Cost of foreigners’ work permits for managerial positions in Seychelles’ tourism sector to increase
A work permit for foreigners working in Seychelles – known as a gainful occupation permit (GOP) – for management positions in the island state’s tourism industry will become more expensive to encourage more locals to be employed in managerial posts, President Wavel Ramkalawan said on Thursday.
He made the statement while addressing students at the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA) on an official visit to the institution.
“We are not satisfied with the fact that within the middle and top management of our leading industry we see very little Seychellois. This is why, together with the ministry and the rest of the government, we want the issuance of GOP in management to become more expensive because we want Seychellois to get the possibility to take up these positions,” he said.
“Through the education that you are getting and your own determination, we want to have more Seychellois who will be able to manage more hotels, wherever in the world and in the local industry,” said Ramkalawan.
Unfair decision on GOP in post-Covid era, says tourism trade chief
Commenting on Ramkalawan’s GOP increase announcement, Sybille Cardon, chairperson of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA) told SNA that “we are now recovering from COVID for most businesses in the industry, so this kind of decision is unfair. We are already paying an increase in Pension Fund contribution and in taxes. We need to be able to breathe and put our businesses in order. We should be given at least a year before such decisions are taken.”
Cardon argued that managerial positions are key to each business and for large establishments, they need highly qualified personnel and “such decisions will be an added burden on the sector.”
“We need to remember that this is the sector that is contributing the most in the economy so we do not need further obstacles,” she added.
Retention of graduates in the tourism sector
During the visit to the STA, Tourism Minister Sylvestre Radegonde told the press that the ministry is working on solving the problem where Seychellois students who have graduated from Shannon College in Ireland are moving away from the tourism industry.
He said there are around 100 Seychellois students who have completed their studies at the college in different fields and today only about 50 are still working in the tourism industry.
“The government of Seychelles spends millions of rupees each year to sponsor this training and we would like them to contribute towards the field in which they studied when they return to Seychelles. It forms part of our manpower plan and training,” said Radegonde.
Allowing only students who have a genuine interest in the sector to study at the academy is one of the ministry’s strategies in order to have more job retention in tourism once the learners graduate.
Radegonde also outlined that it is important to work with the industry to produce professionals that will meet the industry’s needs.
STA’s director, Terrence Max, said the academy’s long-term objective is “to be positioned and recognised as a reputable tourism and hospitality academy both regionally and internationally.”
He said that the setting up of the STA industry advisory committee for each programme is a testimony of “our effort to strengthen the collaboration and working relationship with our trade partners. Through these committees, we have now established a mechanism that will encourage industry professionals, both local and expatriates, to participate in the training and development of our learners at STA and beyond.”