Minister of Homeland Security, Richard Chimwendo Banda has expressed concern over lack of documentation for some expatriates who come in the country to work.
Speaking when he paid a surprise visit to Salima Sugar Company, on his series of familiarisation tours to some companies, Chimwendo Banda said he has noted that most of the expatriates who are working in the country lack documentation.
During the visit to the company the Minister discovered that over 60 Indian nationals including some top management officials do not have work permits, a development he described as unfortunate.
“We were tipped that there are so many people working without documentation here and our conclusion after the visit is that it is true that almost many people working here have no permits.
“We have asked for their files from their headquarters and we will be following them up,” said Chimwendo.
The Minister was however, quick to point out that the motive of his tour was not to scare away investors or torture anyone but to make sure that everyone who comes to develop this country must follow the law.
“Work permits are a well-known thing for everyone or any investor. There is no excuse one can give for them to invest in Malawi without a work permit. What we want is to make sure that they follow the law,” said the Minister.
He added: “No one should just come here and start working without following the right procedures on what the law says on work permits for foreigners.”
Chimwendo also expressed concern over a tendency of employing more foreigners than locals saying much as the country needs expatriates, there is also need to employ locals on jobs that they can manage.
“We have also been notified of a tendency of employing foreigners on jobs that Malawians can also do. We appreciate that on each and every work there must be some expatriates and that a factory like this one cannot run without such people.
“We appreciate that they can do their job but there are also other jobs that locals can ably do without being an expert,” said Chimwendo.
On this point the Minister said he will work hand in hand with the Minister of labour to make sure that Malawians are also considered and that jobs are created for them.
The reporter failed to get a comment from Salima Sugar Company officials who said were not willing to speak to the media.
Speaking in an interview with Mana, one of the workers who did not want to be mentioned said the minister’s visit was a relief for them saying it could be a chance for their voices to be heard.
“We face so many challenges here which include low wages, inhuman treatment and lack of protective equipment among others which when we try to voice out nothing changes. We would like the minister to hear our stories so that he can act,” he said.
Salima Sugar Company is a limited company which has its main business of producing and selling sugar.<