5 Feb 2007

Marshalls lawmakers urged to revise labour law

4:11 pm on 5 February 2007

There is a push for the Marshall Islands parliament or nitijela to amend its strict new alien labour law.

The president of the chamber of commerce, Jack Niedenthal, says the private sector is wholly opposed to the law which appears to be more about illegal overstayers than regulating a foreign workforce.

He says one of the issues they're concerned about is the clause in the law that requires foreign workers at the end of a two year contract, to leave the country and not come back for three years.

Mr Niedenthal says employers will find themselves training up accountants, teachers and engineers only to find they then leave and there are other concerns as well.

"The other issue we have with that law is that it makes the government exempt from the law. So, in other words, they can go and hire whatever foreign labour they want and not have to worry about all these very strict consequences if the law is not followed."

Mr Niedenthal says employees can face up to ten years in jail and employers five years as well as stiff penalties if they're found breaking the law.

He says a private sector delegation has been to the Foreign Minister to complain.