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Addressing Professional Skills shortage in Mauritius Service sector

Date: 26th August, 2009

Prepare by Luc Wong
CIM, Mbus, Mcom

For the Ministry of Industry, Science and Research

Permanent Secretary
S. Ragen



From an economical perspective, the evolution of industry transition from

primary, secondary to tertiary is shifting the Mauritian economy from a
manufacturing export dependant economy to a service oriented export
economy. It is important to have a steady skill supply of professionals for the
development of the service industry. During the past three months several
newspapers (Business Magazine No: 880,884 & 879; Le Mauricien: 07/05/09,
20/06/09, 29/07/09; LExpress: 18/08/09) featured articles about shortage of
skilled workers in the ICT/BPO, finance/banking, and other sector. The growth
and development of the services industry depends upon the quality and
quantity of our knowledge capital workforce.
It can be observed from the Draft Education & Human Resources Strategy
Plan (2008-2020) that no provision was made to bridge the gap of existing
shortage of professional skills in Mauritius. A short term strategy that can be
adopted to solve this shortage of skills is temporary professional migration.
This could be an effective strategy to immediately remediate the shortage of
professional skilled workforce in Mauritius


Addressing Professional Skills shortage in Mauritius Service


In the short term, without making any changes to migration policies and
regulation, Mauritius can open its door to these demand skills in the very short
term through existing Non Government Organisation (NGO). These
organisation are:
1. International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
2. Volunteer for International Experience (VIF)
3. University exchange Internship program
Mauritius can seek help from these organizations to communicate and promote
the country as a suitable destination for overseas skilled workers to do their
internship, start their professional career or to develop their career. It will be
more appropriate to target very young professional skill workers to fill in the
short comings.

Segments of professional workers to be targeted:

Undergraduates (university exchange internship programs)
Fresh graduates with no professional experiences
Fresh graduates with two to three years of professional experiences



Benefits to gain from Foreign Skill Workers:

The exchange interaction between the local and the foreign skilled workers will
Knowledge transfer
Enterprise cultural diversification
Enrichment of work environment
Enrichment of social environment
Exportation of Mauritius as a Brand
Increase of consumption critical mass
Economies of Scale, higher productivity
Sustainable late night shopping or 24/7 program

Other economic benefits can be illustrated as the Ripple Effect to

others sectors/industries of the Mauritian economy.

The Ripple Effects of Foreign Skill Workers

As an example, a foreign worker coming to Mauritius to work for a period not

exceeding 2 years will help create a balance supply of skill labor in the local
market and reduce employment poaching as well as salary competitiveness.


While the foreign worker is residing in Mauritius, other non-service sector will
also benefit economic value from it. Also the foreign worker will require the
services of a property agent to find him/her an apartment to live, pays for
his/her Utilities, Groceries shopping at the local supermarket, commute to his
work place, do local tourist during the week end, seek entertainments in clubs,
enjoy our restaurants and surely encourage their family and friends to visit
Mauritius while he is living and working in Mauritius.
In the long term, Mauritius can inspire to adopt a similar skill migration program
like Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, USA, Singapore, or even Shanghai
(China) where Multinational Corporation can sponsor required foreign skills to
work for them if they can not recruit locally or experience a shortage of the
required skills. It is very important to have such migration program in place to
support the growth of their organization. This will help to compensate the deficit
of low population growth, low birth rate and emigration.



In big cities (for example Tokyo, Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai,
London, Paris and New York) where the service sector contribution is of
significant economic importance, they have in place a comprehensive
structured skill migration program to attract qualified foreigners to come to their
shore to work. Such migration program enables the sector to grow steadily
through the supplement and supply of high skilled professionals.