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Business as usual

The foreign workforce accounted for nearly 36 per cent of Macau’s population in April 2017, but bureaucracy is still an obstacle in getting the labour needed by SMEs in a timely fashion

“In Macau, there is a lack of labour force in pretty much every sector” when it comes to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the Vice-President of the Youth Entrepreneurs Association, Jorge Valente Jr., told Business Daily.
Therefore, there is a high demand.
“Non-resident workers are highly searched for [by SMEs] in terms of quantity, in what regards restaurants, for instance, but there is also a need for technical work,” he explained.
According to the statistics released by the PSP, a total of 172,662 non-resident workers were employed in Macau in April this year
By sector of activity, hotels, restaurants and the like, and construction were the most important employers of foreign labour in the city, amounting to 50,039 workers and 34,969 workers, respectively.
Mainland Chinese workers constituted the largest majority at 114,860, followed by workers from the Philippines, at 27,255, and from Vietnam, amounting to 14,803.
While the two main sectors of activity for Mainland Chinese were hotels, restaurants and the like (36,981), and construction (32,271), workers from the Philippines found more jobs in domestic work (13,153), and Vietnamese in construction (2,204).
Speaking about the sectors of activity for which SMEs often seek to employ foreign labour, Valente said that the demand for non-qualified labour was higher in construction, and that qualified labour, although smaller, was also important for activities such as IT (e.g.) coding, and trading (e.g.) logistics.
As for the country or localities of origin of non-resident workforce hired or searched for by SMEs, Valente explained that “the problem is not so much about where workers come from [but] “the processing time” for the issuance of work permits.
“The government had improved the situation [of SMEs] by allowing work permits to be applied for before the licence for operating a news business is issued,” he said.
However, he added, “it is still necessary to have more flexibility in terms of who we want to hire and the time for getting a foreign worker to be allowed access to Macau, which is still a general problem for both qualified and non-qualified [work].”
Comments by the Association VP were sought by Business Daily as the Public Security Forces (PSP) released data about the number, country of origin, and sector of activity of non-residents working in Macau during the month of April 2017.
We also contacted the PSP to ask for more detailed information but had received no reply by the time this story had gone to print.
We sought further comments from major casino operators, since they have a large number of employees on their payroll, many of whom are likely non-resident staff, but received no replies before closing this story.