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Thousands of Expatriates Fill Mauritius's Manpower Gap

Panafrican News Agency, 19 October 2000

Port Louis, Mauritius - The minister of Training, Skills Development and Productivity, Sangeet Fowdar, told the National assembly Thursday that by 10 October there were 24,292 expatriate workers in Mauritius to bolster the shortage of skilled workforce.

More than 82 percent of them are employed in the textile sector as skilled workers, machinists, knitters and linkers.

"The importation of skilled labour in bulk has initially been allowed to meet manpower requirements and to compensate for the lack of necessary local skills in key sectors like manufacturing, construction and hotel and catering," Fowdar noted.

According to him, foreigners are employed in the manufacturing sector in a bid to meet tight delivery schedules, which involve the performance of overtime. It also involves work on shift systems and during unsociable hours.

Foreign workers, he added, compensate for the relatively high rate of absenteeism among local workers and sustain and maintain both the economic and social development of the country.

"The employment of expatriates is closely monitored so as to ensure that they are not employed at the expense of local workers", the minister informed the MPs.

He indicated that export processing zone enterprises are not only unable to recruit skilled workers in adequate numbers locally, but also can not hire young unemployed persons to work initially as apprentices before being employed on a permanent basis on completion of their apprenticeship.