The Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, Patricia Francourt, met with Celine Lemmel, Chief of Mission for Seychelles and Mauritius from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), on Thursday April 7, 2022 at the ministry’s office, Independence House Annex.
Ms Lemmel, who was accompanied by Niven Muneesammy, IOM National Programme and Policy Officer, is on an official mission in Seychelles and took the opportunity to discuss labour migration issues with the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs.
Minister Francourt stated that the work of the IOM remains relevant to the ministry as Seychelles continues to experience a high demand for migrant workers. In 2021 there were 17061 posts applied by employers for recruitment of migrant workers in the country. Majority of the requests were from the industries of construction, tourism, wholesale and retail trade and manufacturing. Hence, fair and ethical recruitment and induction of migrant workers prior to coming to work in Seychelles are crucial to ensure effective management of their employment.
On her part, Ms Lemmel expressed her appreciation to the ministry for the close collaboration and engagement of Seychelles with the IOM and commended the country on its effort in addressing labour migration issues, trafficking in persons and for including the migrant workers in vaccination against Covid-19 pandemic.
“The IOM is here to support the country and extend its collaboration at the next level,” said Ms Lemmel. Areas of future collaboration discussed were in regards to labour mobility, implementation of priority areas under the action plan of the Seychelles labour migration policy and technical assistance under the Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) project.
Also present at the meeting was the principal secretary for Employment, Jules Baker; principal secretary for Social Affairs, Linda William-Melanie; chief executive of the Agency for Social Protection, Brenda Morin; executive director in office of the minister, Veronique Bresson; Chief Policy Analyst Susan Morel and an official from the department of Foreign Affairs.
Contributed by the Ministry of Employment & Social Affairs
TODAY in Seychelles-23rd March 2022
The governments of Seychelles and Nepal are in discussion on a bilateral labour agreement to ensure protection of the rights of Nepalese workers in Seychelles, further to discussion on a request for the recruitment of 60 Nepalese security personnel for the Seychelles Police Force.
A four-member delegation from the Nepalese government, led by the Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security, Krishna Kumar Shrestha, arrived in the country yesterday morning and in the afternoon they met with the Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, Patricia Francourt, and her delegation, for discussion on the bilateral agreement.
The meeting was held at the ministry’s boardroom, Independence House.
The signing of the bilateral agreement will enable ethical recruitment practices and clearly establish the obligation of Seychellois employers to ensure that the workers’ best interests are looked after.
The agreement will also create favourable environment for better preparation of Nepalese nationals coming to work in the Seychelles. An induction will be done for the best candidates before they come to work in the Seychelles. It will also provide for the sharing of information to help both countries to monitor the workers and to engage in good governance practices.
It is anticipated that the implementation of the agreement will ensure that workers, before coming into our country, do register with specific recruitment employment agencies with a competent authority in Nepal. Workers will also have to be skilled and qualified for the post that they take.
Employment contracts are to be signed by the employers and by the workers as well. The latter are to be made aware of the terms and conditions in their contracts. They are also to be well prepared in terms of basic communication (English) and have knowledge of the life and culture of our country.
After she had welcomed Minister Shrestha and his delegation, Minister Francourt spoke a little bit about the country’s labour market and on the status and situation of the Nepalese workers in the country.
The minister said that our country’s labour market is very small with 50,000 informal workers in employment under a population of 100,000. With the un-employment rate below 5%, the minister remarked that the country continues to have a high demand for labour and a strong reliance on foreign workers.
There were 20,196 foreign workers in the country by the end of February 2022, out of whom approximately 1176 were Nepalese workers. The majority of them are employed in the economic sectors mainly in hotel establishments (429) in security and some in restaurants. There are 215 Nepalese working in construction, 130 working in public administration and defence (Police and Prison), 77 working in real estate while 75 are working in wholesale and retail.
Minister Francourt assured Minister Shrestha that the country has a rigorous and systematic guidelines and regulations in place, in its effort to safeguard migrant workers in the country.
She noted that only a minimum of Nepalese workers have lodged their grievances at the ministry, mainly in regards to unjustified terminations. She added that no grievances were registered in 2021 which in itself was encouraging.
In highlighting the wish of the government to sign a bilateral labour agreement with Nepal, which is also part of our country’s National Migration Policy, Minister Francourt conveyed our thanks to the Nepalese government for recognising the need for the agreement which has been long overdue. Her ministry has already received the last draft of the bilateral labour agreement which has been reviewed internally based on previous comments provided by the Employment department.
As for the recruitment of the 60 security personnel for the police force, Minister Francourt stated she hopes that all logistics are going well and as best as can be.
In concluding Minister Francourt thanked the Nepalese government for helping in finalising the agreement which is of mutual interest to both governments to ensure protection of the rights of the Nepalese workers, their welfare and good working and living conditions while in employment in Seychelles.
She noted that the agreement may also help in experiencing greater migration flow between the two countries.
For his part, Minister Shrestha said that his government was very happy to be expediting the bilateral agreement with our country in which both countries are committed to moving towards the proposed agreement.
He thanked our government for giving the Nepalese nationals the opportunity to work in our diverse country. He said that foreign employment is one of the domain much aspired by the Nepalese youth and that currently 3 million Nepalese are working overseas contributing significantly a high 27% of GDP in the national economy. He noted that his government has approved for the 60 security personnel, out of 1000 applicants, to work in our country which bears testimony to the level of interest by the Nepalese people to work in our country.
Minister Shrestha stated that apart from working for the respect of the rights of Nepalese workers with our government, such agreement is also being undertaken with other countries employing Nepalese workers.
He noted the fact that there have been no grievances on the part of the Nepalese workers in 2021, indicates that our country acceptance for the Nepali people and that the bilateral agreement is testimony of how both countries are committed to protecting the rights and safety issues of migrant workers and to eliminate unfair practices that lead to human trafficking.
He said that his government will exercise all the required conditions in the agreement, once it is signed, for the benefit of both countries.
He also emphasised that both countries to also make use the bilateral agreement to work together to link the regime of foreign employment with other sectors in a way to possibly enhance more the friendly relations between the two countries.
The signing of the refined agreement after the discussion is expected to take place in Nepal.
Eight staff of Club Med Seychelles have been awarded certificates of confirmation to follow overseas training in France for a six-month period.
This was during a small ceremony on Monday afternoon at the Club Med Seychelles office at the Eden Island jetty in the presence of Employment and Social Affairs Minister Patricia Francourt, Club Med Seychelles’ human resources manager Wilna Tirant, director of operations at Club Med Seychelles Daniel Guimaraes, director general employment promotion Letimie Dookley and Club Med staff.
Ms Dookley described the moment as “a milestone in the ministry’s history” as they sealed the commitment made the previous year with Club Med. This was to keep its promise to not only recruit locally as much as possible but to also train Seychellois, a move initiated by the employment department.
Last year Club Med had given its commitment to enhance the local expertise through promotion and job opportunities in other resorts of Club Med.
Minister Francourt said they have been advocating for a long time for the development of Seychellois workers. “It is gratifying to see that gradually we are progressing,” she said.
Minister Francourt said “today is a testimony of this engagement with concrete evidence whereby eight Seychellois will be working in other Club Med destinations around the world. One other Seychellois from Club Med has already left and is currently working in the Dominican Republic”.
She described this as a great achievement, adding that upon their return they will be able to share their newly acquired knowledge.
Minister Francourt also took the opportunity to encourage other resorts to follow in the footsteps of Club Med.
Club Med Seychelles’ director of operations Daniel Guimaraes said that “la mobilité internationale through well-established plans and structure, a project that is new for Seychelles, is beneficial for both Club Med and the country.
Mr Guimaraes saluted the cooperation and relationship between the Club Med and the department of employment.
He also congratulated all the awardees and thanked them for the remarkable work they have produced as well as wished them farewell and an amazing journey ahead.
Mr Guimaraes said these employees are an example to other employees and he is very proud of them.
The eight awardees from the restaurant, housekeeping and food production will get the chance to further their skills in France for six months at Club Med Palmyre Atlantique, Club Med Opio and Club Med Arcs Panorama, then possibly move on to other locations.
First challenge attracts more sponsors
For the first time since initiating charity challenges, enthusiastic runner and fundraiser Joel Melanie said he was amazed to see sponsors at the finishing line to personally bring their contributions to the cause.
He was speaking following the successful completion of his first run in the ‘We all have Dreams’ charity challenge on Sunday and all funds raised will to assist University of Seychelles student Samirah Sally with a prosthetic arm.
The first run – a half-marathon (21km) – in the series of three began at Stad Popiler and the runners headed east up to L’Escale Resort Marina & Spa where they turned and headed towards the Glacis district administration office – via Persévérance – where it ended.
Other than Runners of Charity – a group he set up to bring more flare to the activity – Mr Melanie gained the support of members of the two Glacis-based football teams, precisely Northern Dynamo and Glacis FC, who joined in half-way through the challenge.
It is to note that Miss Sally is a Glacis resident.
Compared to previous challenges, Mr Melanie described Sunday’s run as quite tough as it ended uphill.
He, however, noted that he is in better shape and better prepared to take up the next two challenges, than he was last year.
In an effort to bring more transparency to the challenge and also build people’s confidence in what he is dong, Mr Melanie said he will create proper bank accounts for each project in which potential sponsors can directly make their contributions.
Initially scheduled for Sunday April 17, the second run of the series has now been pushed forward to Saturday April 16. This is because April 17 is Easter Sunday.
For the challenge, the athletes will run from Stad Popiler up to Pointe Larue, then back to the starting point.
As was the case for the last event of the last challenge, for this year’s project, the last run will also begin at Stad Popiler and finish at the Anse Royale district administration office.
Other than helping Miss Sally, the money raised through the ‘We all have Dreams’ challenge will go towards two sculpture projects, portraying two individuals who have contributed greatly towards the country.
The first sculpture will be to honour former track and field athlete Danny Beauchamp, who always defended the Seychelles’ colours with verve and determination.
On July 4, 2004, Beauchamp's athletics career ended when he was involved in a road accident which rendered him paraplegic, and although he made every effort to overcome his disability, he was never able to walk again. He died on November 12, 2010 at the North East Point Hospice. He was 41 years old.
The other sculpture will honour Mr Melanie’s mother who did not know how to read and write, until in her late 50s when she started to follow literacy programme (progranm alfabetizasyon) and later on taught others how to write in Creole and English and count.
Mrs Melanie went on to become a well-known writer and she is considered a pioneer in Seychellois Creole literature.
Through the sculpture, Mr Melanie wants everyone, especially the youths, to understand that it is never too late to learn something new.
Raising awareness of persons with disability at work was the aim of a meeting the Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, Patricia Francourt, had yesterday with a group of individuals living with disability.
Member of the National Assembly, Naddy Zialor, Joel Melanie from ‘Run for the cause - Where there’s a will there’s a way’, the director for Special Employment Programmes, Marinette Freminot and Veronique Bresson also attended the meeting.
During that meeting Mr Melanie told the story of his journey leading towards ‘Run for the cause - Where there’s a will there’s a way’.
“I wanted to do a project to help different associations and it was materialised last year. But there was still demand for such run. I was already planning a run for two people from Anse Royale and now Shamira Sally has been added to the project for her to complete her studies and also to get a prosthetic arm. The run will be held on February 27 starting from Stad Popiler to Providence and back to Victoria. From Victoria, I will head towards Perseverance – La Retraite and complete the run in Glacis where Shamira lives. In our society, if we all pitch in, we will be able to help others mainly people with other abilities.”
Shamira Ally has been victim to some health complications and lost her right arm while studying in Malaysia.
“I deeply thank Mr. Melanie for the project he is undertaking for me. I went through a lot and the things that hurt the most was when I came back. I joined the company that used to employ me before going for further studies and one day when I entered the room, someone said ‘be oli lebra’ and others started laughing. I was deeply affected by that and I stopped working there. I did not want to stay home as I was getting emotionally affected. I contacted different places to work and through the Ministry of Employment I was able to get a job. Then I joined MCB where I got the opportunity to grow.
Ima Pillay started working at the age of 18 and has been working for more than 25 years in the private sector then joined the Ministry of Health.
“I did have some difficulties and had to explain to my co-workers. So far I am doing ok at work and I am being looked at well. I feel that my needs as a disabled are being met. My only recommendation is to have flexible time.”
Marie-Lise Morel works at SPTC. She starts work at 11am and so far enjoys what she is doing.
“I love working and love cleaning my buses. Mon debrouye e mon osi travay overtime. Mon kontan en kantite.”
Bernard Larue works for the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs. “I now love my job. Before there were some issues but the President told me to raise my voice, which I did and now things are ok. I do not let myself get bullied and my main recommendation would be for our salary to be looked into.”
MNA Zialor thanked Minister Francourt for such an initiative and also thanked Mr Melanie for helping people in Seychelles. “It is an opportune time for Seychelles to turn a new page. It is time to rethink the way we act and also the way we think. As long as we have a positive mindset, we people with other capabilities will reach our goal. Nothing is impossible. I am happy to see around the table a group of people who are also trying their best and be part of the community. I make an appeal to all who can make a difference in the life of a disabled person, please let’s give a hand! I appreciate the effort of the Ministry of Employment for helping and giving the opportunity to us disabled to work!”
Minister Francourt ended the meeting by commending the efforts of all the people with disability but with special abilities. “Together with my ministry, I will give the support to all new upcoming laws. I am happy to see that you are also not scared to make your voice heard, but we still need more awareness for Seychelles to talk about the disabled at work. They need to have the same opportunity at work and when I hear you talking about your experiences at work, I do not see victims, I see strong people who are ready to contribute towards our society. Today I would urge companies, organisations to value and welcome the disabled at work as they bring a unique value to the company/establishment. We ask the society to have respect towards everyone and we help each other.”
This meeting is the first of its kind and Minister Francourt and her team will keep working towards a more inclusive society among the establishments/organisations.
Local private employment agencies, the entities engaged in the recruitment and placement of workers for a fee which is charged directly to the employers, registered 1021 jobseekers and made 456 placements in 2021, while the number of registered vacancies was 1915.
The statistics were revealed on Friday during the first of a series of meetings between local agencies and the department of employment, headed by Minister for Employment and Social Affairs Patricia Francourt.
In Seychelles, the agencies are governed by two laws, precisely the Employment Act 1995 under the authority of the ministries responsible for employment and licences (Employment Agency) Regulations, 1995, administered by the Seychelles Licensing Authority (SLA).
Any person can open an employment agency as long as they meet the conditions of the two above-mentioned laws.
The process begins with employment department where a certificate is issued if everything is found to be in order, before the interested party can proceed to the SLA for a licence.
There are presently seven active agencies in the country, and they are engaged in registration of jobseekers, issuance of job cards, registration and publication of vacancies, job counselling and soft skills training, and also placement of jobseekers.
An employment agency shall also present in respect of each financial year a statement of accounts in such form and shall comply with the best commercial standard.
Friday’s meeting was an opportunity to reiterate on the expected procedures so that the two partners work systematically, with an outcome that benefit both.
Minister Francourt noted it is paramount that the employment department engages strongly and positively with all its prime partners, considering the local private employment agencies as one of them.
As future plans to better enfold the local agencies, Minister Francourt mentioned introduction of regulations for the agencies to better regulate their functions.
She said there will be more collaboration for re-skilling of jobseekers, and also a review of the Employment Act.
Ratification of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention on private employment agencies is also among the future plans of the department.
The purpose of the convention is to enable all private employment agencies to operate and to ensure the protection of workers using their services within the limits of its provisions. According to the convention, private employment agencies have to treat all employees equally without discrimination because of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national exclusion or social origin.
All members should adopt all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent and to eliminate unethical practices by private employment agencies.
These measures may include laws or regulations which provide for penalties, including prohibition of private employment agencies engaging in unethical practices.