ILO and IOM organise meeting in Seychelles to address influx of migrant workers
Seychelles’ employment department is working on management practices to allow the country to enhance its capacity to systematically manage and regulate labour migration in the island nation.
Discussions on the topic are taking place this week at the “Labour Migration Management in Seychelles” workshop organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the local employment ministry.
The principal secretary for employment, Jules Baker, said that as a small island state, “Seychelles is heavily reliant on foreign labour to meet the needs of our growing economy, with between 23 to 25 percent of the workforce being migrants. Tourism, construction, trade, wholesale and retail, and agriculture are the main sectors that seek foreign workers.”
He said that “it is critical for our country to adopt good labor migration management practices to address the increased influx of migrant workers and the challenges associated with its management. Migrant workers face a number of precarious and challenging situations, especially during the recruitment process.”
Discussions on the topic are taking place this week at the “Labour Migration Management in Seychelles” workshop. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
He added that it is Seychelles’ responsibility to ensure the protection and adequate well-being of these workers, both before, during, and after the recruitment process.
“While we acknowledge the immense contributions of foreign workers in the country, we must also recognise that these numbers signify the increasing labour migration management challenges,” said Baker.
In 2021, the employment department recorded the highest number of applications for the recruitment of migrant workers. It received applications for non-Seychellois employment for a total of 17,061 positions and the Immigration Division issued 15,384 Gainful Occupational Permits (GOP) during the same year.
The welfare officer at the employment ministry, Samia Ally, told reporters that “our population does not have the required number of people for the total workforce in the country and as such we have to rely on foreign workers to take up these positions.”
“At the moment, we have a localisation system in place that and even if not being done on a large scale as it should be, the ministry has taken the initiative to ensure that Seychellois have the priority when it comes to employment. When a foreign worker finds employment in Seychelles, the person should have a local understudy who is trained to take up the position down the line,” said Ally.
Taking place at the Berjaya Hotel between July 4-6, the workshop will also allow the country to strengthen the capacity of government officials to put into operation the country’s National Labour Migration Policy.