Fewer and fewer imported workers in Macau

Friday, March 12, 2010
Issue 961, Page 3
Word count: 336
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The SAR government’s effort to protect local people’s employment opportunities is still going on, as the January statistics showed that there were nearly 500 fewer imported workers than in the previous month, a month-after-month decline since October 2008.

According to the online figures from the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL), at the end of January 2010 there were still 74,429 non-local workers in Macau, down 476 (0.6 percent) compared with December 2009, or 15,774 (17.5 percent) year-on-year.

Among the workers, a majority at 41,264 came from mainland China, followed by the Philippines at 10,817, Vietnam at 6,591 and then Hong Kong at 5,481.

There were also a smaller number of people from Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and Taiwan working in Macau.

In terms of industries, the hospitality and food and beverage sector hired the most imported workers amounting to 16,166 in the reporting period.

Meanwhile, a total of 14,367 non-locals worked as domestic helpers, representing the second largest group.

The entertainment and gaming and also the construction sectors reported to have employed respectively 9,979 and 7,168 workers from outside of Macau.

Since October 2008, when the global financial crisis started to hit Asia including Macau, the numbers of imported workers have been dropping month-after-month from 101,752 to 74,429 in January 2010 according to the official data.

The trend completely contradicted to that of before the economic downturn, when Macau reported a month-after-month increase in non-local workers starting from as early as July 2004.

At the end of June 2004, the DSAL statistics indicated that there were 24,961 imported workers, which then continued to climb all the years to 104,281 eventually at the end of September 2008.

In November 2008 Las Vegas Sands Corp. suspended the Parcels 5 and 6 expansion plans on the Cotai Strip as a result of the economic downturn, forcing around 9,000 imported construction workers to leave Macau.

The SAR government in the meantime had publicly pledged that it would strive to secure employment opportunities for locals by gradually cutting down imported labour.

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