Amendments will now be made to the Employment Relations (Employment Agencies) Regulations (EREAR) 2008 to protect Fijians against neglect by overseas employment agencies.
Cabinet this week agreed that amendments be made to the EREAR to replace the current $20,000 “surety bond” provision with appropriate “bank surety bond” or “cash bond”.
This is to ensure ready availability of cash to repatriate any overseas worker in the event of dereliction of duty by any employment agency.
Cabinet based its decision on a submission by the Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, Mr Jone Usamate.
The Minister said that following the recent Mikaele Delana case, it has become evident that the current “surety bond” policy in which an employment agency provides a surety on itself, needs an urgent review to make it more effective to adequately protect our citizens from recruiting agencies whilst promoting employment of our people.
Mr Mikaele Delana, who was recruited by a local employment agency, had to be repatriated by Government at the direct intervention of the Prime Minister, because the company could not meet repatriation costs after Mr Delana was hospitalized in July 2010 and in a coma in Dubai while en-route to his employment destination in Iraq.
The Minister said that the relevant provisions under the EREAR will be amended to effectively address cases of neglect by an employment agency in the event of repatriating its overseas worker in cases of injury, death or abscondment.
The Minister said that in addition to amendments being made to the Regulations, it is also important for people to see the current registration certificate of recruitment agencies before using their services.