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Liberia: Major Investors Denied Work Permits for Foreign Staff

… Says Labor Ministry: “to uplift Liberian workforce.”

The Ministry of Labour has denied Firestone, ArcelorMittal Liberia, and a host of other companies’ requests for work permits for a new batch of expatriate workforce.

The Ministry’s decision, which was taken pursuant to Chapter 45 Section 1 of the Decent Work Act of 2015, affects entities Cemenco, Orange GSM Company, GVL, WBHOSC Limited, CROWE Liberia, among others.

Positions affected include HR System & Control Specialist, Dedicated Logistics Manager, Senior Assurance Manager, and Quality Assurance Manager. Other positions include Engagement Manager, Resources Coordinator, Head of Procurement & Logistics, Safety Officer, and more.

Labor Minister, Cllr. Charles Gibson has emphasized that the decision was part of the government’s commitment to uphold labor laws and provide Liberian citizens with the opportunity to secure these positions.

“Our goal is to ensure that Liberians are given the first opportunity to fill positions within their own country,” Gibson said. “By requiring companies to publish job vacancies, we create a level playing field for our citizens to showcase their skills and talents.

“It is important to note that the decision to hire foreign workers will only come into play when qualified Liberian candidates do not meet the criteria for a given position,” the Minister added. “Foreign workers are intended to complement, rather than replace, local talent.”

“To facilitate knowledge transfer and skills development, the Ministry of Labour has mandated that for every foreign worker hired, a Liberian counterpart must work closely with the expatriate, ensuring expertise exchange and a lasting impact on the local workforce,” Gibson said.

The Ministry added that it has mandated companies seeking to employ foreign workers for specific positions to publish job vacancies in local news outlets for a minimum of three consecutive days.

This transparent approach, the Ministry said, would ensure that qualified Liberians would have ample time to apply and compete for these positions per Liberia’s labor laws and the Decent Work Act of 2015.

“The Ministry’s resolute stance on denying work permits to foreign workers underscores its dedication to empowering Liberian citizens and cultivating a self-sufficient workforce. This aligns with the government’s broader vision of fostering economic growth and reducing unemployment rates.

“By fostering a culture of knowledge exchange and prioritizing the employment of Liberians, the Ministry of Labour aims to create a thriving labor market that benefits both foreign investors and the local population,” the Minister added.

“As Liberia strives for sustainable development, this bold action by the Ministry of Labour stands as a testament to its commitment to enhancing opportunities for its citizens,” Gibson said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour has noted that it remains steadfast in promoting fair labor practices, fostering a skilled workforce, and advancing employment opportunities for the country’s citizens.

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