Ministry of Labour and Social Security Overseas Programmes

The Overseas Employment Programme, administered by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) facilitates the selection and recruitment of workers who participate in programmes in the United States and Canada. The Ministry has been doing so since 1953. The Ministry also monitors private employment agencies which recruit workers for employment to ensure that they are operating legitimately.

Currently, the programmes include:

  1. The United States Farm Work Programme;
  2. The United States Hospitality/Hotel Workers Programme;
  3. The Canadian Farm and Factory Programme and;
  4. The Canadian Skills Programme


The United States Farm Work Programme operates in compliance with the United States Legislative Authority of the Immigration and Nationalisation Act of 1952. The Programme originated in response to the labour shortages, which arose in the United States during World War II. Over the years, the workers participated in a variety of farming activities, including planting crops such as shade tobacco and picking cherry, sweet corn, orange, tomatoes and apples.


The Canadian Farm and Factory Work Programmes began in 1966 under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme (SAWP) in response to the increasing demand for manpower in the Canadian Agricultural sector. The Programme recruits workers who are engaged in planting fruits and vegetables, greenhouse flowers and vegetables, tobacco as well as working in factories, nurseries and orchards.


The Ministry embarked on the Canadian Skilled Programme in 2010. It recruits skilled and low-skilled workers to fill Canada’s temporary labour and skill shortages. The programme focuses on areas such as:

  • Healthcare
  • Transportation
  • Hotel and Food service

Under the programme, the skills of applicants are evaluated and assessed to ascertain the level of competency levels and to upgrade skills where it is deemed necessary. Below is a list of the occupations which are currently in demand in Canada and the type of qualifications needed for applicants.




Class 1 Drivers

  • 3 years experience operating – Flatbed, Tanker or Hauling Containers
  • Possess a 2 years tractor-trailer articulated driver’s license


Truck and Transport Mechanics

  • 5 years working experience in repairing and maintaining commercial trucks/trailers and road transport vehicles


Heavy Duty Mechanics

  • 5 years working experience in repairing and maintaining heavy duty equipment
  • Must be computer literate


Automotive Service Technicians

  • 5 years working experience servicing motor cars and light trucks
  • Experience with servicing and maintaining North American, European & Japanese vehicles.
  • Must be computer literate