Vanuatu cuts work permit fees

The Vanuatu Government has reduced the cost of fees for work permits for local businesses, from VT350,000 to VT180,000

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs, Ishmael Kalsakau, says the reduction is to help business owners cope with the impacts of COVID-19.

The Minister signed off on the reduction this week saying it was effective immediately, with all work permit fees now reduced to VT180,000 as gazetted by the State Law Office.

Minister Kalsakau says the cut to the cost of the permits will help bring people to Vanuatu who can “improve the workforce to create a pool of professional workers in the future”.

He says the cuts will make it easier for the Government to bring in skilled foreigners to work on government projects; and for the private sector to continue to operate and attract investment.

The Chairman of the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Antoine Boudier, has supported the Government’s action.

Mr Boudier says the Government’s action to reduce work permit fees, revise business license fees and modify the List of Reserved Occupations, will build business confidence.

“I think with this reduction, business people can build their capacity and revenue to Government will increase,” he said.

The Commissioner of Labour, Murielle Metsan Meltenoven, warned that while the cuts to work permit fees will create new opportunities, the private sector must respect Vanuatu’s labour laws.

She called on the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce to urge its members to continue to comply with the labour laws.

Mrs Metsan says the Labour Department is looking forward to working in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce to implement the changes.

Chief Executive Officer for the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority, Howard Aru, says the authority has more than 300 work permits currently awaiting approval.

Minister Kalsakau says the Government will review and change the work permit fee decision once the economic situation starts to recover from COVID-19.

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