Palau VP Calls For Lifting Ban On Bangladeshi Workers

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Bells calls for managed process to hire needed employees

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Dec. 24, 2015) – Vice President Tony Bells calls for a lift on moratorium of hiring new Bangladesh workers with certain restrictions in a memorandum to Division of Labor Chief Silverius Tellei and Division of Immigration Acting Chief Flavin Misech early this month.

In his memorandum, he cites that the Ministry has received petitions from small construction companies, farmers and other small scale developers calling for lift on previous MOJ memorandum 14-062 which placed a Temporary Suspension of Bangladesh Employment.

Some of the reasons cited by VP Bells to lift the moratorium are 1) Simply lack of skilled and unskilled workers needed for construction, farming and others. 2) Difficulty and high cost of recruiting from Philippines now and 3) food security concerns due to lack of local labor force that have forced the farmers to rely heavily on foreign labor to maintain farms.

The Minister also cited that since the moratorium, which sought to manage the seemingly uncontrolled hiring of Bangladesh workers, Bureau of Labor have put in place corrective measures such as special monitoring program to ensure compliance called Operation Clean Business. Vice President stated that "now we can move on to address pressing needs and demands for skilled foreign workers in general and Bangladesh workers in particular by making some changes to the moratorium".

He then proposed a process whereby they can allow hiring of new Bangladesh in a more managed process.

According to the Labor Division’s report, there are currently 591 Bangladesh workers with valid work permits, 76 with expired permits, 107 with approved invoices or ready for payment, 19 under 30 day Labor processing, 14 returned for lack of proper documents and 1 under review. Total of 808 Bangladesh workers, 4 females and 804 males.

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