This is said is ‘hard to believe’ given so many persons are out of jobs, and companies have indicated a willingness to hire more locals.
Speaking on JTV’s the Big Story with host Cathy O. Richards, Hon Wheatley on Monday, September 13, 2021, indicated that contrary to the perception that locals are not applying for jobs, persons are indeed flooding job vacancies.
“I know of one job they advertised 8 positions about 2 weeks ago, they had 50 applicants for 8 positions, so personas are applying for the jobs,” he said.
The Minister said; however, it is the hardest task to get persons to interview individuals from the local job pool.
“I would call company A and say look, I see you’re trying to find a cleaner, I have a pool of 5 cleaners here, at least interview them,” he said.
“They’ll all come back and say 'well I interview all five of them, none are suitable', which I find hard to believe,” he said.
Hon Wheatley said his ambition is to localise the workforce as much as possible, given it is more sustainable and efficient, compared to having to import persons for work.
For companies, he said to pay for the travel, process work permits and to find accommodations for expats, the cost is great compared to just hiring a local.
“The companies themselves they say they prefer to hire locals,” he said.
According to the Minister, the hiring of locals for local jobs is just not happening at a rate that he is comfortable with, given many persons are still out of jobs.
The Minister’s revelation comes following a newly enacted work permit exemption policy that makes it difficult for expats to exploit the local work permit exemptions and treat it like belongership status.