Monday, February 2, 2009

Circular migration takes shape between Mauritius and France

By Hamish Ramdharry, 16th January, 2009

The Franco-Mauritian treaty on circular migration is in the final stages. French trained Mauritian employees will return to the country on expiry of their contract and Government expects them to turn employers when they are back home, says Foreign Minister, Dr Arvin Boolell.

The first batch of Mauritians will be off to work by October 2009, the Minister says and explains that this treaty is highly beneficial to budding Mauritian entrepreneurs.

“The first 500 workers will be ready to leave under the programme by October this year and many more are to follow,” he adds.

He points out that locals who are working in a particular sector may have the opportunity to work with French based entrepreneurs in scarcity areas for a maximum period of fifteen months. The workers will increase their knowledge and skills and, at the same time, have the opportunity to save some money.

These people, when they return, will be supported to open a business with the money they have saved and the skills they have gained. If for example they have saved euros 1000, the Mauritian Government and the French Government will increase the sum with a matching grant and in the end the entrepreneurs will have euros 2000 to start their business. The idea is that, when they leave as employees, they will return as employers and create jobs,” says Minister Boolell before adding: “It is not compulsory for them to take advantage of the matching grant. It would be wise to grasp this advantage as it will be beneficial to them. There are one million euros available for re-skilling and we must identify the needs of France.”

According to the Foreign Office, there are 61 sectors that are in demand and a wide range of jobs are on the cards. People with formal and informal skills are required to work in France, and Mauritius will benefit from the experience as they apply this in the country.

“This is an excellent initiative and on a basis of reciprocity, French workers will be coming to Mauritius. Those who go abroad will benefit from accompanying measures in finding lodging in the vicinity of their place of work and they will have health and insurance support also.”

Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Development Partnership, assistant director, Hubert Blaison, points out that despite a recession running through Europe, the time is ripe for circular migration. He feels that such initiatives will benefit all parties and will bring much needed expertise to the country. “This is a pilot project and we will make sure that everything is in order to ensure that this initiative will be a success. We will see how things go and make adjustments and tweaks as things progress. We hope that more will follow,” he says.

He adds that the sector that would prove most beneficial to both countries in terms of employment and expertise is the hotel sector. “This is an area where we can learn from both countries and people, on their return, can start their own business or bring added value to already established hotel players,” he says.