Work permits revoked for expats outside Seychelles; gov't eyes rising unemployment
GOPs in the fisheries, agricultural and medical sector will not be affected. (File photo: Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Gainful Occupation Permits (GOPs) of foreign workers in Seychelles currently out of the country have been revoked with immediate effect and companies that need the employees back have to go through a new process, said a top government official on Monday.
"Employers have to address a letter to the Principal Secretary of employment and have to justify why they need their non-Seychellois workers back. Employers need to inform the ministry on their number of expatriate workers and those that they want to keep," the employment minister, Myriam Telemaque, told a news conference.
Telemaque said that the employers also need to go through the normal procedure of testing the labour market.
The Ministry of Employment has, since the first week of July, received applications from 296 organisations to bring back 1,165 expatriate workers in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
The minister added that the government "has put in place a committee until December to review the merits of applications submitted by employers. Until this is done, GOP holders will not be able to enter the country to resume or take up new employment."
With the severe impact of COVID-19 on the island nation's economy causing many Seychellois to lose their jobs, there is a strong need to get Seychellois back in employment, said Telemaque.
Furthermore, with the decrease in tourism activities, the main contributor to the island nation's economy, there is already a strain on foreign exchange.
"The more foreign workers we have in the country, the more pressure we are putting on the demand of foreign exchange," said the Minister.
The employment department said there are around 17,000 expatriate workers in Seychelles, and currently, over 5,000 are abroad.
The decision will not affect GOP holders in the medical, agricultural and fisheries sectors.