Letter to the editor |03 March 2021
Expat rights is a human right !!
- Expat or local, whatever the circumstances pay them their dues
If the whole of our government is fighting for the rights of every Seychelles citizen, who then is fighting for the rights of EXPATS??
As a concerned citizen I chose to voice out on an issue that is becoming at this stage inhumane in my opinion. I am proud to be a citizen of Seychelles and to watch the changes that have come about in my small island developing state. After reading yesterday’s article with regard to expat workers not getting paid I really cannot keep silent.
The Seychelles president has made it clear that our country is going to move forward and that we will see a lot of changes and reform. All of this is good but I believe what is most important is to change our mindset in improving and learning to adopt to the new changes and norm. I will not stop advocating for what is right though. As a young professional myself I must state the obvious. We all need to realise that in the economic crisis we are currently facing, a lot of the bad habits and unprofessional behaviour we see from some of our own Seychelles citizens are not being addressed. There is no proper grace period given to a company nor to the whole of Seychelles professionals to prepare for the change in the need to “prioritising a local worker”. Our system needs that grace period to, as we would say, “clean and reorganise our closets’, in all sectors – education being a priority. Be that as it may, this is a whole different issue we can argue about another time.
This demand in shifting priority is forcing me to ask the most obvious question that is not being addressed in my opinion. Who is fighting for the EXPAT workers when all laws in Seychelles are fighting for Seychelles citizens? Companies for example based on yesterday’s article where expat workers voiced out their disappointments and frustration where after being made redundant the promises of their payment was flushed down the toilet. A company such as APEX are sending their Expat worker’s back to their home country without paying them their dues. Is this really our reality now? Where we just sit down and let things like this happen? Makes me question everything. Are redundancy of Expat workers occurring without proper notice or grace period? To companies that are following the Employment “laws”, like APEX based in the article, it appears they are smart to terminate their own employees who have worked tirelessly for years but are using the very “laws” to drag a case or the negation procedures to such a time until and when their expat worker’s GOP expires, and the redundant staff is forced to leave the country with no pay or any form of respect, dignity or courtesy. I am sure that APEX could have negotiated an understanding with its Expats by suggesting some form of gradual payment in portion if really they cannot pay them in full. Is the human resource department really unable to see how inhumane it is to withhold money owed to a worker when they need it to feed and survive in this pandemic crisis? I am really curious to understand what and where it all went wrong. That a company has made its problem became an employee’s problem. I am sure that they did not choose to be made redundant.
Just because an expat is not a citizen of Seychelles it does not change the fact that the expat workers are also human beings, who have lived here and worked for these so-called companies private or otherwise. Those expat workers have families just like you and me. So what then of their human rights? Who really is fighting for them? I respect the work and all that the ministry departments I’m sure are doing but nevertheless, what laws allow for companies to drag any worker’s payment from December 2020 till current March 3, 2021?
How can a ministry allow for an expat to be forced or encouraged out of a country when in Seychelles clearly the laws are protecting business owners who are playing with their expat workers’ livelihood by smartly evading the law, dragging a case and making false promises of a payment that an expat worker will never see. Is Seychelles really that inhumane, that in all the changes that are occurring we are forgetting to be human ourselves? If I were an expat, I would not leave any country until you pay what I am owed and promised.
If a worker has not been paid their dues, why does the Ministry of Employment protect a company and instead hide behind laws that punish an expat worker by forcing them to leave the country because of “an expired GOP” and once they exit our country, they will never see their money. Shouldn’t the said company be held to a higher accountability measure?
Human rights belong to everyone and that means an EXPAT’S RIGHT IS A HUMAN RIGHT AS WELL!
A concerned citizen
The views expressed in this letter are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Seychelles NATION newspaper.