TRADE and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said the migration of Venezuelans into TT because of the crisis in their country is a "temporary" situation.
She made this point at a seminar on TT's retail sector at the Arthur Lok Jack School of Business in Mt Hope on Thursday night.
Gopee-Scoon said the Government is facing the reality of what is happening in Venezuela and is doing what it can to help, and the registration process for Venezuelan migrants is clearly spelt out. Reiterating that migrants with criminal records will not be allowed to register, Gopee-Scoon said Venezuelans who do register will be able to live and work in TT for a year, after which, Government will assess the situation.
She said many of the migrants come from low-income backgrounds and are desperate for work, and with many businesses in TT having vacancies, the migrants could fill those vacancies and contribute to TT's economy. She said citizens should welcome them and reminded her audience there are other migrants living and working in TT.
San Juan Business Association president Vivek Charan said the Venezuelans are not taking away jobs from TT citizens, and once the Venezuelans are properly registered, they can become employees in local businesses and consumers buying goods from local businesses. "They increase the market share."
Supermarkets Association president Rajiv Diptee observed the influx of Venezuelans into TT provides an opportunity and a threat. Should the influx be unregulated, Diptee warned, this could give rise to unwanted behaviour. But he said the migrants could fill gaps in the retail sector caused by high turnover and those Venezuelans who are registered could become "a welcome boon to the pool of employable labour." He agreed with Charran that the migrants are "also potential customers" adding to the sector.
The registration for Venezuelans was scheduled to end on Friday.