Proposed Law Change Targets Tourists Seeking Jobs in Macau

Tourists coming to Macau whose plan is also to seek employment in the former Portuguese colony are the target of a proposed amendment of a local law.

The legislative amendment was submitted on Friday to the Standing Committee for the Coordination of Social Affairs for discussion.

According to Wong Chi Hong, director of the Labour Affairs Bureau, visitors who aim to land domestic worker jobs in Macau or apply for non-specialized jobs must get a work permit before they arrive in Macau, Jornal Do Cidadao reported.

Employers have to apply for work permits from the government for the people they want to hire.

The amendment of the law, Wong said, could determine the purpose of visitors entering Macau: travel or looking for a job. Currently, a tourist can visit Macau and become a non-local employee without leaving the territory.

The plan has been met with apprehension from the business sector.

Wong Sai Man, a member of the Macau Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, said he feared the amendment would affect non-resident workers in the city, as they would have to leave Macau for a certain time before getting a work permit for a new job or a new employer. He added that it was not easy for employers to supplement their workforce especially if they have a small company or if a family needs people to take care of young children and elderly citizens.

Choi Kam Fu, an employee representative of the committee, said the amendment could not stop visitors from hunting job in the city but it would add one step to employment procedures, and migrant workers could, in theory, leave Macau for Hong Kong and return on the same day if they could get a work permit.