Addressing the topical issue during a press conference held on Friday, March 25, 2022, he said a task force is currently resolving the issue.
“Thus far, the team has been able to print all of the 203 outstanding New and Change of Employer Work Permit Applications that were in the System after the defunct date of February 14. Out of that total, approximately 103 have been processed.”
He continued: “Additionally, from the estimated 1,541 Renewal applications that were in the system in mid-February, approximately 500 have been printed and 305 have been processed.”
The minister also pointed out that the figure was a “snapshot in time” and is ever-changing.
The members of the Online Work Permit Processing Taskforce made up of mostly retired Civil Servants are Janice I. F. Rymer, Dawn O’Neal George, Marieta C. Headley, Myrna Samuels, Reginald Hodge, Ernest Potter, Devon Penn and Keida Williams.
The Minister informed that this task force, which will be in place for one month, was necessary to clear the work permit applications from the system and bring the work permit processing time back in line with the Department’s service standards by the week of April 18, 2022.
“The Government is very focused on the human consequences of people losing their ability to work and that is why we are focused on getting the situation rectified in a short time span. Through our stakeholders’ meeting and other formal and informal meetings, the Government has listened to the cries of the employers, the employees, particularly work permit holders, along with the staff at the Department of Labour and Workforce Development. This means that your Government has heard directly from the individuals most affected as a result of the backlog of work permits in the now-defunct Online Work Permit System.”
Hon Wheatley stated that since July 2021, the Department’s ability to process timely work permit applications was dramatically affected by various reasons.