March 2, 2017 (Koror, Palau) Effective today, March 2, 2017, Bureau of Immigration and Labor will not be accepting or processing any new applications for workers from Bangladesh.  Only those applications already in process will continue to be processed. This was the directive issued yesterday by Vice President/Minister of Justice Raynold Oilouch to the Acting Director of the Bureau of Immigration and Labor Sylverius Tellei. [restrict]

According to the directive, the suspension in hiring of new workers from Bangladesh is a result of public complaints as well as the Senate Joint Resolution expressing concern about the seemingly drastic rise in the number of Bangladeshi nationals in Palau.

Complaints cites workers arriving with little or no experience in the work they applied for, little or no understanding of basic English language to adequately communicate and in engaging in work or businesses in violation of Palau laws.

The directive further notes that the authority that was granted under former Minister of Justice Antonio Bells, allowed for hiring of Bangladeshi workers under stricter screening process  is being abused.

The Minister of Justice has contracted a review of the Bureau of Immigration and Labor and one of the major areas to be addressed will be the employment processing of Bangladesh nationals.

“It is therefore necessary to once again suspend the hiring of Bangladesh workers until a more controlled hiring process is developed,” stated Minister Raynold Oilouch of the Minsitry of Justice.

As of  December 2016, 1,220 Bangladish workers with valid working permits were in Palau and 431 applications were already being processed.  This brings the total of Bangladesh workers up to 1,651, doubling the numbers from a year ago of 763. (L.N. Reklai)