IOM hosts workshop to address migrant labour integration in Guyana

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) led a Private Sector and Labour Migration Stakeholder Workshop to discuss policies regarding the safe and ethical recruitment of migrants when filling gaps in Guyana’s labour force.

Labour Minister, Joseph Hamilton

The engagement was held at the Marriott Hotel in Kingston on Thursday.

Labour Minister, Joseph Hamilton, referred to skills and educational training as the bedrock of developing necessary human capital.

IOM Regional Director for Central and North America and the Caribbean, Michele Klein-Solomon addressing the audience on Thursday

The minister said as Guyana’s labour market becomes more dynamic, and the demand for technical skills increases due to the emergence of the oil and gas sector, the skills and educational training programmes offered in Guyana must also change.

“The key to our resource intervention is productivity, as this is a fundamental catalyst for economic growth and employment creation. Therefore, we must invest in training that seeks to raise productivity levels as it is essential not in itself, but as a means to achieving economic and social prosperity,” the minister stated.

Minister Hamilton greeting members of the Private Sector Commission on Thursday

However, to optimise the employment potential and utilisation of public resources, the government must have the data, information and statistics to inform policy and decision-making. 

To this end, the Ministry of Labour has partnered with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to carry out a study of the present and future requirements for skills within the oil and gas sector and the value chain. 

There will also be a manpower planning specialist from India working with the ministry to assess the demand and supply of skills, among other things.

“I am also pleased to inform you that the ministry has sanctioned a study funded by the IOM for the skills demand in the construction sector. So… we are making strides in the right direction to obtain the requisite data, information and statistics to help us implement sound decisions and policy, including what educational and training programmes we have to offer,” the minister said.

Regarding the shortage of skills and labour migration in Guyana, both President, Dr Irfaan Ali and Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo have acknowledged the possibility of importing skilled labour. However, they have cautioned that this importation needs to be done within a specified framework so that it is managed effectively.

IOM Regional Director for Central and North America and the Caribbean, Michele Klein-Solomon underscored the importance of tackling the issue.

She said the IOM will support the government in ensuring the safe and orderly transition of Guyana as it becomes a hub for economic growth and development, and by extension, immigration.

She also assured that this initiative would not take away jobs from Guyanese, but rather complement the existing skills and other contributions of Guyanese nationals.

“So, our goal as IOM in supporting the government here is to help the government in its development objectives linked not only to the oil and gas industry, but the employment in Guyana, the growth of the economic sector, its commitment to aligning its national development plans with the sustainable development goals agreed by all the governments of the world; and now, with the hope of attaining them by 2030,”she stated.

The effort to support migrant integration into the workforce is funded by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, as well as the Pan-American Development Fund (PDF) and the IOM.

Thursday’s workshop aimed to foster discussion among members of the Private Sector Commission, IOM, PDF and the Ministry of Labour as it pertains to upskilling and reskilling migrants to be integrated into Guyana’s labour force.