NWDA can’t enforce job ads

| 29/09/2014

(CNS): Policing the content of recruitment advertisements that seem tailored for permit holders (sometihng that has been causing the community concern) is down to the immigration department and not the government’s National Workforce Development Agency, officials have confirmed. They also revealed that the immigration law does not require employers seeking work permits to list those positions with the agency. Despite the pressures on government over local unemployment while more than 20,250 overseas workers currently reside in Cayman on permits, the agency tasked with assisting the jobless is limited in what it can do regarding work permit regime infringements.

However, the employment minister and the ministry’s deputy chief officer both pointed out that communication between the immigration boards and the agency has vastly improve in the last few months as a result of the on-line connection to the NWDA job database.

Dr Tasha Ebanks-Garcia revealed Friday that only 800 job seekers from an estimated 1900 or so unemployed people are registered with the agency but their details are now available for immigration officials to see and the immigration boards now know when Caymanians have applied for positions. As a result more permits are being deferred while employers justify why they are declining local applicants. With the assistance of technology people can also browse the NWDA agency site without formally registering and apply for the positions directly and the boards can see where that has occurred on-line.

During a presentation and tour of the agency, which has undergone a significant transformation from the old job unit at the department of labour, for the press Friday, staff from the NWDA explained that they want more people to register to give them a better picture of the jobless situation and to help those seeking work find it.

Employment Minister Tara Rivers said the agency had made great strides in recent months and while there is still more to be done the team has grown and the interface between the NWDA and the immigration boards is starting to make a difference.

Rivers pointed out that it was a campaign promise of hers and most other candidates to address the problems regarding the NWDA and to see the department function as intended, which is to train and develop the local workforce to match the needs of the labour market.
As well as matching job-seekers to vacancies, the agency is focusing heavily on training to remove the barriers unemployed people face in their job search, from a lack of relevant skills to what Ebanks-Garcia described as 'soft skills', such as people’s attitudes towards work and meeting employers' expectations.

Having previously noted her concerns about the kind of advertisements for jobs which relate to existing permits, the minister explained that although the NWDA can’t enforce the immigration law in that respect, the improvements that have taken place at the agency in recent months give the boards more relevant information to help them make better decisions about permits. She said the five additional enforcement officers which were budgeted for by the home affairs ministry are currently being recruited and they will be responsible for enforcing the rules relating to the efforts employers make to find local workers.

Under the immigration law, employers are required to make the “best efforts” to recruit locally before turning to permits, and while the agency can’t force an employer to list work-permit jobs with it, with the kind of information now directly available to the boards at the click of a mouse, employers are under more pressure to comply and justify their recruitment practices.

“Where employers don’t do more … the boards are now more inclined to ask questions,” the minister stated.

Rivers noted that in the end it should be the NWDA that deals with all of the issues relating to recruitment and not immigration and this was a goal she hoped to accomplish during her tenure as minister, but until that major transformation could take place she had to tackle the situation within the current legislative framework.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Politics

About the Author ()

Comments (31)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. True horror story... says:

    I am a Caymanian with college degree and I signed up with one of the well known recruiting agencies on the island (they are always listing jobs in the Cayman Compass). Prior to relocating back to Cayman, I worked for a very prestigious international law firm abroad, but after a few years I decided to come home as I missed my family and friends here in Cayman.

    I can honestly say that I am constantly contacted by this well known recruiting agency for entry- level concierge/front desk positions at hotels for VERY LOW pay! I have rent to pay and student loans and if I took the entry-level positions they push on me I would be homeless and in greater debt.

    Rarely, do they contact me for the positions they list in the Compass (which I am qualified for). Instead they ask if I would be interested in working at hotels. It is insulting because I am acutely aware of the "better" jobs they post which are reserved for ex-pats who require work permits. They have even lied to me about the salary of certain jobs they previously listed in the Compass, hoping I would take less PAY and warned me not to discussthe pay with the employer as it was "not my place to negotiate the salary of the position because they set up the interview not me.".

    This same recruiting agency gave me a stern warning when they found out I sent my resume directly to potential employers rather than waiting on them to do it (thus preventing them from getting a cut out of the deal). Discrimination is ALIVE and well here, Caymanians (both college grads and non-college grads) are the ones being mistreated or unfairly paid (and if you question the ethics of the recruiters you will be black listed).


  2. Anonymous says:

    To: My Fellow Caymanians

    From: Disappointed Voter and Citizen

    Subject: Campaign Promises and Election Cycle

    Dear All,

    Please let Ms.Rivers know that the Campaign is over!

    Election is not a few years yet. Stop campaigning for the next election and get to work delivering your past promises before you start campaigning for the next election cycle.

    We heard the promises.You are now a Member of the Government. If you can't fix it who can?

    Fix the Law that is stopping you from delivering on your Campaign Promises and stop asking the voters who you PROMISED and GAVE your word to, that if elected, you would fix these problems. Now you saying you can't. Then admit defeat, give up and give someone else a chance. But stop whining please!

    You can't ask me for me vote, with promises to deliver and then once elected, and a Member of Government you  now blive you can say  "opps" – it's outside my control, I can't fix it!

    Thats called politrickers or white collar crime. Enough of the whining. Get to work!

    Then do the honourable thing and apologize toour supporter, resign and give someone an opportunity to fix it.

    You know what we say in West Bay …get off the pot or …….

  3. Anonymous says:

    Let’s have a moment of truth for a change and not allow both nationalism and zenophobia to affect our perceptions. There are reasons why employers’ preference many times is ex patriate and the need to enforce legislation. Frankly put, our government has failed by not providing educational and vocational opportunities for our people. That coupled with the need to generate revenue through permit fees. No company wants to be burdened with the hard costs of permits. If there were ample amounts of qualified Caymanians this would not be an issue. Furthermore we can’t dismiss the intangibles such as work ethics and customer service techniques that many of us lack. Lastly we are extremely misquided to expect government to fix a problem from which it benefits.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What exactly CAN the NWDA do?

    • Hear, Hear! says:

      Right now the NWDA asks us to register, but never calls you (or emails) when a suitable job is posted.  They expect you to look daily.  They write a dozen work permit "waivers" to the Business Staffing Board weekly!!

      Right now they are in the back pocket of big business and not helping locals find jobs or working to enforce local applications.

      Good luck Mr Holland.  Please lift up the covers and look for yourself.  Do not fall into the trap and trust your current staff, they are as bad as the Boards.


      • Anonymous says:

        There is the lazy mind. You want NWDA to do the work for you. They ask you to register but its too much for you to look everyday to see posting. They must do it for you?

        "They expect you to look daily." ( no but you expect them to do it for you.)

        The fact remains. There is no real employable caymanains that are un-employed.

        • Hear, Hear! says:

          Sorry, we DO look every day at the NWDA postings….My point is that they hear of jobs that are suitable and have zero matching procedures.  Instead are too busy granting "waivers" that no suitable Caymanians exist?

          Not lazy at all.  Looking all the time, very employable and just want the interview thank you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Lets be honest for the most part there are not many new workpermits being issued unless your company is well hooked up with those in power  or have a friend on the board.

    That said I notice some fast food restaurants have no problem getting overseas workers approved, shouldnt every restaurant job be filled by locals only ? Or is it the well connected fast food restaurant owner makes lots more $ when he hires people from overseas   

    Over half of all americans that have suceeded in life have worked at Mc Donalds at one time in there early careers.  Thus those fast food jobs should only be for caymanians only if you really cared and anted to teach your people

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians do not want to work in the hospitality, food or fast food industry. They think it is demeaning and they  won't work for the wages being paid. People who invest in this type of business enterprise cannot be held to ransom because of Caymanians who refuse to upskill themselves and are unreliable. Life goes on and businesses need staff to work and show up to work on a consistent basis not when they feel like because they are Caymanian.

      • Anonymous says:

        same old broad generalisation, perpetuated by fast food restaurant owners, reaping on profits made from hiring low-wage workers, leaving thier own countryman in the dirt, talking about "they don't want to work in fast-food."

        Not once have I seen an employment drive for Caymanians from any of the fast-food establishments. not once.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Go visit and ask for help. See how far you get. I promise that you will feel worse when you leave. And people ask why the department isn't being used?

  7. Anonymous says:

    and they just filled one of their own positions with a foreigner…. if dah nah "IN YA FACE", I don't know what is!

    what a joke!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Then close the damn thing down..What is it good for???

    Tara you are absolutely useless…You should have sat on the back bench and let someone that knew at least alittle about this crap work on it..



  9. Whodatis says:

    There are an estimated 1900 unemployed people in Cayman today.

    For such a small place and against the backdrop of so much imported labour – this is absolutely ridiculous. Especially when we consider the national employment situation back when this 80's baby was growing up.

    Cayman has failed its people and "made" the people of elsewhere.

    How nice.

    • Anonymous says:

      Estimated, or alleged?

    • Anonymous says:

      The fact is that those 1900 who are unemployed are unqualified for the jobs that they want and they refuse to apply for the jobs that they could get.  "The people of elsewhere" are not so picky.

  10. Hear, Hear! says:

    Great Tara, now please scream this message loud & clear to CEC and Recruiters that ignore all qualified locals.

    They do not do a decent job of recruiting locals for executive positions.  Baraud stepped up with blue collar placements with their "ReStart" program last year, but where is the follow up and when can qualified hard-working upstanding locals finally break through the glass ceiling? 

    We do not all want to be receptionists and clerical admin.  If qualified and proven, we want the jobs we went to university for, work permit renewal or not.

    ALL recruiter and CEC posts should be registered with the NWDA.  Put some pressure on these expat firms please. 

    • Anonymous says:

      CEC does not have to hire locals.  That was the point of the place to bring in new money, new people, therefore more spending eg rent, restaurants, schools etc

      • But CEC is ALSO Head of Work Permit Board? HUH?!? says:

        I gotta get my head around this?

        CEC can bring in a complete IT department for our largest Law firm for their IT jobs, but does not have to employ any locals for the same IT Department that services 800 people IN the Cayman Islands?  Huh?  This is a local business with a few overses offices, not a CEC company?

        So what hope do the UCCI students have for an IT job with this local law firm?  (Their entire staff has a UK or Irish accent?)   I thought these were some of the CAREERS we WANTED out children to pursue?  Hey kids, study hard but no way you will get into a CEC back door job.

        And in what crazy universe is it not a conflict of interest for the Head of CEC to also sit on the Work Permit Board as the Head???  Charlie- you cannot serve two masters!!

        Don't Stop the Carnival?


  11. Anonymous says:

    Just another day in Absurdistan. The right hand doesn't know what the left is doing

    • Anonymous says:

      The rudest most useless department in government ever.  There are some that have been there too, too long. They have lost their drive and compassion. Sweep them out of there. Dinosaurs. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately your comments here are unfounded as the staff at the NWDA are not long standing employees they are relatively new as this department is new. I am sure you are confusing them with the Labour and Pension Department who are useless and has useless leadership. The long and short is both these departments fall under Minister Rivers ministry which also encompasses the education department and we all know how useless leadership for that has been.

  12. Anonymous says:

    So there's 800 unemployed peopl elooking for jobs.. Does this include all the qualified Caymanian Doctors, Lawyers and scientists ?

  13. Anonymous says:

    NWDA can't do Jack. Employable Caymanians are employed. The others don't want to be.


    • Anonymous says:

      Wow I guess ignorance is bliss! You really think Caymanians choose to beg and steal to feed their kids deliberately ? You really think we enjoy watching our children suffer ?

      • Anonymous says:

        I am sure there are plenty of Caymanians that choose not to work just like every other race. Caymanains are no different…

      • Anonymous says:

        Call it what you will.  Ignorance, bliss, lazyness, lack of training and edumacation, or just plan don't know how to work hard with skill.  Its no one elses fault but their own for listening to their parents tell them they don't have to work for a living like everyone else.  No one likes to see someone else suffer poverty but the solution is in your own hands and not in the hands of those who are socially responsible.  Quit whinning and get yourself into one of the many job programs to work for the tourist dollar.  Can't get yourself to be happy with that?  Then stay home and suffer.

        • Anonymous says:

          No Caymanian parent would tell their children not to work.  " 

    • Can't do Jack? says:

      Sorry Can't do Jack, You are racist and wrong- There ARE a lot of unemployed white collar Caymanians looking for work, but cannot get past the glass front door.

      I've got impeccable reference letters, an overseas degree, a great work ethic, give backpublically to community work, and still watch as every time my professional position opens up (IT) a work permit is renewed.  I want to work and am just as qualified, but these roles are all held by expats.  Same for qualified accountants and don't get me started about breaking into a law firm, project management, or technical training roles.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bullcrap!! So where do you fit in this. Are you an anti-caymanian or a pro-expat?