NWDA should do permits

| 30/09/2014

(CNS): The immigration department should be concentrating on border control the employment minister and her councillor have stated. Although Tara Rivers admitted that transitioning the National Workforce Development Agency to deal with the recruitment process for permit applications would require a considerable amount of work and resources, she said it was something she would hope to achieve during her tenure. Speaking at a presentation Friday at the NWDA about the progress at the agency, Winston Connolly the councillor in the ministry said he believed that there should be a very clear role for immigration which was border control and not recruitment.

As a result of the massive demand for overseas workers in the Cayman Islands the Immigration department has, by default, immerged as the government’s recruitment agency making the final decision on every foreign worker who has been recruited for all jobs from gardeners to bankers, as well as dealing with enforcement issues.
Connolly said however, that he believed it was clear that immigration should be concerned only with the security questions surrounding imported workers.

“Immigration should be about border control and the NWDA should be the central body that deals with the employment, training and the work permit side of things in terms of people coming in and applying for jobs,” he said. Pointing to what he said was a lot of room for growth at the agency, he said, given the right financing and personnel it should deal with all of the recruitment side of things leaving immigration to police the borders. “It should be two clear roles,” he added.

The minister supported the comments of her councillor and C4C political colleaguebut said that while that was the goal it was up to her as minister to try and address the immediate needs of the unemployed now. Transitioning the NWDA as the clearing house for permits would require new legislation and a government restructure.

“That’s where we need to get to but we need to make sure we don’t just have that as the goal and don’t address the immediate needs now,” she said. But Rivers agreed that with the commitment and support from wider government and if legislation could be prioritized in the bottle neck of drafting it would be possible to reshape the way permits are handled.

She said she was tasked with working with the mechanisms and infrastructure that are currently in place and to make those work best for local people looking for work and for business trying to get the right people. The minster stated that there was recognition that government can’t work in silos and as a result a cross ministerial committee had been formed so everyone was working on the battle to address local unemployment.

With the goal of a one stop shop for recruitment and permit process still an ideal rather than a reality she said it was important in the meantime to create what she described as “better synergies” between the immigration department and the NWDA.

“Previously there was no nexus between NWDA and immigration so I am thrilled to be the minister responsible that has done that,” she conceded that there was still work to do but that communication link alone was a great improvement.

The minister said however that government had to examine where the regulation of employment law is best placed and to shift it all to the NWDA would have to be a decision made by all of government. In the interim she said that five new enforcement officers announced by the premier last year are currently being recruited but there was still no start date for these individuals. Acknowledging some of the problems and barriers faced by the unemployed she said companies can and should be doing a lot more to train their staff.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Change without chaos?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is this some kind of joke?  NWDA to issue Work Permits?  Really?  God help us if that happens!  That den of incompetence will do us all in, in two minutesl

  3. mccarron mclaughlin says:

    What a joke these people drinking that koolaid again. Is this same failed agency that use to be called DER Department of Employment Relation and now called the NWDA. The DER was shutdown after years of failure and now they should handle work permits. What a nice laugh.

    The NWDA can’t even give a clear picture of the unemployment situation in the country and these polictians want them take on work permits.

    What we need are men and women on the work permit board that have ice in their veins and dont have a vested interest the process. We have failed our people by not striking that crucial balance, we seem to be the only people in the world the refuses to say enough is enough.

  4. Anon says:

    Who in there rightful mind would agree for the NWDA to take over Work Permit issuing. What exactly do we know regarding Mr Holland's experience besides what being sold to us by our elected officials? Nothing! Now this an agency that just hired an expat for the post of Director of the NWDA. That simply tells me that this same Government who said they were about finding jobs for our unemployed, that a Caymanian wasn't good enough for this post. Why would we want this same this agency to have sole control of work permit granting?

    I swear, all our elected officials do is blow hot air and passing stupid comments while their at it. First it was selling our schools now it's giving NWDA sole control of work permits. 

    2017 Please hurry and get here!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well that’s one way to slow permit grants to a hault. Approximate wait time for a permit you ask, when the Mets win the pennant.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant sounds like some ministers are burning the late midnight oil. Lets back this idea 100% and get rid of the corruption and cronyism.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The worst idea I have heard since the hiring of an ex-pato run th group charged with hiring Caymanians. The GIG had lost all rspect from anybody with 1/2 a brain. Do these eople ever talk to th public?

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree why would you take it from the private sector and make it government.

      Afterall with what the private sector is getting away with in work permits they might as well run it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe they can't if they talk like you write.

    • Archie says:

      Engrish please.

    • Anonymous says:

      QUALIFIED to do the job….

  8. Anonymous says:

    Who's running this island, PPM or C4C?  Are you guys all being controlled by same political action committe used to run C4C's campaign?


    The way I see it, Winston had been selected years ago to run (for whom? The Freemasons Lodge) and whoever is behind financing the C4C is where we need to look for any of his suggestions. Winston and Tara are goign for what they and C4C campaigned for and at this point if we have any doubt they are representing a few, the small group of Cayman elite (or think they are) look at what they support?


    On the surface some of his suggestions seem sensible, then I remember where Tara and Winston are coming from and I become concerned.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Right or wrong the obligation for checking the work permit applications right now lies with immigration. If this changes is the future so be it, but for now do your job Winston and check the advertisments!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Another disaster in the making.  After many years of Cayman struggling with the Immigration Law and the grand mess its in today, now we are going to undertake a whole new venture to make a bad situation worse. How many people are employed in Immigration to deal with the vast numbers of workers in this jurisdition? suddenly youre going to change the law again, gut immigration and move over the problem to the NWDA which will be ill-equipped to deal with the magnitude of permits and the complexity of the law?!  well I guess the NWDA can lose paper work just as efficiently as Immigration.   And by the way what will you do with all of those immigration officers and personnel employed at Immigration to deal with and process work permits etc?

    • Anonymous says:

      This is not a bad idea to take it from Immigration because they have enough to do when they have to do border Control. But we have enough qualified Caymanians in the Immigration and Department of Labour who has worked long hours trying to get the mess cleared up and  they aren't qualified to do the job now come on all you ministers and concillors. This is why they can't get to the top of the ladder because our only put them down. We don't need to hire no new staff to do the job just transfer does people that were doing it a the Immigration along the the  NWDA staff just make sure that they are honest & reliable and stop having so many loop holes it the system that the private Employment Agencies can fill. Most of them are ex-immigration employee or have sat on the permit boards so they now all the loop holes. If you listen to their

      advertment you can here that for yourself because it is played every day. So fix it before bring someone from outside to make it worst to watch over Caymanians are we going crazy. 



  11. Anonymous says:

    NWDA is a bigger mess than Immigration I'm sorry she must be having a laugh!

    • Anonymous says:

      what comes out of these people mouths are amazing. Do they really believe what they say? Please let the elctions come at least I can do my part to silence them.

  12. Anonymous says:

    About time. I have been saying this for the past 12years. Immigration should be border control and that only.  Yes we may have to write legislation to cover it but that should not be too hard. Take the work permit section out of the immigration law and write it into a new employment law and move forward. Not too hard. Let's see if Minister Rivers and the rest of the government stooges and cohorts have the balls to get his done.

    • Anonymous says:

      The only way out is to separate Work permit isues from Immigration Department and create an "Independent Department" to deal and  solely focus on this subject.   Maybe the transfer of Immigration officers who work in these areas.  We do not need to loose sight of keeping our eyes on the influx of Work Permit Holders.  Separate the Laws on Immigration and set the Laws for Work Permits on its own, then there will be a smoother running Department.  It is impossible to monitor every work permit holder through the Immigration Department. There will still have to be  liasing wtih the Immigration, NWDA (Labour), Police Dept.,and an Enforcement Section to solve the problem areas, and court matters of Work Permits with companies/Individuals etc.

      I believe this is the way forward – and the matters will be more thoroughly addressed. .



  13. Anonymous says:

    The NWDA to do Work Permit processing??? Are you out of your mind??? They can't even process their own paperwork.  No work permit will be approved and businesses will surely shut down, for it will be a favoriteism thing….Tara butt out of things you know nothing about.  You wil be finished with your term in two years, you haven't done anything these past two years, lets be safe and keep it that way!

  14. Hear, Hear! says:

    Thank you Winston!

    This makes sense.  We need openessand enforcement.  No one wants a free lunch, just what is fair and under the LAW. 

    Please make the Work Permit Board and Business Staffing Board meetings PUBLIC.  I want these boards to look at my application on the day that they review the Expat application and look me in the EYE and tell me that my excellent experience, overseas top university degree, and impeccable work references allow them to hire an expat when I am MORE qualified!?!

    My large firm outsourced my white collar job 9 months ago I have seen my role advertised five times at other larger firms and five times I applied with better certifications and glowing refereces, but not even interviewed.(twice.)  The FOIs show that the job went to an expat?  WHERE is the fairness in THAT?  I went to the Business Staffing Board- no reply  I went tot the NWDA – no action.

    Make these secret back room crony Boards come to light and Public.

    I hope Mr Holland can stop the back room buddy corruption becasue the white collar jobs are not going to qualified locals.  Thank you Winston, keep up the pressure and clean up this problem.


  15. Anon says:

    Really, these two wanna re-invent the wheel where Immigration is concerned?! Now bare in mind, they can't take care of our unemployed Caymanians with job placements but wanna take over the whole work permit process. 

    I strongly believe they've lost their minds.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Great, lets make the government bigger…./sarcasm.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would the government get bigger- all of those working at Immigration (who are not to retirement age) should be transferred to the NWDA.  I think Mr. Holland's experience and training is just what is needed to streamline the department. I also think that the Govenment should recruiet a smart, youngish, degreed Caymanian to understudy Mr. Holland. Four years should be enough time to get this done. Find the person, if they need to go get a Masters in the correct decipline , then send her/him off to do it. Within 18 -24 months she/he should have the qualifications then the next two years the person should be working with Mr. Holland  then Mr. Holland and move on and there would be a well qualified (Caymanian) to be Director.  I really think this could work!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Before all of you go gong-ho about a mis-spelt work  I meant to type" recruit " you know how it is when you are typing over 60 words p.m.

        • Diogenes says:

          Yep – you end up misspelling mis-spelt (sic) (and gung ho!)

        • Anonymous says:

          Uh…perhaps you meant "gung-ho" and mis-pelt "word"?

          Sorrie. Butt I kud knot reesisst thee goldun opertunitty too git ah smyle.

          I am knot a speelin gisttappo bye enny meens.  Eye thinnk won kan git wans poynt akroz perfeckley welll withowt beeing abel too spel welll. Providid theyy hav valud pointes inn thee firsst plase. Grammer iz ae bitt mower delikate ae subjekt. Butt evun badd gremmer kan bee vindikated bye gud thinkking.  Aynt thatt rite?

          Acksually, yoo shuld knot hav too apalojize. Its juhst ae sillyy mist-ache inn spelinng. Eye gnu whaat u ment. Soe diid everry boddy elz.

          Too awl u peepel hear hoo git there nickerz awl knoted abowt a feu meezley speling mistakkes, litun upp sum, peeple!  Bee trankilo mon!  Eyed rathur cee baad spelinng asociatted withh sounnd thiinking, az oppposed too purfekt speling andd stewpid thots enny daye uhv thee weak. Thankss too spel chekker, fawr two menny peeple hear exhibbitt impeckable speliing butt ar reely moronss whoo wuld knot kno a logikal trane of thot if it blue it's hornn an rann overr thum.

          Jusst myy too scents.

      • Ruling class and working class says:

        Hear Hear and let's start with publishing the work permit hearing dates so any locals that apply can challenge the crony boards with their application?

        Why the secret boards and backroom deals?

        time to bust this work permit corruption wide open… and if there is no corruption at hand,  then the employers can smugly say they did their part. 

        The only way to fix this is to stop the secret approvals?  In the light of day if what is fair is fair, then what the worry my good HR managers?

      • Anonymous says:

        SO let me get this straight. They now want some one who is from overseas to be in charge of issuing permits! Makes sense. Lol

    • Ruling class and working class says:

      No, not make Govt bigger….but the current system has 20,000 work permits and 2,000 unemployedlocals.  Yes, a portion of those are not employable – say half?  That leaves a thousand Caymanians looking for work in their own back yard?

      Too many university grads and white collar experienced people being passed over by the current crony buddy work permit renewal system.

      Somethings gotta give and enforcement is the key.  Let's make the permits transparent and public.


      • anonymous says:

        Strange, as i see more and more expats leaving, no replacements rushing here and no jobless caymanians filling the roles. I currently have three times the amount of work as two have left and not been replaced for almost a year. Iwill not be looking for PR and willbe gone well before roll over so i am not sure if my post will get filled either.

        • Anonymous says:

          Another one gone from government today and there is no one qualified or able take over his role. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Ruling Class, and you think that the figure of 2000 unemployed is correct?  Shows your level of mentality is up their with the competence level of our Government.  Let me say this that there is about a further 3000 that are professionals who refuse to register their names over at the NWDA because the staff will mock them that they are unemployed and in my honest opinion the whole lot of them need to be swept out and replaced with the professionally trained unemployed Caymanians that can do their jobs blindfolded with efficiency, and professional competence which is what is lacking in the Government why they do no t hire those individuals.  The entire civil service needs and overhaul, because when it takes two years to get  response to  letter that proves how incompetent they really are.