Migrant workers to rise 20,000 in 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011
Issue 1305, Page 6
Word count: 586
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen said yesterday that the number of imported workers in Macau will increase by around 20,000 for the whole year of 2011.

The secretary also announced that beginning May 18 the Human Resources Office (GRH) will be responsible to release imported labour data regularly on its website.

Not only will the relative statistics from the Public Security Police’s immigration department and the Statistics and Census Service be available on the GRH homepage, the number of applications received, the number of non-locals involved and how many of them are approved will also be made public.

The Concern Committee for the Employment of Non-resident Workers – which is a recently created work group under the Standing Committee for the Coordination of Social Affairs (CPCS) – held the second meeting at the GRH premises, which was chaired by Francis Tam.

According to the secretary, GRH has approved altogether 106,354 non-locals to come to work in Macau as of the end of March, an increase from 104,407 and 102,857 respectively at the end of February and January this year.

Yet, only about 76 percent of these people have already arrived in Macau and obtained a work permit (blue card).

As of the end of March, there were 81,416 blue card holders, and in February and January the figures were respectively 79,467 and 77,903.

“There has been in average a 25 percent discrepancy between the number of approvals and the number of people who have come to the territory to work eventually […]. [Local people] don’t need to be worried that some 100,000 imported workers would enter Macau suddenly at once,” Tam told reporters after the meeting.

“Starting now it’s appropriate to increase 1,000 to 2,000 [migrant workers] per month, which coincides with what I’ve said earlier that the employment population is expected to grow about 10 percent this year. This figure [10 percent] corresponds with Macau’s economic development at this stage,” he said.

Therefore, the secretary added he expected to see a total rise of about 20,000 non-local workers in the territory at the end of this year.

However, he did not disclose which industries have applied for the largest number of workers from outside of Macau.

“With the opening of a large-scale project [Galaxy Macau], the increase in imported labourers is going to be reflected in the statistics in the coming few months.

“But a larger growth will also be reported in the construction and tourism industries and the small and medium enterprises, while the demand for domestic helpers will always remain,” Tam said.

As of the end of March, 7,160 enterprises were using non-local workers and the “majority of them” were small and medium enterprises, he added.

Meanwhile, the secretary disclosed that during the construction of Galaxy Macau resort in Cotai, the 1:1 proportion between local and imported construction workers was able to be maintained.

He stressed that the ratio is still one of the major considerations of GRH when approving imported workers for Sands China’s Parcels 5 and 6 construction on the Cotai Strip.

On the other hand, the secretary pointed out that there was no plan at the moment to “change the six-month entry ban” stipulated in the Law for the Employment of Non-resident Workers.

Director of the Labour Affairs Bureau Shuen Ka Hung also denied having said that the restriction may be axed at least for domestic helpers, depending on the results of the International Labour Organisation’s conference in Geneva next month.

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