The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L.) has expressed worries about non-compliance among Samoans with regards to procedures and processes for Foreign Employee Employment Permits (F.E.E.P.).
F.E.E.P. is an employment permit granted for foreigners to work in Samoa.
The concerns are highlighted in the M.C.I.L. Annual report for 2016-2017 received by the Samoa Observer.
The report also indicates that there is a rise in the demand for foreigners to fill vacancies for domestic work such as babysitting, caregiving and housekeeping.
More and more Samoans are recruiting workers from China, Fiji and the Philippines.
A total Non-Taxed Revenue collected for permits for the year in question amounted to $636,130, says the report.
“Evidently there are a number of non-citizens found during inspections to be working without valid permits,” the report reads.
“There is also the issue with employers failing to advise the Ministry of when their non-citizen employees depart the country prior to the expiration of their employment arrangement.
“Another issue is the moving around of permit holders in work that was not assessed to enable employment in Samoa. “
But the Ministry assures that it is working hard to remedy the problem.
“Fortunately the Ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to access the Border Management System to track the movement of permit holders.”
The report goes on to say that while the Government remains open to overseas skills and experience to complement the local workforce, the priority should be given to the local workforce and Samoan citizens.
“Permits are considered for non-citizens within specific industries, professions and roles perceived to be high in demand but scarce in the local labour market,” the report reads.
“The recruitment of non-citizens is progressively increasing within industries such as construction; accommodation in hospitality services; restaurants; retail, and wholesale.
“For the reported period a total of 621 FEEP (Foreign Employee Employment Permits) applications were lodged, 579 were approved, 17 were declined due to inability to satisfy criteria of qualification, relevant experience and the required ratio 1:3 were declined, and 25 pending assessment.
“Permits issued were dominated by the Construction Sector, Domestic Workers and Hospitality Industry and data also shows the top three countries that Samoa is sourcing foreign workers from are China, Fiji and the Philippines.”
The M.C.I.L. seeks to improve its F.E.E.P. services, therefore an initiative to strengthen good governance in the assessment and issuance of permits.
“This has resulted in two key works currently in progress that include the endorsement of the FEEP Policy and the development of an online-FEEP system.”