Foreign labour levy proposed

Saturday, March 1, 2008
Issue 269, Page 1
Word count: 265
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The draft “Principles of Regulating the Employment of Non-local Labourers” document was for the first time presented to the Legislative Assembly during yesterday, which proposed charging employers a levy for hiring non-local workers.

Secretary for Economy and Finance, Tam Pak Yuen, said the proposed principles were to complement existing foreign labour regulations which were established two decades ago.

One of the more controversial proposals is to implement a government levy for employers who recruit labour from outside Macau, with the sums collected to be used for social security, Mr Tam said.

The secretary did not give an indication of the size of the suggested levy.

To tackle the prevalence of illegal labourers, more severe punishments were proposed as the government admitted that the existing law and penalties for hiring workers without permits “had room for improvement”.

The suggested penalties for illegal labour hire include a maximum three-year prison sentence or an equivalent fine; prohibition from employing imported labourers for six months to two years; depriving the hirer the right to participate in open tenders for public construction projects or public services for six months to two years and depriving the rights of receiving subsidy or concession from public entities from six to two years.

The proposal also suggested holding managers responsible for the illegal actions.

In addition, the government suggested strengthening the welfare entitlements of imported employees.

Mr Tam said the final proposal would clearly define penalties and details of the new regulations to be included in the labour law.

The Legislative Assembly will soon hold a plenary meeting to discuss the Non-Local Labour Law.

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