The Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme in 2019, has an added requirement from the Government of Canada. This primarily entails the taking of bio-metric data as part of the requirements for a Canadian visa.
In the new system, information is uploaded at the Labour Office in St. Vincent Grenadines for each farm worker. This is then sent to the Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago for processing.
The actual bio-metric process involves both finger printing and photographing for the Canadian Immigration system.
Farm Workers are now required to go either to Trinidad and Tobago or Barbados to provide their bio-metrics information after an appointment has been made by the Department of Labour on their behalf.
In order to make the process less expensive and tedious for our farm workers, personnel from the Canadian Government are expected to be in be St. Vincent and the Grenadines on March 25, 2019, to gather bio-metric data from farm workers.
However, those who are scheduled to travel to Canada before March 8, 2019, will have their information uploaded on the system at the Department of Labour and an appointment will be scheduled for a bio-metric interview in Trinidad and Tobago or Barbados.
The new bio-metric process applies to all OECS countries participating in the programme. 2019 being the first year for bio-metric requirements, the Department of Labour is ensuring that we have the requisite human resource necessary to manage the transition. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.
Farm owners in Canada have been informed of the challenges currently being experienced, and are fully aware of the implications of the new bio-metrics system. This effectively can result in a slight delay for returing workers.
The Director General of the OECS Secretariat, Dr. Didicus Jules, noted earlier today, that all possibilities are being explored to give full support to member states regarding the transitioning towards the bio-metric data collection process.
The OECS Secretariat is actively involved in managing the way forward and will issue an official statement on matters raised by all stakeholders.
The Department of Labour will continue to update all farm workers and provide guidance through the process.
Deputy Labour Commissioner