Legislative Assembly approves bill to revoke offshore law
Macau (MNA) – The Macau Legislative Assembly (AL) has approved a bill revoking the current offshore law, with several legislators warning the government over the future of the local workers in the sector. The bill approved on Thursday had been proposed by authorities in order to comply with standards of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Macau (MNA) – The Macau Legislative Assembly (AL) has approved a bill revoking the current offshore law, with several legislators warning the government over the future of the local workers in the sector.
The bill approved on Thursday had been proposed by authorities in order to comply with standards of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) regarding the treatment of offshore firms under the Macau law.
The Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac had previously indicated that after Macau was de-listed from a list of tax havens by the European Union (EU) in January, 2018, the city needed to go forward with the abolishment of its offshore system to avoid being included again in the future in non-compliant tax jurisdictions lists.
“The offshore sector contributed to the city’s development in the past. At its peak there were some 550 companies, with some 360 currently […]. We have to follow the multilateral agreements to leave this list and be a ‘normal’ SAR [Special Administrative Region],” the Secretary indicated during the plenary.
Legislator Lei Chan U stated yesterday that there were some 1,700 workers in the sector and inquired if the government had contacted the workers and conducted an evaluation of the decision’s impact on society.
Several legislators inquired what measures authorities would take to assure workers in the offshore sector could transition to other jobs and companies, with some legislators having received assistance requests by offshore workers.
“I’ve been receiving many help requests from workers working in the offshore system. A lot of them are elderly and are worried about their professional future. Many companies don’t know how they will support these workers, many have sons working in universities, have expenses and are worried about the future,” legislator José Pereira Coutinho stated.
The Secretary indicated that a two year transitional period would eventually be provided in case the law is approved after committee evaluation, indicating that some offshore companies have already made requests to the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) to transition to onshore companies.
“The Labour Affairs Bureau [DSAL] will contact offshore companies to see how the workers’ rights can be protected, the responsibilities and rights to make the workers know about their rights. They will have training, with the workers having to be trained to make the transition,” the Secretary noted.
Leong also said that the textile or ivory industry in the city had faced similar situations in the past, with the government having deployed efforts to assure workers can find alternative employment.