Immigration to cross-reference work agency site

| 13/03/2014

(CNS):The labour department has finally devised an online job registration system that will allow the immigration department to cross-reference employers' efforts to find a Caymanian worker before they grant a work permit. The National Workforce Development Agency job site will show what efforts employers have made to consider local applicants for all their jobs before they get a new permit or a renewal. In the face of continuing high unemployment among Caymanians, Labour Minister Tara Rivers is hoping that the site will get more local people into work and force employers to pay more than just lip-service to the system before they takeon foreign workers.

The immigration department will be able to check how many locals applied via the NWDA and what happened to those applicants before they give out any work permits. In theory, if they can see that suitably qualified local applicants were overlooked, officials should refuse employers permission to take on overseas workers.

Given the massive gaps in the labour system to date and the criticisms of the NWDA not being fit for purpose, the new system is being claimed as a major step in the right direction in tackling Caymanian unemployment.

The labour minister said the development and implementation of this online system was one of her campaign platforms when she ran for office in the May General election last year. Tara Rivers described the system as a way to improve the job seeking process and help more Caymanians access employment. 

“The development and launching of this online database and interface is a campaign promised fulfilled,” Rivers claimed. “The NWDA Immigration online job interface should help simplify and streamline the process of employers seeking employees and job-seekers finding suitable employment.  What we have done is to develop an online system that ensures that the work permit process is transparent and holds employers accountable under the law while streamlining the process so that it is easy for employers to furnish the Immigration Department and its boards with the information required, should they need to apply for work permits.”

The system is designed to show what efforts were made by employers to find a Caymanian before they get a permit and to allow job seekers a chance to apply before a foreign national is taken on. The deputy chief officer in the ministry with responsibility for the NWDA explained how the new online interface will function.

“An employer will register a job with the NWDA, who will then vet the job description to ensure it is reasonable,” said Tasha Ebanks Garcia.  “The system will then identify job-seeking clients who broadly meet the requirements of the post and the employment services officer (ESO) at NWDA will review the matches and, with permission from the job seeker, refer candidates that are reasonable for the post."

She said that job seekers can also view the job posts and apply using the online system.  Once a job is posted with the NWDA, it runs for a period of just fourteen days, during which time all referrals must be made.

“The employer who registered the job will receive notification of matches and will be responsible for reviewing all candidates and determine their suitability,” Ebanks said.  “The online system then provides the employer with a section where they can record the outcome of each referral. 

“If the employer chooses to apply for a work permit, the immigration department and its boards will now be able to pull up the referral record and view the list of persons that were referred by the NWDA or self-referred, the rationale for the referral and the reasons the company gave to explain why no suitable applicant was found.”

The goal, the ministry official said, was to make sure the work permit board was aware of every local person that applied or wanted to apply for the post which they are considering for a permit and why none of those applicants were suitable. 

“The board can therefore make an informed decision regarding the work permit application and whether to approve it or not,” Ebanks added.

She also stated that the system aligns directly with the requirements of the immigration law. All Caymanians, those married to Caymanians, people with permanent residency or the right to work and legal and ordinary residents will all have access to apply for jobs on the site.

Rivers encouraged employers to register all their jobs through the NWDA and to support this process as the government is keen to create a system to help them employ qualified Caymanians before applying for new permits or renewals.

“The launch of this online interface is one of many key changes we are implementing to support employers and job seekers at the NWDA,” the minister stated, adding that since she took office the ministry has hired the extra staff necessary  to assist job seekers and to provide and coordinate training opportunities for clients. She also pointed to the outreach programme in all the districts starting this month and thanked all those involved who had been working tirelessly to create the new system, as well as Darice Pinedo at Computer Services, who built the online interface.

Linda Evans, the chief immigration officer, said the site would make a significant and positive change in the way immigration and the NWDA work with each other. “It will increase the transparency of the work permit process,” she said. “I encourage all employers and job seekers to take advantage of this system.”

The system went live on 25 February and is now available for employers and job seekers through the NWDA website.

For more information please contact the NWDA at 945-3114 or email

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is not a fair concept as I can see several loop holes with this approach.   NWDA ?? Are you listening?  Did  you take into consideration all the small businesses that do not have an email address? and who just cannot afford to have data services.

  2. anonymous says:

    Cross reference all you want, but it going to make immigration or the unemployed anymore productive.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The NWDA is trying. They also offer training workshops and I am happy say right here that I attended one that was the very best professional development workshop I ever attended. This was top level training and the professionalism and depth of knowledge displayed by the presenter was phenomenal. She also made sure everyone was involved and kept it very interractive so everyone was relaxed and willing to participate. It helped me a lot and taught me a great deal that I did not know about presenting myself in a professional way.

  4. Anon says:

    This only solves one side of the equation – the labor market demand.  It needs to be taken further to include the market supply.  Each unemployed must list their resume online or be declined unemployment pay.  We have to make the unemployed accountable for proving that they are able, willing and continuously seeking employment.  

    To reduce unemployment effectively, the employer, the unemployed and nwda must be kept accountable. 

  5. Gotta ask? says:

    Has Tara tried the system herself?

    There is no best practice application here.  With dozens of softwares avaiable (and offered to be implimented by 2 of our top recruitment firms in Cayman) The proof will be in the pudding, so watch this space.

    Why was a half-a$$ed thrown together system rolled out?

    This stinks of political soap-box blabbering while a real decent idea of steamlining the process goes to waste. 


    • Anonymous says:

      This is the kind of substandard system that government IT produces.  The local recruitment companies have much better systems.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What a waste of time!!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    so..yet another way to match people with no skills to jobs that require skills. This is not the solution to the unemployment issue. Training, education, effort on the part of the person who is unemployed to develop themselves rather than expecting the employer to develop them. These are ways to tackle the unemployment issues. 


    Also, the NWDA will "vet the job description to ensure it is reasonable"?! So now employers are going to be told that needing/wanting an employee with years of experience and training is unreasonable? Well nothing like having the government actively working to suppress business by forcing business to not hire the best and the brightest because that would be unreasonable. Instead business is going to be told to hire the person with the bare minimum qualification. How can businesses compete on an international stage when they are not allowed to hire who they deem appropriate to perform the duties? 

    And for those that think that I'm talking out of my backside on this, I have actually been involved in a meeting with the NWDA where I was told to do just that. I was literally asked why we have certain certification requirements for our staff. The answer was that actually our requirements are well below the international standards for the job. This didn't seem to be a good enough answer and we were told that our requirements were unreasonable. 


  8. Anonymous says:

    You are joking, right? the blind leading the blind, with a chasm of commercial avarice punctuated only by a wall of corruption come to mind. Unless you are actually willing to prosecute some big-wigs that you know lie to you, you will be viewed as the inept clowns that experience and history so far shown you to be.

    • Anonymous says:

      What about those temping agencies? That is just another way of employing foreigners at low pay!    This is another way of displacing Caymanians too.  The relationships between owners of these agencies and people at immigration should be given a serious investigation.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am glad to see this and I hope Immigration uses it often.  I applied for a position with an agency through the NWDA and never heard a thing until I got a call from Immigration asking if I had applied with company X and I said I didn't think so but was not sure.  They then noticed the job was actually with the agency and I said yes. When the NWDA checked with the agency, they said the job was actually cancelled by the client.  Unfortunately, that is where this story ends.  No idea what really happened but the issue was never pursued. As long as the system is used, it will hopefully keep people honest.

  10. Just Sayin' says:

    The myth of Caymanian unemployment continues….

  11. Anonymous says:

    Until suitable and qualified persons are recruited to run this place, nothing will change. As a business owner I have attempted on 4 occasions to use the service of this office and it is pathetic. I registered for an accounts clerk and was sent  persons who might have been able to do cashier duties. Neither of the referrals could tell me the difference between a debit and a credit and none knew what a PNL statement was. So their efforts in referrals was a total waste of their time and mine. As for using their services again, I might have to but for sure I will NOT be impressed to have to do so.

    • Gotta ask? says:

      You hit the nail on the head.  This could actually be OUTSOURCED and well monitored giving a much needed service and useful reports to the public, but using the same middle-management career employees with their own political agendas is a disaster. 

  12. Chris Burke says:

    I am both caymanian and business owner. As a business owner it is well within our intrest to employ caymanians and if at all possible we would rather employ caymanian labour but we have to understand that caymanians need to get educated and in some cases a better work ethic to become reliable and constructive in there chosen profession. 

  13. Anonymous says:

    Most of us employers who have a business staffing plan have been required to use this system for at least the past year.  In fact I've lost track of how many Caymanians I have had to tell about the system becausetuedepartment has failed to let thecommunotyknow about it.

    The problem is it is a horrible system!  The business categories do not make any sense, job titles that are on Immigration's site are not remotely represented here, nor can you add the correct one nor uour imdustry of it does not matchwhat is there.

    If your job descriptions don't match their format you spend a lot of time typing. You do anyway as there is no way to upload your job description.

    There is no method for the employer to put in interview notes you have to pray you can get hold of the officer assigned to your company to advise them how the interview went.  There is no method to advise when you have hired one of the applicants that have come through except that placement officer again and it doesn't show in the system.  You can't save what you have typed and come back to it later.

    There is no way for an employer to scan for candidates themselves to see who is registered.

    And once again if you put bare minimums in because you need those minimums for a particular role they are ignored completely and you are still matched with candidates who are not qualified and more importantly who do not want to be trained and of course you still have to advertise.

    employers want to hire Caymanians, I know I'm a Caymanian who does just that but this system is just plain and simply a horrible piece of software.  I doubt very much if any human resources professionals were contacted before it was built to make it remotely user friendly.

    • cracker jack box and one junior IT says:

      The reason this is a failing software is that it was pushed out to "fullfill a campaign promise" and is not fit for purpose.

      An entire team of IT developers may have been able to make this softwqare work, but the article gives us the name of ONE person?  That is the most ridiculous attempt to band-aid a service.  Every single reasonable person who uses this application process will agree.  It has NOT been well thought out, NO testing has been done, and it has too many BUGS.  We feel your pain, because the idea is a good one, but in practice it has failed.

      Sorry, but this required a professional IT team and what we got was one new lasy politican asking us to accept and use a failing application / jobs software.

      This gets a F for effort….. Try again Tara.


    • Anonymous says:

      Is this the best government computer systems department can deliver?  A group of high schoolers could have delivered a better system.

  14. Hear hear says:

    Okay, let's all log on and see this for ourselves?! I tried to sign up a friend last month and it was a disaster. 

    Feb 25th and all the bugs are out? I doubt it, but please do keep trying.  Employers should all give it ago.


  15. Anonymous says:

    To 10:01 you are not too sensible yourself as the article says that the prospective employers and the prospective employees will be entering the information not the NWDA so please do not be rude and criticise staff who work hard at the NWDA. So now the onus is on the employers to enter ALL jobs into the system and prospective employees have a responsibility to register for employment and to also apply for jobs. What will be interesting to see is if Immigration and their Boards do their jobs and ensure that no work permits are approved where there are qualified Caymanians to fill the positions.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Now all you gotta do is make sure the staff can actuallyuse it. If you get that part right it will be a first. 

  17. Anonymous says:

    An application resulting from a work permit renewal advertisement is not a potential hire, it is a problem.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Ok so if an employer advertises a job through the NWDA are they also still required to spend money to advertise it through the compass, employment weekly etc?

    • Anonymous says:

       seriously? do you really trust lawmakers who donot pass regulation on these agencies?


  19. Anonymous says:

    About time!  Hopefully the Minister will ensure that the NWDA is adequately staffed with sensible people who can keep the database up to date!

    • Anonymous says:

      Why, there's a couple of jobs right there!

    • Anonymous says:

      I have been registered with the NWDA since this time last year and they are getting sorted and getting better by the day.  It has been a long road for them  and a struggle to help everyone.  I finally got a job with the help of the staff there and I am an educated professional accountant.