NWDA).

  18. Anonymous says:

    You really could not make up this nonsense.  Brilliant stuff all round.  Well done guys.

    • Anonymous says:

      @ 12:28 – this is not fiction, this is real life happenings, nothing quoted from the "good book" (oh geesh i'm holding up my arms waiting for the offended christians to rain blows) its all real so you better believe it! no amount of prayer or praying meetings will sort this out.  

  19. Anonymous says:

    Common sense would dictate that persons who are seeking employment and give their contact information to an employment agency are at the very least (by implication) giving consent for their contact information to be released to potential employers. 

    However, having said that, what I would like to know….under what law, regulation, policy, rule is the NWDA refusing to give out employee's contact information?  Do we have a 'personal information privacy' law? 

    Or is this something that the NWDA put into place?  Which would be another fine example of why that department is completely disfunctional. 

    Seriously, the utter and total complete lack of common sense nowadays blows my mind. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course its something the NWDA put in place! they have more power than the law makers.

      These technos are in these job positions for life and they abuse authority, due to having  no fear of getting fired.

      They get a high whenever they can sit and tell you NO!

      Check out the planning department…you want to see authority abuse.

  20. Slowpoke says:

    Have they never hard of a "Consent to Release Information" form?

    They have a responsibility to let the individual make that decision.  The default postion can be "we protect your privacy".  But I am sure many would want at least some information released to potential employers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree. My first thought as well. Surely there should be a section fo the form that says "anything filled in here will be sent to employers – 1 job wanted, 2 cell number, etc.". Even if this is a 'human rights has rendered our old system illegal' problem it should have been resolved a year or more ago as a first action when the constitution got passed.

    • Anon says:

      Hilarious.  During the elections our numbers were released to the politicians by the phone companies without our consent, yet when people desperately need jobs they need to consent before their numbers can be provided to employers? 

    • Anonymous says:

      12.03-that would be too simple and spoil the high esteem in which we hold this organisation as being the worst clusterf*** on island…I have read fairy tales which make more sense than this.

    • Truth says:

      You are obviously way more qualified to do their job then they are.  But then again almost anyone is.  All this fuss and trouble just to screw with private business and people who have kept them running for the past 7 years. No government should be in charge of telling private business who to hire.  Especially one that can't run itself with any degree of competency.  Rhey even screwed this up.

      • Anonymous says:


        Until you grow a big pair of balls and get yourself a trade union….you will forever be in shit with the government, and these hypocrites.

        • Civil Serpent says:

          There is only ONE trade union in the land. It costs the taxpayers $600 million a year and it does as it pleases…………..

  21. Anonymous says:

    This should be interesting.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Seems the NWDA has never heard of a "Release of Information"?

    The persons seeking employment would only need to sign such document to release information to either specific employers, or to any potential employer!

    This agency (as currently operated) is surely then NOT "efficient"!

    • Accountable? says:

      The NWDA XXXXX stamps, stamps, and stamps work permit WAIVERS!

      Where are the numbers?  How many waivers have been issud?  How many locals placed in employment?  How many interviews a week are set up?   We WANT stats!!! No more lip service.  Tara & Winston, this should be your new office….get your butts down there and stay there until some real information comes out of the NWDA