PHILIPSBURG:— The Minister of VSA Emil Lee said on Wednesday that the multi-disciplinary controls that were conducted on Friday were very successful. He added that the controls conducted on Friday involved various ministries and not just the Ministry of VSA.
The Minister said that team worked from 8 am to 10 pm, with the team that comprises of inspectors of labor, tax inspectorate, immigration, USZV. He said other departments were also included in the controls such as VROMI who had to map out the island for the inspectors. The Minister said he went along as an observer throughout the entire control and he praised the inspectors for a job well done. He said the article published in one of the newspapers is incorrect because they did not close down any businesses. He said the reality of the matter is if a business had persons working without the necessary documentation then their operations were disrupted. The Minister said that controls were conducted at stores, construction sites, restaurants and bars and other businesses. He said with the one day control conducted on Friday he believed at least 70 employment opportunities were created because persons that were working did not have the necessary documents such as work permits. Minister Lee said just recently USZV announced that they had approximately NAF200M on the streets but with Friday’s control they realized the figure might be much higher because they found workers that were not registered at USZV and the tax department.
Besides that, the Minister said that there are a number of French companies operating on the Dutch side without the proper documentation in place which means the French businesses are not paying their dues such as taxes and USZV premiums. He also mentioned that during the controls they found a number French nationals working on the Dutch side without working permits. The Minister said that this is also illegal and that French nationals or residents must have working documents to work on the Dutch side. He did say that the Council of Ministers will be having a debriefing next week on the one day control in order to determine how they will proceed.
He called on businesses to get their act together and to get all the necessary documents in place including employees that did not have their identification cards on them. He made clear that person ages 12 years and older must have their identification cards on them when they are on the street. He said at one company they found 15-time cards at the business place but only four of those employees were registered.
Another point the Minister made was that while controls were taking place word got around and people began running or hiding.
Minister Lee called on businesses that are using job placement agencies to ensure that the people sent to them are properly documented. He said while the employers might escape the financial expenses they will be hindered through their operations if workers are found to be working illegally.
SMN News asked the Minister if they encountered problems with at least one job placement agency “Labor Experts” that had employees at various locations and they are not registered. The Minister did not confirm the name of the company but did confirm that the inspectors did find workers that are working for job placement agencies that were not registered.
Labor Experts (Job Placement Agency) sent out a circular informing their clients that they should not cooperate with the inspectors since in their view VSA inspectors do not have the right to ask for tax information. Labor Experts went as far as stating that if the inspectors used undue pressure their lawyers were ready to take up the matter.
When Minister Lee saw the circular he made clear that the inspectors were not all rude, or disruptive, he said that the inspectors acted professionally. He said that the controls conducted on Friday were done with a multi-disciplinary team, he advised the businesses that are using job placement agencies to make sure they know what they are doing because the necessary actions will be taken when people are caught working illegally. He ended by saying that compliance is the key and as such the controls will continue.
Source: St. Martin News Network
Controls conducted on Friday was successful, says Minister Lee Businesses must comply with the country’s laws.