By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The levy to be charged to employers once the Imported Labour Law comes into effect is set at MOP200 per month for each non-resident worker they hire, the Executive Council announced.
The Law will take effect on April 26 and details of an administrative regulation to complement the legislation were disclosed yesterday.
According to the Executive Council spokesman Leong Heng Teng, employers engage in the manufacturing industry will enjoy a 50 percent deduction in the recruitment levy.
This means they will only have to pay MOP100 for each migrant worker they have in their companies per month.
In addition, the administrative regulation will exempt employers of migrant domestic helpers from paying the levy.
“Since a very limited number of local people are willing to work as domestic helpers, and migrant domestic helpers are non-industrial employees, whose work won’t bring any direct economic benefits to employers,” Leong Heng Teng said.
“Migrant domestic helpers also help release local labour force, which then reduces the demand for non-local industrial employees and thus brings advantages to Macau’s labour market,” he continued.
Leong Heng Teng said the amount of the levy was determined after taking into consideration that among the over 30,000 companies in Macau, 82 percent were of small scale with no more than five employees.
The levy will be collected by the Social Security Fund (FSS) and used for social security purposes.
Starting April 26 when the Imported Labour Law takes effect, employers will no longer need to contribute to the FSS for their migrant workers.
Leong Heng Teng said the levy will be charged when a new imported labour application or a work permit (blue card) renewal application is lodged.
In addition, employers who fail to pay the levy on schedule could be fined MOP300 to MOP1,000 per non-resident worker.
Skilled migrant workers who are authorised to hire domestic helpers but change the guarantee without permission will also be punished.
On the other hand, the Executive Council spokesman said that the SAR government “is fully aware of the employment rights of local people and implementation of the Employment Framework Law”.
He added that an independent administrative regulation will be formulated especially for the protection of local workers’ rights and interests.
In another press conference held yesterday at the Labour Affairs Bureau regarding the promotion of the Imported Labour Law, director of the Legal Affairs Bureau Cheong Weng Chon said the administrative regulation for local workers is expected to enter the Executive Council for discussions within a short period of time.
Yet, no further details of the regulation were disclosed.
More companies hire migrant workers
President of the Human Resources Office, Wong Chi Hong, said from April 26 onwards, all new and renewal applications will need to be filed in with a new application form, which can be downloaded at http://www.grh.gov.mo or http://www.tnr.gov.mo.
The number of local enterprises having recruited migrant workers reported a twofold increase over the past three years.
Wong Chi Hong said in mid-2007, there were 3,228 companies with non-resident employees. The number grew to 4,293 at the end of that year, then to 5,534 in June 2008, 6,597 in October 2008, and more than 6,800 in 2009.
Of these companies, a majority were small and medium sized enterprises, he added.
In respond to the new legislation, the Human Resources Office will also visit companies without prior notice to verify the details claimed in the imported labour application forms.
If a company is found to have made false statements or declarations, such as regarding the number of local employees it has, the Office would not only turn down the application but also report the case to judicial departments for investigations, Wong Chi Hong said.
In addition, he said the processing of imported labour applications is expected to be accelerated later when the Office gets more familiar with the new identification system installed early this year.
Currently it takes around two months for skilled migrant worker applications to be processed and three months for non-skilled/manual migrant workers.
Meanwhile, Labour Affairs Bureau director Shuen Ka Hung reminded that May 1 will be the first mandatory labour holiday after the Imported Labour Law comes into effect.
All migrant workers, including domestic helpers, will have the right to enjoy a paid holiday on that day, or otherwise employers are required to pay compensation to the employees in line with the law.
On the other hand, booklets of the Imported Labour Law in Chinese and Portuguese can be obtained at the Legal Affairs Bureau, Labour Affairs Bureau, Human Resources Office, Social Security Fund, Immigration Department, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Trade Unions.
English translation copies will be available in the second half of April.
Two open explanatory sessions will also be held at 3pm in the World Trade Centre on April 17 and 18 respectively.