32 Chinese heading home

Ministry sources said when all documents are signed by officials from the Work Permit and Immigration Division which falls under the ministry, the 32 Chinese nationals will be allowed to leave the country.

Some 70 BLCC Chinese labourers who were constructing the Aranjuez Government Secondary and Five Rivers Government Secondary Schools were arrested outside the Chinese Embassy in Port-of-Spain on Tuesday night.

The workers boycotted work at the construction sites and protested by walking from Chatee Trace, Cunupia where they are housed to the Uriah Butler Highway after complaining of more than two months worth of wages being owed to them by BLCC.

According to sources, officials from the BLCC have submitted the work permits of 32 employees for cancellation by the Work Permit Division and this will take a few days to process and can go into next week.

The Work Permit Division will have to issue cancellation letters confirming that the work permits of each of the 32 Chinese workers have been cancelled. These letters will be sent to the Immigration Office and to BLCC officials.

Newsday learnt that it was up to the contractor to submit the applications for the employees and ask for an extension at least a week before the cancellation of the work permits.

Sources in the National Security Ministry said that for 2009, the Work Permit Division has approved 5,400 work permits. The main applicants for these permits are Chinese nationals followed by Venezuelans, Cubans and Americans. According to newspaper reports, Minister of National Security Minister Martin Joseph recently indicated that there are about 2,500 Chinese nationals employed locally.

For a second day, the workers yesterday failed to show up at the school sites, Education Facilities Company Limited chief executive officer Paul Taylor admitted. He said the contractor had requested a few days time to resolve the internal labour problem.

SLCC was responsible for completing construction work at the Tranquillity Government Primary School which was officially handed over to the Education Ministry on Tuesday.


"32 Chinese heading home"

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