STUNG by a Ministerial decision to deny its Vice-Chancellor a work permit, the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) has asked for a judicial review on the matter.
In a statement responding to questions on Friday, SINU said it was advised last week that the Minister for Commerce has rejected work permit applications for a number of expatriates employed by SINU, including Dr. Garnesh Chand, the Vice-Chancellor.
These employees have been working for SINU for well over one year already on the same set of visa and permit exemptions as has been allowed SINU from 2013 and to SICHE since 1984, the statement said.
“SINU has already lodged papers for a Judicial Review of the Hon. Minister’s decision and the Honourable Minister has acknowledged the application for a Judicial Review of his decision,” it said.
“The matters are now before the High Court. As the matter is before the High Court, the matter is sub-judice. We do not wish to make any statement on the matter which is before the court.
“We look forward to an early hearing of the matter by the Honourable Court,” the statement said.
“For the record, SINU, and prior to that, SICHE since 1984, have been employing expatriate employees according to law. The persons whose permits were “rejected” were brought to the country under the same set of rules as prevailed since SICHE days.
“SINU reiterates that the staff whose work permits have been “rejected” are still valuable employees of SINU. It is no fault of theirs that they have been placed in this position.
“SINU knows and recognises that no institution, particularly in small developing countries like ours, can grow as a University without the valuable services of expatriate employees. The current impasse with the Commissioner of Labour is a minor blip in the action plans of SINU,” it said.
The statement said SINU was an extremely valuable institution for the country, particularly at this time of COVID-19 pandemic.
By Alfred Sasako