WORC Deputy Director, Mr. Jeremy Scott, at the press conference today, Friday, 19 June 2020, focused on the JobsCayman portal to inform about job seeker registrations and underscored that it is the primary hub for job advertisements in the Cayman Islands now.
His remarks are provided below.
Good afternoon everyone. Today, I will be providing information on the new JobsCayman portal and the recent changes made in law relative to work permit applications in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Joining me today are Kyle McLean (Deputy Director of Business Operations) and Dianne Conolly (National Training & Development Manager) who can assist with answering questions if needed.
Last year, WORC launched the JobsCayman portal. Since then, a total of 1,355 job seekers have registered up as of 1 June 2020, with an average of 271 registering each month. Out of this total, 83% are Caymanians, with the remainder consisting of individuals who are married to Caymanians and permanent residents who have the right to work. Of these registered jobseekers, 68% identified themselves as being unemployed.
To date, a total of 1,097 employers have also registered on the portal and successfully advertised 1,697 jobs, or an average of 339 jobs per month.
Legislation to ensure Caymanians are considered first for positions has been in place for some time but recent changes have enhanced this further.
From 1 May, employers are now required to advertise applications on JobsCayman for 14 consecutive days before they are able to apply for a work permit. This replaces the previous requirement to advertise positions in a newspaper.
With this change, JobsCayman has been established as the primary hub where most, if not all jobs, will be available to see and be applied for onlineJobsCayman bolsters our support for Caymanians and enables them to directly refer or have assistance from WORCís Employment Service Officers. Once they apply or are referred, registered Caymanian jobseekers are assured that their applications will be seen and reviewed by the relevant authority should the employer decide to apply for a work permit.
If an employer chooses to advertise the position in a newspaper, either locally or overseas, the content of the ad must be identical to what was approved for registering the job on JobsCayman and must be published at the same time as the advertisement in JobsCayman. Employers are required to submit copies of all adverts published if they decide to subsequently apply for a work permit. The relevant Boards or Director will not approve a work permit application if it is found that the remuneration package stated in the application exceeds what was stated in the JobsCayman advert.
Employers found to have provided details that are incomplete, false or misleading will have committed an offence and be liable for a fine of CI$5,000.
In the case of temporary work permits, there exists a level of protection to consider the availability of registered Caymanians as first preference. When reviewing a temporary work permit, employers will be directed to contact Employment Service Officers in cases where viable Caymanian candidates exist. Employers will also be required to report detailed efforts of their contact and recruitment exercise within a specified period. Failure by an employer to follow these directions and return an update will result in refusals.
Turning now to the additional measures we have put in place following the unprecedented closure of WORC offices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand and appreciate that this has caused some challenges for our customer but want to be clear about the support and flexibility we have put in place to ease this.
Within the first month of Government closures, WORC rolled out remote operations to the public. This began with facilities and services to support a group of application types and registrations to JobsCayman. All application types are now fully available via electronic submission and electronic funds transfer.
Our website WORC.KY provides guidance to accessing electronic services and our Customer Care Team are willing to answer questions via our call Centre number 945-9672 or via email email@example.com.
While Boards were closed, staff from our Customer Care Team, Work Permit Administration Teams and supporting staff who were deployed from other sections, assistedin ensuring that a total of 3,577 work permit applications were successfully processed remotely.
As a result, very limited volume of applications remain. Iím also happy to announce that all of our Boards have now begun to reconvene meetings.
Additionally, plans are underway to roll out services at our headquarters located at 87 Mary Street (Apollo West Building) in the coming weeks, details of which will be announced shortly.
Finally, for those who were unable to access our services while our offices were closed, I wish to clarify the provisions that have been made which will apply to you.
If someoneís work permit expired on or after 27 March and the employer was unable to apply for a renewal, we want to be clear that the worker would not be committing an offence by continuing to work on the same terms and conditions of the expired work permit as long as the employer makes an application for the work permit renewal by 30 June. This period has been extended from the original date of 1 June following consultation with private sector stakeholders.
If expired work permits are not renewed in accordance with new provisions outlined by 30 June, employees who continue to work will be in breach of the law and both the employer and employee will be liable to a fine of CI$5,000 or to imprisonment for 1 year or to both.
Where a workerís final work permit of 9 years has expired and an employer was unable to submit a renewal of the work permit after 27 March, the worker is able to continue to work under their current conditions until 1 August 2020 or a later date determined by Cabinet. Employers are not required to complete an application or pay a fee to utilise this permission in law.
Understanding that there exist at times barriers to matching jobseekers to jobs based on a variety of factors, the department is continuing to assist via programmes and partnerships with industry stakeholders. If permitted, I will ask Dianne to provide an overview of these programmes and opportunities that Caymanians would find beneficial in search of employment.
I wish to close by thanking the Premier and the Government for their continued support. I also wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to all staff at WORC for their resolute dedication and perseverance. Without you behind the scenes, the level of service delivered to the people of these Islands would not have been possible and is a true testament of your love for your country and to the delivery of a world class civil service.
Thank you again for allowing us the opportunity to share.
For further information contact: Bina Mani