Over 7,000 employment contracts not renewed or cancelled in four months

More than 7,000 employment contracts were cancelled or not renewed in Macau from February to May, authorities said today (Tuesday) to Lusa.

Since the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was felt in Macau – in particular the temporary closure of local casinos in February – and until May a total of 2,141 employment permits for non-resident workers were cancelled,’ the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) stated.

On the other hand, DSAL said, “a total of 5,064 employment permits have not been renewed”, despite the fact that the Government has decided to use MOP38.95 billion (US$4.8 billion) from the local special financial reserve to respond the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Between February and May, and according to data released on Friday by the Public Security Police Force, there was a reduction of 2,103 non-resident workers in the territory.

DSAL also justified that ‘the basic principle of the Government’s labour import policy is to ensure that the priority employment of local workers and labour rights are not damaged’.

The hiring of non-local labour ‘only complements local human resources’, the department stressed.

Macau authorities added that they had received 49 complaints involving 55 non-resident workers who had their contracts canceled or not renewed.

‘If violations of labour laws and regulations are found’, the Government will ‘follow up in accordance with the law to protect the legitimate rights and interests of employees’, DSAL added..

In February, Macau went ahead with a series of measures to contain the pandemic: it sent workers home, it ordered the casinos to be closed for at least 15 days, something that led to an almost complete paralysis of the economy.

In a city of about 30 square kilometers, Macau registered more than 35 million tourists in 2018 and almost 40 in 2019, but this year, until May, the number of visitors was only 3.2 million, 81.1 per cent less than in the same period last year, in a territory whose economy is highly dependent on tourism.

On Monday, the latest revision of the University of Macau’s macroeconomic forecasts pointed to a fall between 54.5 and 60 per cent in the territory’s Gross Domestic Product for this year.

On Friday, health services announced a new case of contagion of COVID-19, the first in the city since April 9.

From June 17 until July 16, a special corridor between the territory and Hong Kong is open, to allow people trapped by the pandemic to return home.

In the past few days, there has been an increasing number of flights for the repatriation of citizens of the Philippines, Nepal and Myanmar who have had their contracts cancelled or not renewed.

Macau was one of the first territories to identify cases of infection with the COVID-19, before the end of January.