Several local overseas-employment agencies have closed their doors in the last two years because of their inability to place workers in temporary jobs in the United States and the growth in the number of of unlicensed agents who are giving the industry a bad name.
Operator of OS Consulting Orville Scott said the American H-2B temporary employment programme, which has, for years, provided jobs for thousands of Jamaicans, has lost its appeal.
According to Scott, while unlicensed operators have been left to flourish, those who operate licensed employment agencies are struggling to make ends meet on a daily basis.
“I haven’t been to my office since the start of this year. I haven’t sent away anybody, and all my colleagues will tell you a similar story that apart from those who do like J1 visa applications, the H-2B, for the last two years, has been hit,” Scott told The Gleaner.
The H-2B visa programme allows US employees to employ foreign nationals to fill temporary low-skilled and non-agricultural jobs. Most of these workers are recruited to work in hotels, forestry, recreation, and landscaping.
The J1 visa offers students cultural and educational exchange opportunities, plus summer employment and on-the-job training in the US.
But Scott said there has been a drastic reduction in the number of Jamaicans who have been able to get H-2B visas in recent years because the US government has implemented a cap on the number of workers admitted under the programme.