Mr. Mohamed Rahma Swaray, the Minister of Employment, Labour, and Social Security, recently convened with the Steering Committee of International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) in Sierra Leone. The purpose of this meeting was to provide an update on the revised arrangements for Work Permits. This initiative was prompted by the Ministry’s recent notification of an increase in the fees associated with work permits for foreign workers in Sierra Leone. The expectation is that this information will be disseminated to all INGOs operating within the country.
During the meeting, Mr. Fodeba Daboh, the Director-General of the Local Content Agency, stressed the significance of prioritizing the employment of nationals. He underscored the importance of tapping into the local labor market to identify potential employees, ensuring that there are no qualified Sierra Leoneans who could better fill a vacant position before considering the recruitment of a foreign worker. Mr. Daboh emphasized that the Local Content Act complements existing Labor Laws, and violations of these regulations will be dealt with sternly.
The Minister elucidated that the adjustment in work permit fees was motivated by a commitment to generating more employment opportunities for Sierra Leoneans, aligning with the President’s agenda to create 500,000 jobs for the country’s citizens. The decision to revise fees resulted from extensive consultations with the Ministry’s Social Partners and a comparative analysis of work permit fees in the sub-region.
Employers were urged to treat this information seriously, emphasizing the need for a thorough understanding of the Work Permit Act 2023 and the Work Permit Regulation 2024. To facilitate comprehension, Mr. Sinneh Bockarie, the Acting Director of Labour and Employment, delivered a presentation outlining key provisions of the Work Permit Act 2023, Regulation 2024, and proposed work permit fees.
The meeting concluded with a session for questions, answers, and discussions, allowing stakeholders to engage in a meaningful exchange of ideas and concerns.