Foreign workers arrive for Suriname refinery project

(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – The first group of foreign workers for the Staatsolie Refinery Expansion Project (REP) are gradually arriving. Project Manager Tom Ketele reports that last week 24 Vietnamese arrived. ‘By the end of the year the group of foreigners will have grown to 150.’
By the end of 2013 between 1,500 and 2,000 workers will be at Tout Lui Faut, half of whom will be specialists from Vietnam and the Philippines. ‘These guest workers will gradually leave again when the refinery is completed by mid 2014. The purification facilities have to be operational by the end of September 2014,’ Ketele adds. He denies allegations about delays in finding foreign workers. ‘We have a steady flow of local and foreign workers, without any restrictions. We have good agreements with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (Buza) and Labor (ATM) to have procedures go smoothly. In some cases special procedures were put in place.’
There is a joint commission of Staatsolie and the Ministries to check into the foreign workers’ case. Several speedy procedures for visa, work and residence permits have been made. In addition to Buza and ATM, the Ministry of Justice and Police lends a helping hand. The majority of the foreigners will be housed opposite the existing refinery in specially constructed barracks. Four main contractors are responsible for the project. The foreign workers will be in charge of the mechanical and electronic works. MNO Vervat and Ballast Nedam, two companies already known in Suriname, will hire mainly local workers.

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