Gov’t to tap into migrants’ skills


The government and the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) are in discussions to determine how migrants can best put their skills to use here.

According to the Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton, a holistic approach is being discussed to integrate migrants into the local workforce.

“I suppose a lot of the migrants, they are qualified in different areas and therefore, how do we regulate and tap into that as a country,” Minister Hamilton noted on Wednesday while engaging reporters at his Brickdam, Georgetown office.

He explained that the labour ministry has a role in advising the government on how this can be done within a controlled and legal framework.

Over the past two years, IOM and the government have been discussing how they can collaborate and deal with the migrant population in Guyana, specifically Venezuelan migrants.

Hamilton said on Wednesday that while migrants’ certificates and qualifications may not be recognised in Guyana, there are other options such as retraining through the Board of Industrial Training (BIT).

“Many of these persons, their qualification might not be ruled as a qualification here, so they have to start retraining,” Hamilton said.

The BIT does not require any certificates or qualifications to join and it is for this reason that it is being proposed to migrants.

Already, migrants are found working in the services, construction, and mining sectors.

“We have to bring into play either the Venezuelan Embassy or a language institute because the issue of language is a fundamental issue when we discussing training,” Hamilton explained.

Before engaging the media on Wednesday, Minister Hamilton held a meeting with officials from IOM where these issues were discussed.

“We discussed how to bring the migrants out of the informal arrangements to formal arrangements.

“In the informal operational environment you can be they can be exploited, they can be taken advantage of and all the issues that come along with it,” Minister Hamilton related.

The ministry is also in conversation with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on these issues.

“We are paying attention to legislation. We will develop a framework to deal with this issue that is upon us and how we can control and supervise what is happening.”

The government is also open to utilising the Central Recruitment and Manpower Agency to upskill migrants.

The labour ministry has also been working to increase the number of Occupational Safety and Health officers, and to have them trained in Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin to better serve migrant populations here.

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