Contracts of temporary residents who work 5 years in Galapagos worries the Chamber of Industries and Production
One third of the economically active population of Galapagos corresponds to temporary residents. Of this group, some 500 people could be at risk of being unemployed this year and in the coming months the figure would reach around 6,000 on the islands.
This is pointed out by Xavier Sisa, legal director of the Chamber of Industries and Production, who states that the Council of Governments of the Special Regime of Galapagos does not accept the legal criteria of the Ministry of Labor for the renewal of contracts of temporary residents that have five years or more working on the island.
According to article 41 of the Organic Law of the Special Regime of the province of Galapagos, the category of temporary resident is granted, among others, to “legal representatives of companies legally domiciled in Galapagos, employees or private employees in a dependency relationship, for a period of up to one year. In this case, the employment contract may be extended for up to a maximum period of five years (…) “.
Sisa says that in this same law there is a general rule that to the extent that there is no such job offer in permanent residents, temporary residents can be hired and it does not exclude the same permits from being extended to those who have worked five years on the islands .
However, he adds, that the Galapagos government’s interpretation is that these 5-year-olds should leave the island with no subsequent possibility of being rehired.
Article 30 of the Regulation of Migration and Residence in the Special Regime of the province of Galapagos, issued in 2017, says that “the employment relationship and the qualification of temporary residence may not last more than five years, counted continuously or interrupted. Once you have completed five years of temporary residence in Galapagos, you must leave the province.
Sisa says that this is almost like a life penalty because he works for five years and he will never be able to return to the islands to work or render his services in that condition. This will create problems in three aspects, in the workplace, the safety of the boat and the quality of tourism and, in addition, it would be preventing even the restart of tourism activities in Galapagos already affected by the pandemic, he indicates.
First, he adds, it would affect job stability because almost a third of the economically active population of Galapagos corresponds to temporary residents and, as he says, at the moment “there is not a job offer in numbers, skills or qualifications that the demand of all work activities on the islands “.
The representative of the Chamber of Industries and Production mentions that the position of the Galapagos authorities is that only permanent residents should be hired, but at the moment there are no adequate profiles because what can cause is that the quality of current workers is lost in those that have been invested in training and education.
According to Sisa, a second problem is that within the group of people who would lose their jobs are those who are called minimum endowment, that is, they are required by their specialty to be within the crew of a boat and that there are no replacements in the islands. For example captains and machine engineers or even highly qualified professionals such as hotel managers, chefs, assistant chefs.
Third is the security of operations and tourism quality, he adds. “By removing people who are trained, who have had all the qualifications for that job, they have a risk for example if they put untrained captains there may be a safety problem in the operation.”
He states that it will affect the quality of the tourist service by putting untrained people or even those who do not have a level of English to communicate with passengers.
Sisa points out that in order to guarantee the constitutional right to job stability, they have relied on the Ministry of Labor, which issued a legal criterion in which it establishes the obligation to renew these temporary residence permits for this group of people.
It says that this legal criterion was issued last September 25 and the problem is aggravated because the Organic Law of the Special Regime was issued on June 11, 2015, so the five years of these temporary residents expired in June 2020. And also because in 2017 the then Government Council of Galapagos issued the Migration and Residency Regulation that establishes that as of 2020 companies must replace only 5 percent of the temporary residents that have contracted with Galapagos or permanent residents.
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