Labour Ministry working to get Venezuelan migrants properly integrated into workforce


With an influx of Venezuelan migrants in Guyana, Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton has said his ministry will work with all partners to train these persons to properly integrate into the workforce.

The economic crisis in Venezuela has caused many to cross the border, migrating to neighbouring countries.

On Wednesday, the minister in an interview with the News Room, said it is his ministry’s view that human rights organisations and the government must collaborate to provide these persons with programmes that can fashion them into the Guyanese society.

“We hope to develop a framework to facilitate that. We are at the early days where we are discussing. The CEO and other senior officers of the ministry were in conversations with the UNHCR (The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and we hope that in a week’s time we will have a framework that we can say to the public this is how this will happen,” the minister said.

Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton (Photo: News Room/November 30, 2021)

The Board of Industrial Training (BIT) has been engaging the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UNHCR to facilitate programmes that will assist these migrants with the relevant certification to be employed.

A meeting between these bodies was held on Tuesday to discuss the preparation of the delivery of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes to Venezuelans migrants based in Guyana.

“The fact is they are here and if you’re thinking as a government, you don’t want them to be destitute. We must bring them to a place where they can contribute to the state.”

“We have power to ensure that we fashion them in our space and it doesn’t take away from what we have for Guyanese- it cannot and would not (happen). The more of these people you can train and have them come into formal job, it is better for the nation,” the Labour Minister explained.

Hamilton has also suggested that Venezuelan migrants are taught English so that they can easily interpret information and further, easily integrate into society.

“The Venezuelan ambassador came to see me last week and I put before him utilising the Venezuelan cultural centre. Over the decades they were teaching Spanish, I’m saying to them, you should also facilitate the migrants to learn English at the centre.”

“If you are going to ask us, BIT to train them, the starting point of training here is knowing English so we have to look to develop that framework with them and see what UNHCR can facilitate. We will bring all the technical knowledge and training to assist,” the minister said.

Importantly, the minister said that before planning for a programme to be rolled out he has advised that the partners consider who are the people to be trained.

He explained that the Venezuelan migrants are of three sets: Guyanese who moved there and are returning, their children and the Venezuelans who are migrating here.

Therefore, a one-size-fits-all programme will not be sufficient, the minister noted.

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