WORC boss wants boards cut from WP process

| 21/06/2019 | 66 Comments
Cayman News Service, Cayman National Human Resources Department
WORC Director Sharon Roulstone

(CNS): In her first comprehensive public address about the development of the Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman, a new agency to deal with all of the issues associated with Cayman’s local and expat labour force, its director, Sharon Roulstone, said that when WORC is fully operational it will do much more of the work currently being done by the boards. As she outlined the goals of the new unit, she said that if she had her way, she would eliminate the Business Staffing Plan Board because it was no longer an efficient way to deal with modern workplace needs.

Speaking at the Chamber’s Economic Forum on Wednesday, Roulstone said the new approach was designed to move away from a dependence on boards, as she believed they belonged to the past. But she noted that the continued existence of the Work Permit and Business Staffing Plan boards was a decision for politicians.

The WORC director drew applause from the audience of business leaders when she said that once all of Cayman’s job seekers are registered on the job portal, employers will be able to apply directly for a work permit if there are no available locals in the data base matching their vacancy.

Talking about cutting the permit application time to as little as two weeks and eliminating much of the previous bureaucracy and document submissions, and even ending the need to submit chest x-rays, she said that WORC will not ask employers or employees for documents that other government agencies already hold.

The system will do automatic international criminal background checks on all work permit applicants, Roulstone said, and revealed that employers will be able to do everything online, from finding potential local candidates to paying for a work permit in a paperless process.

As she outlined the progress WORC is making towards becoming fully operational in September and what she described as a “monumental” undertaking, she explained that once it was realised just how badly broken the existing system was, it was clear that a radical change was needed.

Roulstone said WORC was not just a merger between immigration and the National Workforce Development Agency but was going to be a brand new department doing things very differently.

She said it had taken longer than expected to establish the new unit because of a number of issues, from the loss of staff who went to border control and the need to develop complex technology, which she said has now been tested and will soon undergo an in-the-field pilot with around 20 volunteer employers.

Describing the complete change, which will see every vacancy go through the job portal, she said that all Caymanians looking for work who are job ready will be registered and employers will be required to search the database for available locals before they make an application for a permit. And because no job-seekers who are not ready for work will be on the database, employers will not face the frustration of interviewing unqualified candidates, she explained.

Unemployed local people looking for work but who have no relevant skills will be referred and supported by the agency to get the training or education they need to enter the job market.

Anticipating some teething problems and accepting that a cultural change was needed to get to the new streamlined process, Roulstone said that once the technology platform was up and running and everyone — employers and job seekers — were all registered in the database and the jobs posted on the portal, it would be a much more efficient system with the same rules for everyone.

She said the process would also be more secure and transparent, and the aim was a customer-centred, faster syystem that “will be a huge improvement” on the current process.

The director told the audience that she expects the legislation needed to launch WORC would be ready for public consultation ahead of its expected passage in the Legislative Assembly in September.

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Category: Business, Jobs, Local News

Comments (66)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Of course. Just make it easier for work permits to be push through above Caymanians. The employer will have ridiculous requirements for a receptionist so there is no “match” on the database of Caymanians and therefore work permit is approved. Thanks again.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Work permit and Business staff planning Boards no longer needed. So that WORC can WORC. Politicians get out of the way of the Director for WORC let the director do her work by abolishing what needs to be abolished for a once, proper and honest transparency. Be careful director, WORC do not step on the politicians and the business people corn toes too hard or you will be transfered to another department , forced to resign, unfair dismissal or fired.

    • Anonymous says:

      8.48 do you always write absolutely incomprehensible comments with seeming menaces or is that just saved for Mondays?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Will the list of job seeking Caymanians be kept ptivate? Just saying if your in work and want to change and not just unemployed and seeking a new job.

    • Anonymous says:

      Any job would be advertised regardless no? So any Caymanians currently employed and applying for the job would be doing so privately as per the application process for anyone. I’d assume that the WORC registration would be for Caymanians who are not currently employed so they would have no fear of conflict with current employers or fear of disclosure.

    • Anonymous says:

      Imagine you are a qualified Caymanian fund accountant and your details are on the database. Your employer is renewing your colleague’s work permit and as it is similar qualifications there is a match – you !!! Wonder how that will work out ? More victimization.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seems like a bit of a non question…why would they tell anyone? Everyone (except Expats on work permits without their employers permission) can change whenever they want. The question is, can you do the job advertised and do it well?

  4. Anonymous says:

    It seems these politicians have looked after their own and want to ensure their peers and their families’ peers are never as successful as them or their family. Thank you Aldart and Sharenon.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    This is a ludicrous idea from WORC. So if the Chamber gets its way with stopping the roll-over where will be the checks and balances we now have? Roll-over is the only thing stopping multigenerational Caymanians being placed completely on the back burner. This is what happens when the captains of industry and the heads of so many government departments are allowed to be non-Caymanian and dictate government’s policy. Unity government and Franz need to stop sleeping at the wheel.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I think you are being too generous…they are not sleeping at the wheel…they are taking care of themselves…the work permit revenue, unsustainable PR awarding, and of course the port are all grabbing as much as they can while Rome burns.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I’ll save my comments for later hopefully politics doesn’t interfere. .

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Really Sharon….. this is it more than 2 years later? we are no further ahead. Some of the staff don’t know what they are doing changes in law I called the other day only to realize the person there at Immigration didn’t know of the change! its just a bigger mess than before and this is her first appearance in a year to see we are getting there!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well it seems they want you to just process applications without question. They are too scared to try and change the laws so they merely ignore them in process. Just keep the approved stamp wet.

      • Anonymous says:

        The laws are already being blatantly ignored. Work permits are granted even though qualified Caymanians/PR/Status Holders applied.

        • Anonymous says:

          And then they give the person unlawfully granted a work permit status, and celebrate the fact that a Caymanian has a job – all while the original Caymanian continues to suffer.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well done Sharon. The Boards have been a disaster for years now. The BSP concept has never worked. Try and get the long awaited accreditation system implemented ASAP.

    The entire civil service is improving by leaps and bounds. I am happy to see WORC following the lead of DCI and other world class departments.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is full of experts at finding the negative in everything. Sounds like a huge leap forward to me. With Cayman employment and opportunity at an all time high, why do these people talk like we are in the middle of the great depression? All you wannabe politicians better find a new soapbox. The no jobs for Caymanians thing is nothing but hot air at this point.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Whenever I go to WORCs Headquarters, I am treated like a nuisance by their “Customer Care” staff. For the most part, they are not friendly, courteous or helpful. They will accept incomplete applications from big shot companies but Heaven forbid, I forget to answer a question or two on a form for a Domestic Helper.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Poor Sharon. She has really been handed the poisoned cup as a reward for her efforts to get elected. And she didn’t get the massive pay off of Marco Archer (anyone know what he actually does for $17k a month?) She would have had a far far far easier life if she had become a MLA (David Wight? Barbara Connolly? Bernie Bush? Whogene? Austin?). Now she is in charge of something that likely wont WORC.

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    • Anonymous says:

      6:25 Don’t start with Bernie who has been paid to be deputy speaker for 2 years and has yet to sit in the Speakers chair. 2021 can’t come too quick.

  12. Anonymous says:

    On a good note I went to WORC the other day and the experience was a massive improvement on the old immigration days.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    These comments really illustrate how entitled our guests have become……thanks Aldart!

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    • Anonymous says:

      3.44, that is the most entitled comment I have ever read. Of course, its also utter BS too, but no surprise there. Feeling superior to everyone? Feeling that you are not getting your fair share of that huge government income that comes from all those work permit fees, all those taxes us expats pay on imports, all the jobs created for the local community by us being here, all the charitable donations? No worries, vote for independence, that will sort it all out for sure!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wasn’t she the chair of the WP board a few years ago?

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  15. anon says:

    I find it confusing, so many Caymanians whingeing as they can’t get jobs and expats are given preference, yet these same whingers blame Caymanians for this situation.

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  16. FairProportionate says:

    As MLA Bryan would ask, “I will there be someone checking to see that job requirements and skill are not artificially inflated by Businesses, to ensure that locals are not hired”?

    Employers act as if they are innocent but we all know this is a current and common practice, when they want to bring in friends and family. (I know of one Govt positions that was literally rigged with the exact high qualifications of the person who they wanted to get the job. So will Govt Jobs be included?

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    • Tell I Like It Is says:

      People you better WOKEUP! Quite frankly I don’t see WORC working at the efficiency levels being sought without a process of monitoring on an ongoing basis and reporting to a Board yes a Board. I’ll tell you why, this invention will be fraught with manipulation if there is no independent watch dog, not the Ministry itself nor the Governments internal Audit for they will review the workings maybe once every 18 months. Moreover there is a case to be made for having the “Board” in place to ensure that all of the objectives are scrutinized periodically thus keeping everybody in line. If this is not done the process could likely as per the marl road talk ,return to the good old days where a list was passed around at a bar and bingo permit was approved shortly thereafter.

      These thoughts are in no way meant to discredit the work that has been done on this project or the people who are and will be running it, but simply put it is meant to ensure that WORC really works and that the people’s purse is not once again being diminished
      because of a faulty process and lack of mitigating oversight.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Ah, the Sage of Swampland is in the house. Try not to disappear up your own backside whilst chasing that tail.

    • James says:

      With all due respect is there anyone checking MLA Bryan’s credentials and skills to be considered an authority? And don’t say voters. They did no due diligence.

      • Mm says:

        You had to go there huh?, where u from you don’t like Kenneth, then I suggest you just lump it or do your next best or quite frankly clap shut ya mouth or better yet if ya na from ya levert staggart!

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        • Anonymous says:

          A truly enlightened and cerebral comment if ever I saw one. Must have hurt a lot to come out with that and manage to put it all in one sentence. Some words even have two syllables!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Do WORC have a telephone number?. If so what is the telephone number?.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I hope the first to abolish chest X-ray request will be government. I always wondered why they need that? On another point, if everyone looking for a job has to be listed on WORC portal and everyone looking to hire has access to the portal, how then can anyone looking to change jobs do so with confidentiality. Will the persons name be listed on the portal or would they have a number assigned to them? Also why does the staff presently send specifications of available jobs in plumbing or handyman to someone who is a qualified legal secretary and looking for a job in that field. Are these people presently working at WORC being trained on how to properly manage this process? I am all for modernity and believe this could work but please do not create more problems and hurdles for those looking for a job. Remember sometimes it looks better on paper than it really is.

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    • Abayomi says:

      The CHEST xray is to look for tuberculosis, many cases of which really have no cure.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was also curious about people changing jobs. Advertising is a great way for caymanians to know of opportunities out there. But just list opportunities on a govt website for two weeks rather than the farce if having to advertise in the paper and just make a pile of money for the Compass.

  19. Scorny Weaver says:

    “…and even ending the need to submit chest x-rays”

    No! Oh no, no, no. Not like this. Has she ever seen the movie Alien. ? Look what happened when they didn’t extra the worker’s chest! 😱

    But in all seriousness, let us not skip on making sure Health Safety protocols are followed, examined and re-examined. No need to import some exotic disease(s) or worsen what we already have here. A healthy society is a productive society and a not healthy society is a dead one.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    This just seems to make it easier to process work permits and to exclude Caymanians.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yep…Sharon seems to be a puppet of Aldart and ultimatley Dart.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You got that right. Most companies now, do everything in their power to exclude Caymanians. They ask for qualifications they know the Caymanian job seekers don’t have, knowing full well, the job does not require that qualification. They ask for 5 to 10 years experience for gardners and kitchen helpers, for God’s sake. Talk about unemployed Caymanians? Unna just wait on this new miracle machine.

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  21. OneVoice says:

    Let me add my 2 cents. We all know that the current system does not work, if I choose to go into why it does not, I would be band from commenting on this blog again. Let me say, that I would not be band for what I wright, but rather the length of it.

    If all goes as the Director stated , then it will be great , but as we know “saying and doing” are two different things. The system will only be as goo as the people actually doing the work. If one just goes to the current Immigration office for anything and just observe the way they work, it is with no urgency or professionalism. They chat, chew gum, talk to each other or on a phone and yes get up and disappear for long periods of time, where do they go? I can only hope that it improves and that when companies put in for a work permit they really need it and can’t find a legal resident (local) for the position.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Now there is no unemployment and the economy is booming forward progress is welcomed.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    The only thing I do not understand is: A Work Permit takes much less time to be approved than if a PR holder applies for an amendment on their residency title in order to be able to work.

    For a PR holder to be able to change their job either by choice or in case if the person loses its job, it will cost them 500CI to apply for a job title change “amendment” and a painful 3 to 5 months waiting time in order to receive an answer from immigration. All of this without being able to work.

    It happened to me where the company I used to work for almost 7 years shut down. I found myself in this situation when I was offered a job almost 2 months after the company I used to work for shut down. I was already financially in trouble because I was out of work for 2 months and had a mortgage to pay. I applied for the amendment and contacted Immigration to ask if I could work while waiting for an answer. I was told I couldn’t and I had to wait for an answer and it would take anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks. The process took 4 months to get approved. Despite keeping in touch with the company that offered me the job, it got to a point that they couldn’t wait any longer and hired someone on a Work Permit. Took them 2 weeks to get the WP approved.

    I was already almost 6 months without work and 500CI shorter, the fee is not refundable. I then found another job and had to start the process all over again, 500CI plus the waiting time. This time took 3 months to be approved. That means 9 months out of work because of the waiting time. It wasn’t only financially trouble, it took a lot on my marriage, my wife was the only one bringing money and all our savings gone. I was sad and miserable during this process.

    The WORC should address this situation as We “PR holders” have to go through a lot in order to get a job. Every year we have to pay a very sour fee otherwise we lose our PR.

    It is much easier to hire a person that has never stepped a foot in Cayman than to hire a person like me who has been living here for over 13 years, Naturalized, have Cayman Passport, invested in Cayman and when needed, can’t get a job in less than 3 to 4 months.

    When a job is available Caymanians should be the first choice followed by PR holders and then WP and not the other way.

    I really hope this matter is addressed.

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    • Wow says:

      Wow. Cannot believe that. Very informative comment

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      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately this is the process we have to go through in order to work. This needs to be addressed because it is not fair at all.

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        • Anonymous says:

          The authorities have been challenged on that issue for years and have refused to do anything about it. Many have suffered and continue to. Still no accountability.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @11:07. Very unfortunate for you but I actually thought you were describing the plight of most Caymanians who are cheated out of employment by employers willing to lie to get a work permit or PR for their staff.

      Caymanians have gone years in some cases without employment or adequate employment. Some are blocked from promotion by PR holders when they are more than capable and deserving of promotion.

      Some Caymanians lose the promotion opportunity forever because after PR, our government gives foreign nationals Caymanian status!

      All around, much needs to be improved but do not forget about the improvement needed from employers cheating the system.

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    • Bin there, dun that says:

      I’m sorry to say this story does not make sense. If you are married to a Caymanian wife, you will have an ERC, not Permanent Residence. Under an ERC you can work for whomever you like whenever you like.
      There’s something missing here……

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Oh no another poitician out of touch or generally apathetic about opportunities for Caymanians in their own country. There will now be absolutely nothing that will address the continued under employment and limited progression paths of caymanians…enjoy the applause Sharon but realize it’s not from Caymanians.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Look to the government to fix the root of the problem. The broken education system. It is they who are failing you and then pointing the finger of blame and responsibility at someone else.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    The main issue here is who will monitor the individuals that can make that decision to approve or disapprove. As much as I am against the idea of a board process, I do think the Board option offers a more transparent option. It acts as a “a jury of peers”.

    Example. If there should be one of those individuals that in the NDWA/WORC office that was passing through the drive through at midnight and did not get a good response from the cashier, next day that name could come up and as easy be rejected.
    Another could walk into a place of business and not be welcomed as they thought in their minds and her or his cousin might not like “that look”. And other personal issues.
    How many poor fast food workers have been insulted and threatened by those individuals? We have had a lot of that over the years. It could go either way.

    I do not see why Caymanian business should not have a quota or a “package” for them to do business. Packages could include a certain amount of work permits and other incentives that would allow small business to survive.

    I would dare those in the NDWA to hire some of those individuals that they are pushing onto the small business. They do not send them to the big companies that have a good HR vetting. So why try to destroy small business with “unemployables”?

    Tell me which one of those in the department will educate their children and send them to a small business? But at the same time those individuals want small local business to hire the persons that they know should not be around business.

    If the clean up project is an example of so call locals being unemployed, it is very obvious why they are unemployed. But part of that fact is that most of them have applied for vacation from their main job to take advantage of the Government handout.

    Please Miss Roulstone, as the intentions are good, Let’s face reality and pass some of the burden to the job seekers that feel entitled. And please note that If a small Caymanian business is seeking to hire a “caymanian” and a little Jamaican boy or Girl show up, or a non english speaking person is there for the interview saying “me is a caymanian”.

    It really makes for a joke. We are importing poverty at the same time as throwing them to the small business. A bar girl cannot all of a sudden become a qualified person just because they got “married to a caymanian”. This may seem like ignorance and nonsense, but this is the facts of what is happening in the workforce.

    If these same individuals from NDWA could not get it right for the last 30 years or so, what would make you think they can do it now? Every status holder of late seem to always say they “have a contact in immigration”. And they get things done for real. So must be true.

    It hurts us small local legit business to see a recently status holder have all kinds of Permits and no establish place of business. While at the same time the local businessmen and women are told that out of the 2 unemployables, one of them should be hired over the work permit holder of 5 years or longer. The system is abused for the Johnny come latelys and the Jane Does and so forth.

    The biggest tool that a Caymanian has to starting their own business is a Work Permit.
    These days when every cat and mouse is a “Caymanian” it is hard to distinguish what is a real business or just someone from NDWA with a permit collecting a monthly fee from the permit holder.
    A good start would be with the names in the office or the boards to see how many Permits they have and what business that is being done. That should clear up quite a bit as a start. They sure do not practice what you been preaching to them.

    I could go on and on of the realities. But I will end by saying good luck with the team. As I started by saying, the intentions are good. But the reality in the buisness world is that Caymanians should be encouraged to be entrepreneurs and offered work permits and not just telling them they are entitled for a Job.

    While the guy in the back of the church shouting “Preach Pastor Preach”.) Smile.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    The expensive and cumbersome chest Xrays screening for all-but-eradicated TB/LTBI have always been a bizarre hurdle – it’s not like the Chief Medical Officer reviews all 40,000 of these…historically, was there any qualified person to interpret such arcane medical data at DoI/WORC, or was there just some perv that enjoyed seeing the faint silhouette of boobs? A copy of vaccination card, with proof of inoculation, would make much more sense while answering more medical questions than an Xray nobody seems qualified to interpret.

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    • Anonymous says:

      IIRC the Xray was reviewed (or done and reviewed) by the doctor signing the medical check. No TB, Aids, etc. So it was reviewed by a competent medical professional, not immigration officers. (Who could easily be trained to spot spots on an X-ray that would flag up for medical checking, if it was decided to go that way, which I don’t believe it was.) So stop casting aspersions for the sake of hating.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The medical form of the TB inoculated (originating from a country that irradiated the disease in 1950s) is signed off by attending Dr, but then the stapled results get submitted to DoI for their qualified second guessing?!? BTW, how does DoI check for AIDS with an X-ray?!?

    • Anonymous says:

      Tuberculosis is still endemic in some of the countries from which Cayman recruits expatriate workers. Not everybody has had BCG vaccine against TB and some countries don’t use because of safety and efficacy concerns (the United States, for example). Left untreated this disease can ravage the infected persons body plus it poses a Public Health hazard

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