Foreign workers in Mauritius appearon track to overshoot the 40,000-mark soon, representing a whopping 20% increase over 2008.

According to latest figures released by the Ministry of Labour, the figure for valid work permits corresponding to foreign workers at the end of January 2014 stood at 39,378, comprising 28,622 new work permits and 10,756 renewals.

Of these, the majority of work permits were issued to Asians with Bangladesh leading at 18,898, followed by India at 9,052, then China at 4,390 and finally Sri Lanka at 1,865. The neighbouring island of Madagascar also contributed significantly to incoming workers at 3,757.

For the month of January 2014, work permits issued and renewed were 1962, of which 916 were allocated, 482 to Indian workers, 245 to Malagasy workers, 204 to Chinese workers and 73 to Sri Lankan workers.

On a sector-wise basis, of the total 39,378 work permits in circulation, the manufacturing sector saw the maximum work permits issued and renewed at 30,422 while the construction sector lagged at 5,739.

For the month of January 2014, almost two-thirds of the 1,962 work permits issued and renewed, 1,269, were for the manufacturing sector.

Last September, the Ministry of Labour took the decision to freeze the recruitment of foreign workers in the construction sector, so their numbers are gradually dwindling.

Coming to the bigger picture, as many as 40,363 people across Mauritius and Rodrigues are registered for jobs.

Of these, a little less than half (20,024) are unemployed while the remainder (20,612) are employed but are searching for a better job.

A gender-wise classification shows a high proportion of females among the registered unemployed at 74%, against 26% for males.

According to the Ministry’s policy for Youth Unemployment Programme, job seekers aged 16 to 25 years are entitled to enter the programme.

As at the end of January 2014, 10,505 aged 16-25 years were registered, out of which 6,725 were unemployed jobseekers and 3,780 were in-employment jobseekers.

Among the registered unemployed jobseekers, there were 4,137 (62%) female and 2,588 (38%) male youths. Most job seekers were found in the range SC (28%) while 24% have succeeded in their HSC and only 5% of the job seekers have not completed primary education.

The above data has been compiled by the Ministry of Labour on the basis of information collected at the thirteen Employment Information Centres throughout the island and at the different units of the Employment Service Main Office.

Image (SLFEA): Out of the 39,378 foreign workers in the island economy, the majority of work permits were issued to Asians with Bangladesh leading at 18,898, followed by India, China and Sri Lanka.

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