MINISTER of National Security Stuart Young said this country has many jobs on offer, including new opportunities in the reconstruction of East Port of Spain, replying to Newsday’s query as to whether Venezuelan migrants were pushing TT nationals out of jobs.
At yesterday’s post-Cabinet briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Newsday asked if his recent promise to regularise Venezuelans to work for up to a year in TT could create a labour market distortion by migrants exploited to work for far lower wages than locals.
Promising a Cabinet note next week on the registration of Venezuelans, Young addressed the alleged distortion of the labour market.
“Quite frankly, we'll deal with that as it comes.
“One of the reasons we want to do registration is to ensure that Venezuelans who are registered can work. It is to deal exactly with the exploitation, because now they will be covered, and don’t have to be fearful that they are not here lawfully. One of the ways people exploit them is to say, ‘You are not here legally and I’m going to call the authorities for you unless you do this,' or they are hiding because they want to do things under the table.”
Young said the registration process will deal with that, after which it will be an "open market" for labour.
“It continues to be speculation, because at this stage we do not have an accurate figure, and that’s what I want to deal with: an accurate figure of how many Venezuelans are really here.”
He reckoned the country has many jobs on offer.
“There continue to be jobs in the newspaper. You look every day on the Internet, etcetera, there are jobs available. There are workplaces that are calling out for labour.
“As the number of government projects starts to increase – you’ve heard the Minister of Housing (Edmund Dillon) here talk today about a massive project we’re going to do in east Port of Spain – there’s going to be an increase in the need for labour in the market.”
Young said the regularisation of Venezuelan migrants will be observed “as we go along.”