Friday, June 9, 2023

Ministry’s decision on emergency work permits may cause havoc

The decision by the Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs to cease issuance of emergency work permits could further upset the business community

A statement from the Ministry of Labor and Home affairs indicates that the decision follows the realization that a majority of applicants for such permits have been have abusing the dispensation by applying for emergency work permits even where there is no emergency. 

“This has resulted in a backlog and delay in processing regular applications for work and residence permits for deserving applicants,” read a statement by the Ministry. 

The Ministry defines an emergency as a sudden, unexpected or impending situation that may cause injury, loss of life, damage to the property, and/or interference with the normal activities of a person or firm and which, therefore, requires immediate attention and remedial action. Emergency work permits are issued through the Department of Labor and Social Security. According to the Ministry, only genuine emergency applications will be processed. 

However, the business community has on numerous occasions vehemently decried that the work permit as well as visa applications framework used by the Ministry, saying it was inflexible and as such fails to recognize the impediments caused to the business environment.  Following the 2015/16 budget speech Business Botswana (BB) cited its position on the issuance of work permits with regard to its impact on doing business in the country. Business Botswana said the negative impact of arbitrary rejections of work permits for skilled people creates uncertainty and undermines the private sector’s ability to expand and create jobs. The Telegraph contacted Business Botswana President Leta Mosienyane to respond the Ministry’s recent statement to which he responded that he was not aware of the Ministry’s decision as he had been away on holiday. “I will phone the Permanent Secretary in the morning to get the statement and we will as Business Botswana give our position on the matter by midday,” he said.


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