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Resentment growing over fight for jobs

‘Migrants willing to work for much lower wages’

By Joel Julien

 THERE is a growing sense of resentment by Trinidad and Tobago nationals towards migrants entering this country, a research report on “invisible immigrants” which was released yesterday has stated.

The report stated the relevant autho­rities in this country need to effectively address the situation before it becomes full-blown xenophobia.

The 89-page report, entitled “Invisible Immigrants: A profile of irregular migration, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons in Trinidad and Tobago”, was one of two documents pre­sented to the National Security Ministry by the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Observatory on Migration yesterday.

The handing-over ceremony took place before the start of the 11th National Consultative Committee meeting, which was held at the Ministry of National Security’s Temple Court office on Abercromby Street, Port of Spain.

“Locals are now demanding action and intervention from the Immigration Division to stem this rising tide of irre­gularity. The irregular migrants, themselves, have referred to episodes of negative encounters with locals, citing comments such as ‘these foreigners who coming here to run things’,” the report stated.

“Hence, there seems to be a growing sense of resentment which needs to be addressed by the relevant authorities, in order to prevent the development of full-blown xenophobic behaviours and attitudes,” it stated.w

The report stated one of the reasons locals were beginning to harbour feelings of indignation towards migrants is because of the competition for jobs.

“Traditionally, Trinidad and Tobago has been a melting pot of different ethnicities and nationalities, a feature that was spurred by various waves of intra and extraregional migratory movements,”  the report sta­ted.

“However, there is a sense that as the effects of the financial crisis take root and resources grow scarce, the coun­try’s receptiveness is giving way to feelings of indignation,” the report stated.

According to the report, irregular migrants in this country prefer jobs as security guards, gas station atten­dants, grocery and restau­rant workers, construction workers, agricultural workers and domestic workers.

“Locals at the lower stratum of the labour pool view migrants as threats to their livelihoods since they compete for the same jobs, and the latter is usually the preferred choice because of the willingness to work for much lower wages,” the report stated.

The reports also stated there have been increasing reports of male African nationals “behaving violently towards local females”.

“There have also been increasing reports of male African nationals beha­ving violently towards local females with whom they are intimately involved, as well as Jamaicans being close­ly linked to drug trafficking and gang activities,” the report stated.

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