Thousands of Venezuelan migrants are expected to enter the country’s workforce following Government’s recent registration policy programme and while employment will provide many with the lifeline needed during their stay, no measures have been implemented by the government for the state’s coffers to reap any benefits.
Speaking at Thursday’s post-cabinet news briefing Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley stated that a decision had been taken to exempt registered nationals from paying NIS contributions, “we’ve taken some steps, one, to make them not required to be registered for NIS so they won’t claim benefits for NIS and since their window of opportunity is one year we don’t think they are to be registrants and have NIS deducted from their earning.”
According to the Prime Minister, it is most likely that many who manage to land a job will be earning under the taxable figure of six thousand dollars.
He said, “Most of these people are going to be covered by the non-tax arrangement, let’s face it very few of these will be earning more than six thousand dollars and if there is a qualified Venezuelan who has a job earning more than that then pay your tax.”
Even prior to the government’s amnesty there had been public disquiet over the impact of a Venezuelan influx to the country’s economy.
While some quarters in society support the government’s position, there are those who are fearful of the consequences.
Dr Rowley noted the success of the current policy despite some minor reported hiccups, especially at the south registration center.
He also lashed out at persons condemning the move to assist the migrants and by extension augment its migration policy.
He said, “I see a lot of people taking issue with what we are doing, I’m not seeing their alternative positions because there is none, I want to remind you we transported eight Venezuelans here who agreed to be transported out of the detention center and I noticed the same set of voices had a lot to say both on the national and international level so you send them back home it is a big noise, those who are here we keep them and make arrangements, you don’t want them here, all I’m saying different people have different voices.”
Meanwhile Dr Rowley reinforced government’s position that it will not be accepting any foreign financial aid to assist with the Venezuelans fleeing social, political and economic crisis in their homeland, “if there are proper arrangements especially through the UN for dealing with people displaced this way without strings we are not afraid of we will consider it, but those who come running with grants to encourage us to run refugee camps, thanks but no thanks”, said the Prime Minister.
Reporter: Jesse Ramdeo