Migrant Workers: Protection of
Labour Rights and Labour
Market Programs
MIGRATION CHALLENGES IN THE
CONTEXT OF THE CARIBBEAN
SINGLE MARKET AND ECONOMY –
The Experiences of the Republic of Trinidad
and Tobago
CARICOM SINGLE MARKET
AND ECONOMY (CSME)


The leaders of six Caribbean nations took an historic
step in January 2006 when they formally signed a
declaration giving birth to a free trade zone which
allows for easier movement of goods, services and
skilled workers.
Styled after the European Union, The Caribbean
Single Market (CSM) will operate initially with
Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and
Trinidad and Tobago.
CARICOM SINGLE MARKET
AND
ECONOMY
(CSME)
Cont’d…


Six remaining member states Antigua &
Barbuda, Dominca, Grenada, St.Kitts/Nevis,
Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
have agreed to complete all arrangements to
join the CSM by the end of 2006.
The adoption of the CSM makes CARICOM
the newest trading bloc to join the
approximately 194 other trade blocs on the
world market.
CARICOM SINGLE MARKET
AND
ECONOMY
(CSME)
Cont’d…

Trinidad and Tobago currently accounts for
about 80% of trade within the region. In the
first couple weeks of the CSM, some 2000
CARICOM professionals applied to the CSME
Unit in Trinidad for certification to allow them
to move freely for work and business purposes
in the country.
Snap shot on Trinidad and
Tobago

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
comprises the two most southerly isles of the
Caribbean archipelago. Having gained
independence in 1962 it became a Republic in
1976. The smallest nation to date to ever
qualify for World Cup Football in 2006. The
Republic gained international acclaim as their
Soca Warriors displayed passion and spirit on
football fields in Germany
Snap shot on Trinidad and Tobago
Cont’d…

Trinidad and Tobago is the most diversified and
industrialised economy in the English speaking
Caribbean, and has earned a reputation as an excellent
investment site for international businesses. There are
proven substantial reserves of petroleum and natural
gas, and heavy industries such as iron and steel,
methanol and nitrogenous fertilizers. The economy is
based on petroleum, natural gas, chemicals and
manufacturing and has been growing at over 8%,
with services accounted for over 51% of GDP. Recent
discoveries of oil and gas as well as increasing world
market prices are fuelling a major boom in the
country. Trinidad and Tobago is now experiencing
full employment ie 5.9%.
Migrant Caribbean Labour –
some statistics



Approximately 10-40% of the labour force
from the Caribbean has migrated to the OECD
economies since 1960’s
Caribbean persons account for 19% of the
migrant stocks in Canada and 12% in the USA
Tertiary emigration rates of 86% for Guyana,
83% for Jamaica and 78% for Trinidad and
Tobago
Source: ILO, Caribbean labour migration: Minimizing losses and optimizing
benefits, Dr. Andrew Pienkos
Migrant Caribbean Labour –
some statistics cont’d…



Statistics show that CARICOM nationals
account for just over one-half of all flows
within the region (52%).
Between 1990 – 2000 the stock of migrant
workers within the region has increased by
18%
Migrants accounted for 39% of the population
in the Cayman Islands, 36% in Anguilla and
36% in the British Virgin Islands
Migrant Labour in T&T – a
twofold challenge.



TRADITIONAL OUTFLOWS
We continue to face traditional outflows of
professionals in certain fields, namely,
medicine (doctors), nurses and teachers.
CSAWP with Canada since 1967 –
approximately 1500 farm workers annually.
Migrant Labour in T&T – a
twofold challenge.
DERIVED DEMAND
 Development/expansion of the Public Sector eg.
10,000 houses per annum; construction of three
(3) aluminuim smelter plants; second steel plant
etc.
 Trade liberalization – private sector fuelled
economy (International construction companies
eg. Bechtel require large numbers of specialised
workers)
Footnote:- Trinidad and Tobago is a net importer of
migrant labour eg. Doctors, nurses, construction
workers, natural gas, specialists, aluminium

Sources of Migrant Labour.








Republic of Cuba – doctors, nurses
UN Volunteers – UNDP – medical personnel
Republic of the Phillipines – doctors, nurses,
pharmacists, engineers, quantity surveyors,
architects, Auto Cad technicians etc.
Skilled workers from CSME – eg. Masons,
carpenters etc.
Skilled workers from the Republic of China –
construction, welders; steel benders; specialty
chefs
Pre-fabricators from Columbia –Pre-fab houses
UK based security personnel (Scotland Yard)
Medical Hospital on the sea
Migration – The experiences of
Trinidad and Tobago



For the year 2005, 4,434 work permits were
issued, an increase of 1,528 or 52.6% over
the previous year 2004
The largest number of permits issued 1,457
or 32.9% of the total permits issued was in
the Petroleum and Gas Industrial Group, an
increase of 740 or 103.2%.
During the period 2001-2005 work permits
issued increased significantly by 3,750 or
548.2%, from 684 in 2001 to 4,434 in 2005.
Trinidad Experience – Cont’d…
Over the period 2003-2006 the Government of
Trinidad and Tobago recruited, given human
resource shortages, some 150 doctors and
nurses from the Republic of Cuba and over
150 nurses and 50 pharmacists from the
Republic of the Philippines. Also 100 UNV
doctors.
Major Challenges



Opposition from the professional bodies,
Medical Board, Nursing Council and
Pharmacy Board
Language/Cultural Barriers
Demand from local Trade Unions to
compensate the locals equally in comparison to
the foreigners
Major Challenges Cont’d…





Parliamentary approval to facilitate registration
Accommodation, Visas, security bonds for work
permits
Greater inflows from Caribbean islands than outflows
Recruitment of skilled and professional workers –
balancing public sector and private sector interests
Different standards and levels of economic
development (Regional Nursing Body and CXC)
Migrant Workers – Solutions

Need for closer linkages between the
University of the West Indies and line
Ministries to determine manpower gaps and
strategies to meet/close them.

Labour migration policies need to be supported by
measures to prevent abusive practices and
promote decent and productive work for women
and men migrants
Migrant Workers – Solutions
Cont’d…




Legislation among CARICOM islands to facilitate
free movement of labour (Sunset legislation
World Cup Cricket)
Caribbean Court of Justice
OSHA
Minimum Wages Act (non- unionised workers)
Migrant Workers – Solutions
Cont’d…



T&T Government offers free tertiary/university
education to all citizens (including free universal
pre-school, primary and secondary education)
Tax exemption to nationals up to $60,000TT for
students studying abroad
Adherence/Enforceability of ILO standards – eg.
Strengthening of the labour inspection
compliance function of the Ministry of Labour
New Initiatives
27th Conference of Caribbean Heads
of Government – July 2006


Supported the recommendation for the establishment
of a Technical Working group to undertake a policy
study
Agreed that special attention be paid to





The development of migration policy
Retention of skilled labour
Information system/database
Information to enhance national capacity; building social
support systems to respond to the requirements of voluntary
and involuntary return migrants
Diaspora Communities
XV CARICOM COHSOD
Meeting


Agreed that with the movement of labour in the
CSME, special attention must be paid to implications
of intra-regional immigration and the policies
required to deal with the issue;
Urged Member States to cooperate with the
Secretariat in responding to the mandates of the
Heads of Government for the follow up studies
Tripartite Declaration and Plan of Action for
Realizing the Decent Work Agenda in the
Caribbean

Promote in conformity with national employment
and labour market strategies, proactive labour
migration policies and programmes that optimize
gains and minimize losses from migration, help
manage intra-regional migration, enhance the
regulatory mechanisms and protect migrant
workers being guided by the ILO Non-binding
Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration
(2005)
XV Inter-American Conference of Ministers
of Labour (IACML)

To be hosted by Trinidad and Tobago in 2007

The IACML is a special meeting of the
OAS and a vital hemispheric forum where
labour
Ministers
and
officials,
representatives of the labour movement and
employers address the issues which affect
labour in the hemisphere (including
migration issues) in the context of
globalization and economic integration
XV IACML Cont’d)
September 11-13, 2007
July 10-12, 2007
XV IACML
Port-of-Spain, T&T
Second Preparatory
Meeting
Port-of-Spain, T&T
May 2007
First Preparatory
Meeting, Costa Rica
(part of Working
Group Meeting for
XIV IACML – May 811, 2007)
XV IACML Cont’d

In preparation for the XV IACML, Trinidad
and Tobago has established a Working
Committee to begin drafting the Declaration
and Plan of Action

One of the key sub-themes of the XV
IACML is the promotion of decent work in
the hemisphere, a key component of which
is the protection of the rights of migrant
workers
XV IACML Cont’d
Trinidad and Tobago
looks forward to your
active participation at
the XV IACML
THANK
YOU
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Migrant Workers: Protection of Labour Rights and …