Record number of Caribbean travellers migrating to oil-rich Guyana- IOM study finds

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Between 2013-2018 travellers from the Caribbean were recorded as having the highest increase in migration to Guyana when compared to those from Venezuela, Europe, and the United States of America (USA).

This is according to a recent report from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), titled Planning for Prosperity: Labour Migration and Guyana’s Emerging Economy.

This study was implemented by IOM in consultation with Project Development Consultancy, under the Western Hemisphere Program (WHP), and is generously funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. 

The study was a first of its kind that investigated how labour management and labour migration, with an emphasis on fair and ethical recruitment, factor into Guyana’s future considering the recent economic growth due to its new petroleum sector. 

The report was launched on Thursday during a virtual and in-person seminar at the Pegasus Hotel, with participants from the study including the private sector, government agencies and international community.

The report also reveals a steady increase of travel to Guyana from the Caribbean with Trinidad and Tobago, followed by Haiti and Suriname, having the highest inflows to the country between 2018-2020.

Moreover, in 2018 persons arriving and departing Guyana from the Caribbean numbered 137,433, while persons from the United States, the next largest travel group for that period, amounted to 89,456. 

The labour study attributes these travel trends to Guyana’s emergent oil and gas industry, and subsequent sectors, where it is estimated that up to 160,000 jobs will be in demand in the coming years, far beyond the supply available in Guyana. 

Such findings, according to IOM Guyana Chief of Mission and Coordination Officer for the Caribbean, Robert Natiello, indicate that the dynamics of migration in Guyana are changing as the country is positioned to be one of the largest oil-producing countries in the Western Hemisphere.

The IOM official explained that Guyana’s main assets have traditionally been its natural and agricultural resources, which continue to be key contributors to the country’s economy. However, Guyana’s labour force will be transformed to help supply the demand in the oil and gas and peripheral sectors.

“As the labour force in Guyana is expected to be transformed. The Guyana labour migration study highlights that the demand for labour in the medium-term will not only come from the oil and gas sector but also from peripheral sectors such as construction, hospitality, and tourism,” said the Chief of Mission. 

He added that, based on these findings, it is imperative to engage the private sector and other stakeholders on labour migration and ethical recruitment as they will directly be impacted by this transformation.

Following the presentation of results by lead research consultant, Richard Rambarran, a panel discussion was conducted to provide a better understanding of how different actors view their role in the development, management, and governance of labour and migration in Guyana. 

Panellists included Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton, Private Sector Commission Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Capital, Jairam Petam, International Labour Organisation Specialist, Francesco Carella, and IOM Specialist, Michela Macchiavello.

The facilitated discussion engaged the private sector, government agencies and other stakeholders on the recent findings of the new labour migration study, the transformation of labour in Guyana as a result of the growth in the oil and gas sector, and the important role labour migration will play in the transformation of the Guyanese economy.

Planning for Prosperity: Labour Migration and Guyana’s Emerging Economy can be found here: https://programamesocaribe.iom.int/sites/default/files/planning_for_prosperity._labour_migration_and_guyanas_emerging_economy.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1FYg2ot0sOn9FsLD7LvTaMoxYx3oLLKAkGE-hh1gg6gFXR4T7bxcZMomk

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