Jamaica’s Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda has pledged to grow the Overseas Employment Programme to 30,000 participants over the next four years.
Each year, approximately 7,000 Jamaicans participate in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security-led program on H-2A (Agricultural) and H-2B (Hospitality) visas. Another 6,000 Jamaicans are placed in the US by private employment agencies.
“We recognize the transformative power of this program in the lives of participants, their families and their communities. So, we want to aggressively grow the program from 13,000 to 30,000 participants over the next four years. However, as we do so, we must ensure that our workers have the necessary protections,” said Minister Samuda.
Minister Samuda met with officials from the Department of State, the Department of Labour and the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C on Wednesday, July 14 and discussed the expansion of the program, as well as the provision of Health Insurance for H-2A Agricultural workers.
“The meetings have been successful and we will continue to dialogue with the US government. They are committed to this mutually beneficial program and importantly, they have agreed to review some of the regulations especially as they relate to the provision of Insurance for our workers,” Minister Samuda concluded.
Minister Samuda also met with Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, as well as Jamaicans in the diaspora, who have committed to playing their part in facilitating the expansion of the program.