Supporting the Policy Environment for Economic Development

The Impact of Foreign Employment in Mozambique

There is an increasing rhetoric about an influx of foreigners into Mozambique, with high profile cases of foreigners being returned to their countries of origin either on arrival due to lack of adequate visas or documentation, or by having work permits revoked due to alleged abuses of Mozambican staff, regularly making the headlines.

While there is a natural desire on the part of the Mozambican authorities to ensure that any influx of foreigners does not damage Mozambican workers’ opportunities, it is important to seek ways to do this that do not damage the need for promoting both foreign and national direct investment and creating a business-friendly environment.

It is necessary to distinguish between immigration issues – people coming to the country without fulfilling the requirements for entry – and labour issues – people working without correct permission. It is also important to distinguish between situations caused by lack of correct implementation of existing rules (for example, people working illegally on tourist visas) and any inadequacies in the rules themselves. It is hoped that the issues raised in the report will contribute to an informed national debate on the best way to handle a perceived influx of foreigners into Mozambique, and how to position the country so as to take advantage of the forthcoming extractive industry boom to develop broad based, inclusive growth that provides real increases in living standards through the creation of quality, high productivity jobs for Mozambicans.

This short study does not aim to be nationally representative, although respondents come from a number of provinces and sectors, and from both foreign and nationally owned firms, all firms surveyed being Mozambican registered and tax payers. We do, however, hope to identify some of the key issues that should factor in the debate, and to move beyond rhetoric to understanding what is really driving hiring practices and what has been the impact of the current system on job opportunities for nationals. We will also attempt to assess what could be some possible implications of proposed alterations to the regulations governing hiring of foreign labour.

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