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Lack of foreign workers has local businesses scrambling

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Mauritian exports have been a rare bright spot in the struggling economy, but migrant worker shortages are threatening labour-intensive sectors, undermining a fragile recovery as the island struggles with its worst COVID-19 outbreak yet.

Even as global demand rebounds and the depreciation of the Rupee makes Mauritian goods more attractive, a lack of migrant workers is threatening exports as the economy already faces a slow tourism revival and sluggish domestic consumption due to virus containment measures.

The situation has reportedly hit hard the members of the Mauritius Exports Association (MEXA), which has sought the urgent intervention of Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth.

According to l’Express, MEXA has claimed to be short of 2,500 foreign workers in export-oriented companies, over several sectors.

According to the newspaper, most companies are running at less than 50% capacity. If the situation persists, many will have to close down.

The MEXA has reportedly blamed the Ministry of Labour for delays in granting work permits, coupled with stringent sanitary protocols “that are discriminatory against migrant workers by compelling a seven-day isolation in a separate dormitory.”

Only four of the 17 dormitories have been inspected so far without being approved.

MEXA also reportedly denounced that since September 2021, some 27 letters of intent have been sent to the Ministry of Labour and Employment and only nine have been approved so far.

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