The UN senior relief official for South Sudan said Wednesday foreign aid workers operating in the East African country would pay the hiked work permit fee.
In March, South Sudan increased work permit fees for foreign workers from 100 U.S. dollars to 10,000 dollars for professional and business class, 2,000 dollars for blue collar jobs and 1,000 dollars for casual labourers.
Alain Noudehou, the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, told reporters that though the increased work permit fees may reduce aid agencies’ ability to deliver, aid workers will pay the fee to enable them to operate legally.
“It is something that is of great concern to humanitarians because of the level of fees.
“At the same time it is also important to recognize that this is the law of the country and it is important that people abide by it in order to make sure that we are here working legally,” Noudehou said.
The South Sudanese finance ministry said at the time that the hiked fee would raise vital revenue for the cash-strapped government to fund its activities.
The fee hike prompted an outcry from humanitarian agencies who described it as a way of restricting work of foreign aid workers in the war-torn nation, forcing the government to suspend the policy the following month.
The Ministry of Labor and Public Service late October announced revised annual work permit rates for foreigners ranging from 500 to 4,000 dollars.
Under the new fee structure, consultants and managers will pay 4,000 dollars, professionals charged 3,000 dollars and technicians 2,000 dollars.
The directive does not affect members of the diplomatic corps.
Skilled workers will pay 1,000 dollars and casual labourers will be charged 500 dollars. Defaulters will be charged an extra 200 dollars in fines.
South Sudan’s relief agency said early this month that it identified more than 1,000 illegal expatriates working with humanitarian organisations in the east African nation, and gave them a one-month ultimatum to acquire work permits or face the law.
South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission early this month ordered the foreign workers to obtain work permits by Dec. 4.
“I know all my colleagues in the humanitarian sector are committed to abiding by the law and making sure that they get the work permit in due time,” Noudehou added.