NIBTT: Migrant workers entitled to same benefits as locals

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A woman walks away from a closed National Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago (NIB) office. – File photo by Angelo Marcelle

NATIONAL Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago (NIBTT) public relations officer Radesh Bassant says migrant workers are entitled to the same benefits as locals, including pay and other entitlements, once they meet the minimum requirement of earning at least $200 a week.

He spoke at a workshop on the new minimum wage at the Hampden/Lowlands Multipurpose Facility, Tobago, on May 21.

The minimum wage was increased by $3, from $17.50 to $20.50, in the October 2, 2023, budget. The increase took effect from January 1, 2024.

Responding to a question from an employee of Sophia’s Pastry Shop, Crown Point, about the status of migrant workers in the national insurance structure, Bassant, who spoke virtually, said when it comes to employees under national insurance, there is no distinction between nationals and non-nationals.

In the case of Sophia’s Pastry Shop, he said if the owners of the business hire workers, regardless of their nationality, and they are paying them, the business is duty-bound to register all its employees using proper identification.

“So if it is they have ID from Trinidad and Tobago or whatever country that they come from, then there is a straightforward form to complete to register and the NIB will issue an NIS number to all employees, whether they are nationals or not.

“So once employees are working and they are contributing to the welfare of Trinidad and Tobago, they are performing legitimate work, then they have a right to coverage once they meet the minimum requirements of earning at least $200 per week.”

Hence, Bassant said, migrant workers also have a right to coverage.

He added even if they leave Trinidad and Tobago and retire, they still have a right to the benefits that they would have paid towards as an employee working in the country.