Enhancing business opportunities through labour migration and ethical recruitment | 16 October 2019
Labour migration has been and is still a hot topic for Seychelles and Seychellois. In order to better understand this concept, a one-day consultative workshop was organised last week at the Eden Bleu Hotel to maximise the benefits of labour migration for Seychelles, migrants and businesses.
Vice-President Vincent Meriton graced the event that was attended by private business owners and participants from the government.
Mr Theede, who is the senior regional thematic specialist at the labour migration and human development, facilitated the workshop.
As drivers of economic growth, Seychellois businesses play a major role in implementing labour mobility strategies and mechanisms, to guarantee an enabling environment for both businesses and safe, regular and orderly migration. The involvement of the private sector in public-private dialogues is of key importance and as such, the IOM organised this workshop in partnership with the General Employer Trade Union of Seychelles (GETUS) and the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and with the support of the Ministry of Employment, Immigration and Civil Status.
The workshop provided an opportunity to discuss the role and involvement of the private sector in labour mobility strategies and mechanisms, as well as forging a better understanding of the modern slavery landscape, global due diligence trends and business opportunities as a result of promoting responsible labour practices.
The new regulatory and reporting environment, both mandatory and voluntary, combined with increased pressure from consumers, brands and investors, offer significant business opportunities for Seychellois companies to be proactive regarding business ethics and social responsibility.
The workshop contributed to engaging with the private sector on labour migration challenges, and to build strategic partnerships to establish labour mobility mechanisms, which balance various stakeholders’ interests and address the migrants’ needs.
In situations where labour recruitment is not carried out in conformity with international standards, workers may end up in exploitative or abusive working conditions.
Businesses themselves also face multiple risks when associated with unethical recruitment, including practices such as document retention or the charging of excessive fees to workers, which are linked to labour exploitation and human trafficking.
“The shortage of local labour force in many sectors and the disparity of skills between available workforce and the demand of industries, put our private sector in a situation where we are more and more relying on foreign workers and this will only increase in the next 20 years from now. Recruitment processes remain largely driven by employers and it is subject to the recently adopted (November 2018) Labour Migration Policy. But there are still issues that the private sector with the help of the government will need to fix. This is why today is a very important step for the social dialogue – to help us bring together all the pieces of the puzzle and elaborate, discuss and find the best solution for all,” noted Tina Hoarau from Getus.
Céline Lemmel, the head of IOM office for Mauritius and Seychelles, noted that “the private sector partners have the ability to mobilise increased market demand for responsible and ethical recruitment and in doing so, they will contribute to a market transformation of international labour recruitment processes and fair labour practices across specific target sectors. IOM is committed as a key technical partner to assisting the Republic of Seychelles, its government and its private sector, to further the work already actioned, therefore contributing to advancing the labour mobility strategy in Seychelles, while benefitting the workers, the private sector and the country”.
Benilda Cupidon, the director general of the labour migration at the department of employment also talked about the importance of good management of labour. “Given the continuous economic growth and the limited labour and skills supply locally, it is foreseen that Seychelles will remain dependent on non-Seychellois workers for a number of years to come. I believe that we should all recognise the importance of foreign workers in the development of our economy,” Ms Cupidon said.
She further noted that the ministry had to deal with numerous cases where non-seychellois workers were mistreated.
“The private sector must recognise the importance of ethical labour standards in recruitment and their role in this process. When such standards are followed, it protects your business operations from being affected. It also protects the foreign workers themselves and prevents them from ending in precarious forms of employment and unfavourable living conditions. This in turn creates positive economic growth as we are dependent on foreign labour in most areas.”
Did you know?
Facts from the Department of Employment (Benilda Cupidon)
- The total number of non-Seychellois workers in the country as of October 2019 is around 18,000
- Main areas of work are from the private sector: construction, tourism, agriculture, retail and trade, manufacturing and fisheries industry.
- Latest national unemployment rate published by the National Bureau of Statistics as at June 2019 is 3.5% comprising 1799 persons and 14.3% for young people aged 15 to 24 years, which comprise 977 youths.
- The ministry has observed a continual increasing trend. In 2018, there were 12,835 posts requested to Employment Department for employment of foreign workers.
- The main industries again were construction with 5162 applications, followed by tourism with 1357 applications, manufacturing 1042, wholesale and trade 987 and agriculture with 769 applications.
- Given the challenges and opportunities that emanate from the increased inflow of non-Seychellois workers, the government has intervened in introducing a National Labour Migration Policy which was developed in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation
Facts from IOM (Jason Theede)
- Labour migration is the movement of people across borders for employment. International migrants are persons residing in a country other than their country of birth, both in regular and irregular status.
- In 2015, of the 244 million international migrants worldwide, Africa comprised 34 million, or 14 per cent.
- Most migrants worldwide are of working age. In 2015, 72 per cent of all international migrants were aged 20 to 64 years, compared to 58 per cent of the total population.
- In many parts of the globe, migration occurs primarily between countries that are located within the same major area of the world. For Africa 52 per cent, or 18 million migrants live in another country of their major area of origin.
-In Africa, 19 per cent of countries did not have a recent data source on total migrant stock, while 43 per cent and 36 per cent of countries did not have recent data on the age or origin of international migrants, respectively.
- Migration has fast become a global issue. No one country on its own can deal with the challenges migration poses. Cooperation among States is essential.