Macau reaches out to overseas talent

Plans for some 1,000 non-local professionals include specialists for culture, entertainment and business events. Foreign business welcome move but say hotels and venues still face challenges

MACAU is planning to open the doors for a limited number of overseas talent to return to the city’s business events and tourism under plans that will prioritise sectors it wants to grow.

Hotels and other businesses in Macau are still recovering from reductions in staffing levels made during Covid. This comes as international resorts in the city have made a commitment to diversify their product offerings away from gaming to include family entertainment, culture and sports.

The Macau SAR Government wants to attract about 1,000 non-local professionals through a strategy covering healthcare, high-tech, finance, culture, sport, tourism and MICE.

Under the new plans, applications will be made online with candidates not required to be in Macau to submit documents.

We can bring these people here, but how are we going to keep them here?
Billy Chan, Australian Chamber of Commerce in Macau

At a discussion panel hosted by Macau Business and attended by corporate executives and chamber of commerce representatives, the recruitment plans were broadly welcomed but there were also calls for changes to the city’s “blue card” permit for foreign workers.

“The government is not being genorous to these talents,” Billy Chan, chairman of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Macau, told the panel, according to a report by Asia Gaming Brief (AGB).

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“We can bring these people here, but how are we going to keep them here?” Chan was quoted as saying in reference to many non-resident staff not allowed to bring their families to Macau.

Chan said permits also tended to be limited to one or two years with no real incentive for the holder to contribute to Macau’s long-term development.

France-Macau Chamber of Commerce chairman, Rutger Verschuren, praised efforts to diversify into more business events, but challenges remained with a high number of hotels rooms and venues to fill.

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Concern was also expressed about the entertainment resorts were expected to host. Keith Buckley, chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Macau, was reported by AGB as telling the panel: “The facilities are there, but how do you fill all that up? The number of acts you have to bring is very high just to fill the venues”.

As a provision of casino licences being renewed, Macau’s major resorts agreed to expand their offerings to provide more non-gaming attractions, concerts, sports events and culture along with conferences and exhibitions.

Main picture: Macau’s romantic side in the form of sculptures near the Ruins of St Paul’s  

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