Amnesty for illegal workers in crisis

Tuesday March 24, 2020 Written by Published in Economy

Foreigners who have been residing in the Cook Islands and are not on any legal work permit will be part of the registration process to benefit from the unemployment funding.


However, this will only proceed if these illegal workers will come forward to the Ministry of Internal Affairs when the eligibility criteria will be released this week- and if they are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Principal Immigration Officer Kairangi Samuela on Sunday night told the Fijian Community: “We know there are those not on legal work permit. Please register so you can be part of the process.”

“This is the time to come out if you don’t register, you don’t have access,” she said.

She said, they were not left out and are part of the community.

Internal Affairs is expected to release the eligibility criteria this week and it will be made available to the public through the radio, television and official Covid-19 Facebook and website page.

A platform is being set up to receive the application forms of those unemployed and seeking new jobs.

Meanwhile, Samuela also clarified that any Fijian who went to Fiji to renew their passport or left the Cook Islands for a holiday will not be allowed back into the Cook Islands as New Zealand has closed its borders, meaning no transit.

According to the Stimulus measures by Stage – direct by Government:

Stage 1: Support for self-isolation Provision of two weeks of minimum wage if under self-isolation instruction from Ministry of Health – to be paid via employer.

Wage Subsidies for all businesses: Wage subsidies equivalent to the minimum wage will be paid to the employer to subsidise employee wage costs for a 12-week period from 30 March 2020.

Stage 2: Unemployment initiative: One month of benefits at the minimum wage to be provided to all individuals who have become unemployed due to the impact of Covid-19. The Labour Division of Internal Affairs will work with the unemployed and employers to find new positions for any unemployed workers.


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