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[Media Release - MFAI]

Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki - Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration


Immigration call for patience as government progress targeted support to foreign workers and employers of foreign workers


Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) is calling on all employers of Foreign workers to not terminate employment of foreign workers but instead maintain them on the business payroll, if necessary on leave without pay, whilst government progress multi-agency work to develop targeted business continuity and workforce preservation policies and implementation processes.

MFAI Principal Immigration Officer (PIO) Kairangi Samuela said “we all recognize that a number of businesses across our economy have had to close because of the far reaching and sudden impacts domestically and globally of the corona virus. We seek the patience of both employers of foreign workers and foreign workers while MFAI, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and other agencies focus effort on fleshing out policies and processes which are targeted and responsive to the critical needs of our overall workforce, including foreign worker employer/employee support packages to be funded through the Covid-19 Economic Response Package.”

“It is not the time to send people away but to see how we can support each other,” said Ms Samuela.

Samuela reiterated the importance of Employer/employee contractual obligations noting with the hold on passenger arrivals, Immigration staff would now be able to give some dedicated resources to working directly with foreign workers and foreign worker employers.

MFAI are exploring amendments to work permit processing and fees conditions as part of governments support towards business continuity and workforce presentation. It is intended some flexibility will be provided to extend permits, without fee implications through to at least 24th May to accommodate for extensive global border restrictions and in line with the roll out of governments Covid-19 ERP.

Queries on this media release and work on greater support for employers of foreign workers and foreign workers can be directed to the Immigration Division on 29 347 or email immigration2@cookislands.gov.ck


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