Egypt's labour minister to stop issuing work permits to foreigners

Bassem Abou Alabass, Saturday 12 Mar 2011

New Labour Minister El-Borai announced he will stop issuing work permits to foreigners amidst resentment of employers who take advantage of cheap foreign labour

Egyptian Labour

The new Minister of Labour and Immigration Ahmed Hassan El-Borai declared that Egypt will stop issuing work permits for foreigners in the coming period, offering Egyptian workers a hope for jobs in this new era.

El-Borai announced yesterday that "It’s better for Egypt if locals have work in their country,” although he did add that the government may still grant work permits to highly-skilled foreigners with rare specializations.

“I will meet with businessmen to discuss reducing the proportion of foreign workers in Egypt,” he confirmed.‪

“This is a great decision from the new minister,” said Abd El-Rahmaan Kheir, a member of the National Labour Union to Ahram Online.

Although Abd El-Rahmaan opposed the appointment of El-Borai for the ministerial post because he is not seen as a union figure, he does appreciate El-Borai’s decision. He argues that it will save job opportunities for Egyptians, boost wages and prevent employers from taking advantage of the presence of these foreigners once they enter the market.

“Employers rely on foreigners because they escape their responsibilities to pay social insurance, they are not bound by labour laws and can sack foreigners without redress, besides the fact that foreigners get paid less than Egyptians,” he adds

The decision also comes welcome in light of certain practices by the ousted Mubarak government. The previous minister, Aisha Abd El-Hady, for example, raised the proportion of foreigners permitted to work in Egypt from 10 per cent to 13 per cent in the spinning and weaving sector.

In total, the number of foreign workers in Egypt exceeded 20 thousand in the private sector.

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