(CMR) The Turks and Caicos government has approved a one-year moratorium on all first-time work permit applications for various categories effective 1st May.
The Ministry of Education, Labour and Employment advised the general public that Cabinet, at its meeting on the 14th April 2021, approved the one-year restriction. Areas to be affected include all areas of construction, real estate agents, property manager, legal professionals (lawyers/attorneys, legal executives, and paralegals), entry-level positions (secretary, receptionist, and data entry personnel), human resource managers, assistant human resource managers, tour boat captain, and mate.
The restrictions will also include all persons seeking to engage in the rental of water sports equipment and all categories of Water Sports. The moratorium also includes all positions covered in schedule 6, 7, and 8 in the Immigration Regulations, except for certain skilled positions. Those exempted include Airline & Helicopter Pilot, Helicopter & Airline Mechanic, Cigar Roller, Agricultural Assistant, Farmer, and Farm Labourer.
The Ministry also said work permits issued to boutique receptionists, villa managers, front desk agents, concierge agents, and restaurant servers would be with stipulations until further notice.
The moratorium also marks the beginning of a consultation period with stakeholders and will allow the Ministry to review the Skills Audit and Population Policy. Following the review and stakeholder meetings, the Ministry will make recommendations to either lift the moratorium or extend it at the end of the first sixty (60) days.
The Ministry will continue to review and monitor the moratorium in sixty (60) day intervals as per cabinet recommendations. Cabinet has agreed that during this period, exemption for the various categories can be approved by the responsible Minister, who in this case is the Minister of Education, Labour and Employment.
Cabinet has also agreed that the renewal work permits would only be considered for persons who have been fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“We hasten to add that all First Time Work Permit Applications received at the Employment Services Department before 1st May 2021 will be reviewed for a final decision by both the Board and the Commissioner of Labour. The Ministry wishes to inform the public that this measure, although temporary, is vital at this time, as it is necessary to take steps to ensure persons engaging in employment in the areas mentioned, are employed legally and not exploiting the current situation,” the Ministry said in a release.