During the plenary session in the Legislative Assembly (AL) yesterday, lawmaker Chan Hong recommended that the Macau government create a blacklist for non-resident workers, in order to reduce the number of disputes regarding non-resident domestic workers.
The debate on domestic workers was triggered by an oral enquiry submitted by Melinda Chan. She pointed out that Macau does not have a specific law that governs non-resident domestic workers. The lawmaker thinks that it has led to some workers profiting from the legal loophole.
Her colleague, Chan Hong, alleged that some non-resident domestic workers show no respect to the elderly family members of their employers. She also mentioned that there are cases of abused children and stealing.
“Perhaps there is a way to set up a blacklist, like what the nearby region is doing, so that those [non-resident domestic workers] will be treated as persona non grata. By doing this, we can reject those domestic workers [on the blacklist] when they are trying to apply for a job here in the future.”
Chan Hong continued to ask whether the government has the plan to establish such a name list, and what the administration’s future plan is on the regulation of non-resident domestic workers.
Several lawmakers also claimed that residents have visited them and complained about some of the behavior of domestic workers.
One of them was Lei Cheng I, who suggested that the crux of the issue is that non-resident domestic workers are allowed to come here as tourists and find jobs, as well as changing jobs while staying here. She believes that the government can easily resolve the issue through compelling non-resident workers to leave Macau once their employment here is finished, and then not allowing them to find a new job casually.
Pereira Coutinho, pointed out that non-resident domestic workers come to Macau with the hope of seeking employment opportunities in casinos.“It is a fact that [some non-resident domestic workers] only stay in a job temporarily in order to find another position here. Frankly, the domestic workers want to work for the casino operators. This is very normal.”
Si Ka Lon, on the other hand, claimed that the responsibility is on the employment agencies. He said that the current system is not protecting both parties in an employment contract, and suggested that sometimes the agencies have misled the employers regarding the capability of domestic workers.
Furthermore, Si Ka Lon pointed out that many domestic workers are exploited. “I have heard some cases where the domestic workers have to pay [the agencies] a 10-month salary’s worth of commission… When a worker has to work for almost a year before being able to send money back home, what do you think the likelihood would be that there are disputes?”
Lam Heong Sang also suggested that it is easy to open an employment agency here and it is very difficult for the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) to regulate them.He added that there was a period in Macau history when the city was a human trafficking spot. “We should not let this continue now. It is not beneficial to continue this after 200 years,” he remarked.
DSAL Director Wong Chi Hong claimed that his bureau has finished drafting the amendment to the legislation that governs employment agencies. The amendment will be handed to the Standing Committee for the Coordination of Social Affairs for further discussion.
GIT confirms LRT line passes by reclamation ZONE A
The head of the Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT), Lei Chan Tong, has reiterated in the AL that there will be a Light Rapid Transit (LRT) line built in zone A of the future reclamation area. As for the total cost of the LRT project, the Secretary for Transportation and Public Works, Lau Si Io, claimed that a more accurate estimation will be available once the LRT route is confirmed.