Jobs for foreigners

The appointment of 114 foreigners was approved by the Namibian authorities in 2017/18.

11 June 2019 | Labour

A total of 114 foreigners were employed in Namibia in 2017/18, including as science and language teachers, while an application to appoint a foreigner as chief constable at the City of Windhoek was turned down.

An exemption to employ a foreigner as a theatre and ICU nurse for Ongwediva MediPark was also denied.

These details are contained in the Labour Advisory Council Annual Report for the 2017/18 financial year.

Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) secretary-general Mahongora Kavihuha said his experience was that foreigners are employed, but no Namibians are employed as their understudies.

“Just reading from that report you can tell that no Namibian was appointed and so no skills were transferred,” he said.

While he admitted that the quality of teacher training in Namibia is “questionable”, Kavihuha pointed out that private schools have the responsibility to take on new graduates and mentor them.

“Are you telling me that we do not have accountants in Namibia who can speak German? This is not acceptable; there are so many teachers that have graduated but they are on the streets,” he said. He also questioned the exemptions granted for foreign science teachers, saying there are enough science teachers in the country. “It is not true; we do not have a lack of skills amongst accountants. We have enough science teachers; there are critical areas where we do not have teachers. One is vernacular language, which of course includes German. The other area is agriculture, which has been a concern that we have raised with the higher education ministry,” he said.

Namibia Society of Engineers president Charles Mukwaso condemned the exemptions granted to Erongo Marine Enterprise to employ engineers, welders and fitters and turners. According to Mukwaso these skills are easily found in the labour market, but some companies opt for “cheap labour” in the form of foreigners.

“When you talk of fitters and turners, then I can tell you our vocational training centres train them here in Namibia. Certain companies are not really going out and finding qualified Namibians; they have misperceptions, while others employ foreigners deliberately because you can pay them whatever you want,” he added.







Private schools target foreign teachers



Windhoek International School successfully applied for exceptions to appoint 15 foreign teachers.



These include a homeroom teacher, two secondary school teachers, four primary school homeroom teachers, a secondary mathematics teacher, a science laboratory technician, a middle-school English teacher, a social studies International Baccalaureate (IB) visual arts teacher, a middle-school teaching assistant and a mathematics support teacher.



The school also received permission to employ foreigners as a primary years' programme coordinator (IBPYP), a secondary school German teacher and a secondary school French teacher.



Deutsche Schulverein Windhoek applied for exemptions to employ 26 foreign teachers, but was only granted permission to appoint 24 of them, on condition that the institution demonstrates effort to narrow the skills gap shortages in the country and submit a progress report to the Employment Equity Commission and Labour Advisory Council.



These positions included 14 German teachers, two ordinary teaching posts, a German child and youth centre teacher, a German boarding school teacher, a German pre-primary teacher, a head of kindergarten, a German and French teacher, a German coordinator for language facilitation, a German head of pre-school, a German pre-primary assistant teacher, a German boarding school education manager and a German receivables accountant.



St George's Diocesan School in Windhoek successfully applied for exceptions for six positions.



These included a science, history and English teacher, as well as an additional senior English teacher.



The other positions included a chaplain, mathematics and business studies teacher.



Triumphant College was also granted permission to employ six foreigners in lecturing positions for a period of three years, while the International University of Management (IUM) was granted permission to employ three foreigners for its education and nursing lecturing positions.







Fitters and turners



Erongo Marine Enterprises was also granted exemptions to employ 22 foreigners for a period of three years as engineers, motormen, electricians, chief technologists, chief trawl masters, mechanical adjusters, welders, turners, joiners and fitters and as a medical doctor.



This was done on condition that Namibians with Namibian Maritime and Fisheries Institute (Namfi) qualifications are funded to study the applied skills in Sweden or Russia. Five Namibians should be funded every three years.



The Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) successfully applied for exemptions to appoint six foreigners as technicians, technologists and in various pathologist positions.



I-Tech applied for exemptions to appoint four foreigners as a demand creation manager, HIV support physician, HIV clinical nurse and as a mentor.



This application was, however, rejected because the existing work permits of the non-Namibians had expired and the skills are not scarce in Namibia.



The University of Namibia (Unam) was granted permission to appoint 13 foreigners for its veterinary medicine, pharmacology, researcher, anaesthesiology, paediatrics, morbid anatomy, psychiatry, nautical mechanics, associate professor, statistics and population science and associate professor for physics posts.



This exemption was granted on condition that Namibians are identified for training in veterinary science through the current staff development programme and that a progress report is submitted to the Office of the Employment Equity Commissioner.







Nurses and doctors



Meanwhile, the Labour Advisory Council denied exceptions to appoint 34 nurses at four different institutions, because there are currently Namibians who can be appointed as understudies.



Ongwediva Medipark applied for exceptions for two nurses and Lady Pohamba Private Hospital applied for 18 exceptions, while Walvis Bay MediPark applied to appoint 14 foreign nurses.



Air Namibia applied for exemptions to appoint seven foreign pilots, however, exemptions were granted for three, as the other four did not have valid work permits.



Claud Bosch Architects applied for exemptions to appoint seven foreign architects, but these were not granted because the council was not convinced that these skills were not easily obtainable in the Namibian labour market.



An application by E-Med Rescue 24 to appoint two foreign paramedics was approved.



The council also granted an exemption to Medical Imaging to appoint one foreign radiologist. A second application for exemption was not granted because the employee's work permit expired while the application was due for consideration.



Northlands Medical Group (NMG) applied for exemptions to appoint six foreign doctors but was granted permission to appoint only three.



This exemption was granted on condition that NMG grants at least one bursary to a Namibian to study medicine.



It was later found that NMG did not comply with this condition and the committee recommended that the labour minister withdraws the previous exemption.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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