Macau non-resident workers down 32.6% post-Covid, locals to be prioritized

Macau Workers

Macau’s non-resident workforce has fallen by a third post-Covid and operators will be required to prioritize locals in their hiring going forward. 

A total of 11,434 non-resident employees previously employed by the six operators as of the end of 2019 have left their jobs, according to local media reports.

The figures were given by the Labour Affairs Bureau following a written inquiry by legislator Lei Chan U.

The department said the government would step up training of locals and job matching to ensure residents are able to fill any available vacancies. 

“If there are suitable or sufficient local employees for the relevant positions, no approval will be given for applications for foreign employments for the corresponding occupation, or the company will be required to arrange for relevant foreign employees to leave the field, so as to promote the preferential employment of local employees,” the bureau said. 

Non-residents are not permitted to work in Macau’s casinos, but many are employed in other areas of the  integrated resorts. Prior to the pandemic, labor costs were a key area of concern for the operators, especially on the casino floor, due to a lack of locally available talent and nearly full employment.

Since Covid and the subsequent economic slump, unemployment has risen to 2.9 percent, the highest since 2009. 

The government warned in April last year that it would continue to reduce so-called blue cards if unemployment continued to rise.