Commissioner cautions against overcharging seasonal workers

Labour Commissioner Murielle Meltenoven

Commissioner of Labour Murielle Meltenoven, said while the Labour Department respects the Judicial Review decision on Mrs Sylvie Kalmet’s Seasonal Workers License, and the order to reissue her Licenses, it should not set a precedent that agents are allowed to charge fees to the workers.

“The Court Case should not set precedent that agents are allowed to charge fees to the workers because if we allow them to do so, it will diminish our reputation and integrity.

“The court case is all about the refusal for granting her (Mrs Kalmet) licenses but the main issue of charging fees still remains,” the Labour Commissioner stated.

“The Labour Department will continue to monitor the conduct of all approved agents and will make sure that seasonal workers are not overcharged by an approved agent, especially during this critical time of COVID-19 where everyone is trying his or her best to earn income to support their families.

Further to that in the code of conduct of agents which forms part of the new agent policy guideline in the year 2020, it provides that agents are not allowed to receive any forms of gift from any returning workers that are participating in the Seasonal Work Program.

“All agents and workers must understand that the future of Labour Mobility remains entirely in their good hands and should they continue to practise those activities which contradicts the provisions of Seasonal Employment, it will put into question the integrity of Vanuatu as one of the largest sending countries in the Pacific region.”

She concluded, “Lastly, it is the role of the Department of Labour, being the government agency, responsible for the implementation of the overall Labour Mobility Program to set direction to all agents and continue to monitor their conduct regarding the issue of fees and to make sure that all agents do adhere with the provisions of the Seasonal Employment Act.”

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