Minister of VSA confirms that no moratorium has been put in place for the issuing of work permits.
We have observed that there are misleading figures and statements that were mentioned in the media and are being circulated publicly. We use this opportunity to set the record straight and publish the information that was provided by the labor affairs department.
The graph below shows that 1,307 work permits granted, while the labor force survey shows there are 6,636 unemployed registered on Sint Maarten.
Source: Labor Affairs Department
The following graph reflects the categories of permits, however the totals don’t match the numbers reflected in graph A.
Source: Labor Survey 2019
There is an apparent lack of correlation between the information provided at the Labor Affairs Department and that reported in the Labor Survey 2019. It must be further determined whether the work permit policy as applied thus far is based on facts or fiction. The information above certainly provides sufficient doubt in the trustworthiness of the information upon which we base our decisions to grant work permits.
While it is not factual that 1000 permits were denied, we must make an effort to determine whether the labour market indeed has a shortage of skilled workers such as plumbers, carpenters, cooks, electricians, maids, tilers and masons considering the fact that we have a reported 6,636 unemployed according to the 2019 Labour Survey.
Conclusion: based on the above data it is clear that further analysis of the labor market and the employment situation is required.
A temporary hold on work permits for selective categories of at least 2 months would be justified. Permits that have been submitted, based on existing criteria, will be processed and evaluated based on the criteria at the time of submission. Any new applications will be processed, after it is clear what the local labor market has to offer, thus after the 2 month moratorium.
Expertise that we know cannot be obtained on the local market, will be processed as usual providing the application are complete with all supporting documentation.
“It cannot be business as usual when we have so many of our people suffering more than 2 years after Hurricane Irma. The ministry of VSA will be conducting the checks and balances that is mandated for them to execute to ensure that all are in compliance with the laws of country St. Maarten”, concluded Minister Pamela Gordon-Carty