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Bahamas: ‘Enough – Too Many Foreign Workers’: Minnis Warns Labour Permits Must Decrease-Immigrants not welcome?

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday more must be done to decrease the “thousands” of work permits approved annually in the country.

Dr Minnis did not reveal the exact number, but just last month, Immigration Minister Brent Symonette told reporters he approved 500 work permits over three days for Haitian nationals.

Labour Director John Pinder also said in July over 5,000 people apply for permits every year.

Noting the volume of approvals, Dr Minnis said there is nothing wrong with other nationalities seeking employment in the Bahamas but it should be done legally.

Those who break the law, he said will be prosecuted and/or have their migrant status revoked.

“The amount of work permits that we issue today must decrease,” Dr Minnis said during remarks he made at the opening a national skills symposium at the National Training Agency on Gladstone Road.

“Statistics from the Department of Immigration confirmed that thousands of work permits are approved on an annual basis for foreign workers.

“Many of these applications are approved primarily because employers claim and provide justification that in many instances Bahamians lack the requisite skills and or certifications to fill various vacancies.”

When he was asked to explain his position on the granting of work permits, Dr Minnis said: “An individual comes to your country because they are seeking opportunities, they’re seeking job opportunities. There’s nothing wrong with that but do it legally.

“We need employees and yes we will accept them legally but if you allow illegals to continue to be employed under the radar and establish an underground economy then that has great effects on your society and they would continue to come here once there are opportunities.

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