Importance Of Foreign Workers For The Economy Management Essay

This chapter outlines the importance of foreign workers for the economy, the statement of problem, reasons for choosing this topic, legal implications, the research questions, the research objectives, some previous study related to the topic and the format of the study.

It is not a new phenomenon that during decade’s the movement of people to other countries in search of work has occurred. Moreover globalization contains many facets; it deals with the global distribution of the production of goods and services among countries, which generally result from reducing tariffs, quotas and other barriers to trade and it also conducts migration between developing countries and developed countries, to strengthen the economic growth. In the wake of the deepening Euro debt area crisis, foreign workers still represent a valuable option for the achievement of competitive edge to face the downside challenges.

1.1 The concept of foreign labour

According to Zehadul Karim et al. (1999) the term foreign workers authorize a group of foreign nationals whose legal right to work in a country where they have been officially recruited. Indeed, the rapid growth in the manufacturing sector in the 1970’s and the 1980’s which directed to the rapid expansion of low-skilled and skilled job creation to achieve the requirement of the EPZ sector which local people refuse to undertake and where the need of foreign workers were vital and as a cheap source of labour which improve the exportation and help achieve competitive advantage. Furthermore, the foreign workers were needed to overwhelm the workforce shortage difficulty and mostly at a low labour cost, this is known as an essential tool which controls the activities within the company.

The lure for leaving behind their countries and families for a foreign place is the relatively high pay that can expect to get in the country they are moving to work in as well as the lack of employment opportunities in their own countries that would pay them wages sufficient enough for them to support their families (Yeoh and Huang, 2000). In fact, the foreigners are motivated by the desire for decent wages and opportunities, and good working conditions.

Taran (2005) Senior Migration Officer at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) claims that “there is a growing body of knowledge that demonstrates that migrants make large contribution to economic and social development in both their host and home countries”.

The importance of foreign labour is due to higher level of work output delivered compare to local people and to ensure financial performance. As a result of foreign workers in the textile industry had been able to have a stable supply of cheap labour, and has been able to maintain its competitiveness.

1.2 Importance of foreign workers for the economy

The Mauritian economy has experienced important changes since the independence. The transformation of a country dependant on the sugar industry alone, it has developed a more diverse economy, now including the textile industry, tourism, IT and financial services. Furthermore, the presence of foreign community is small in size but economically is significant. It has helped to preserve and paved the way for cooperation on the economic front as well.

Table 1.1 shows that the importation of foreign workers is in a number of sectors where foreign workers are mostly employed inter alia the manufacturing, construction and in hotels and restaurants. Moreover Table 1.1 provides a clear view of foreigners whose work permit was issued by the Ministry of labour.

Table 1.1: Number of work permits issued from 2008-2012







Agriculture, hunting and forestry












Electricity, gas and water supply












Wholesale & retail trade; repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles & personal and household goods






Hotels & restaurants






Transport, storage & communications






Financial intermediation






Real estate, renting and business activities






Information technology






Public administration and defence; compulsory social security












Health & social work






Other community, social and personal service activities






Private households with employed persons










Source: Fieldwork

Table 1.2 shows that most of the foreign workers were male who were employed to work in the textile factories together with the female. In the year 2008 the number of male was 13,863 but reduced to 12,784 that were due may be to the recession time but the number of female has fluctuated from 9,001 in 2008 but increased to 9,552. Up to now, the number of foreign workers in Mauritius is 22,336 workers.

Table 1.2: Foreign workers employed in large establishments by industrial group & sex





















Source: Digest of Labour Statistics

1.3 Statement of problem

The foreign workers contributions during the last decades in various sectors of Mauritius had been remarkable and that helped much towards the development of the country and will contribute to the economy of the country for years to come. However, according to the National Economic and Social Council Report (NESC) 2009, there are number of cases reported that foreign labour worked in inferior conditions, abuse of workers and they are ill-treated by employers or local workers. Newspaper articles about bad treatment to foreign workers are shown in Appendix A. Many of them were given false promises in terms of wages and type of employment from their recruitment agencies in their home countries, but they were disappointed on arrival, being given different sets of contracts, or even some of them do not receive their work permit or their residence permit at all. Moreover, it is worth to note that the Republic of Mauritius has not yet ratify the ILO convention on the rights and protection of Migrant workers.

1.4 Reason for choosing this topic

The author has chosen this topic to investigate about the conditions of foreign workers in the country. Since there were uprising and conflicts with local people whereby foreign workers were involved articles are shown in Appendix B.

The choice for this topic has derived from the utilization of foreign workers thus becoming increasingly essential for many firms, given the recent rise in the industrial market. However the understanding of foreign worker’s requirements, abilities and desire to be treated equally with local workers, though the key of organisation is to apply the right human resource practices.

1.5 Research aim

To assess the working conditions of foreign workers at Aquarelle Clothing Ltd

1.6 Research Objectives

The objectives of the dissertation are:

To investigate problems faced by foreign workers at Aquarelle Clothing Ltd

To understand the assistance organization provides to foreign workers to settle down and deal with problems

To make recommendations within the context of the study

1.7 Previous Study

Table1.3: Previous Study





Impact of Human Resource Practices on Foreign Workers’ Job Satisfaction: Evidence From a Manufacturing Firm

In Malaysia

Yong Kong Hock

Utara Malaysia University


The Impact of Foreign Labour on Host Country Wages: The Experience of a Southern Host, Malaysia

Prema-chandra Athukorala and Evelyn S Devadason

Australian National University


Chinese Migrant Workers in Singapore: An analysis based on interviews

Lin Mei

Xiamen University


1.8 Format of the study

This study is structured into six chapters:

CHAPTER 1: Introduction

This chapter introduces the matter of dealing with foreign labour, the importance of foreign workers for the economy, the statement of problem, reason for choosing this topic, legal implications, the research questions, the research objectives, some previous study, the format of the study and the conclusion

CHAPTER 2: Literature Review

Chapter 2 reviews literature on foreign workers, the Mauritian economy, the history of Export Processing Zone ,the different issues of HRM such as recruitment and selection, retention, integration, welfare ,motivation ,culture and the legal aspects.

CHAPTER 3: Company Profile

This chapter introduces the company profile and its history, together with its main activities and HR policies used.

CHAPTER 4: Research methodology

It encompasses in detail how the research has been carried out, the target sample and the sample size and comprises all relevant information regarding the research methods to meet the objectives of the study.

CHAPTER 5: Analysis and Discussion

This chapter provides a discussion of results and findings from the survey which has been carried out at Aquarelle Clothing Ltd. Every aspect of the questionnaire has been analysed and interpreted and by means of statistics and the information obtained has been clearly illustrated and commented.

CHAPTER 6: Conclusions and Recommendations

The conclusion about the findings of the research is discussed together with recommendations of the dissertation.

1.9 Conclusion

This chapter has highlighted the situation of foreign workers for the economy and how much the textile industry depend more on foreign workers. Furthermore, the research question, the objectives and the problem statement have been emphasized. In the next chapter the author will review literature of previous study.


2.0 Introduction

Chapter two presents the literature review of the study about the definition of foreign labour, the Mauritius economy, the Export Processing Zone (EPZ), recruitment, selection and retention of foreign labour, the legal framework and implications, motivation, culture, benefits of foreign workers, problems of foreign workers and finally the conclusion.

2.1 Definition of Foreign Labour

The term foreign employee is defined as general an employee who is a non-citizen (Rajkumar 2001). Miller (1991) used the term foreign workers as these persons come from a confuse nationality groups, living and working with diverse legal status in a particular country.

In Mauritius foreign labour are considered as guest worker so, according to Section 2 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 2005 “guest employee” means ‘an employee of foreign nationality who has migrated from his country with a view to being employed on contract, otherwise than on his own account, and includes any person regularly admitted as a migrant for employment’.

2.2 The Mauritian Economy

The Mauritian Economy has one of the highest standards of living in Africa. Since independence in 1968 it enjoyed constant growth and reached Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of Rupees of 267300 in 2012. The traditional instruments of development in Mauritius have been sugar in the 1970s and 1980s, Mauritius has been undertaking economic growth, shifting from an agricultural sector to textiles, and later on the tourism sector. But more recently, Mauritius has diversified into financial services and information technology sector.

Furthermore, Mauritius has the best competitive markets, ranked first in Africa, and 54th worldwide (Global Competitiveness Report 2011). Mauritius is now a middle-income country as a result of good economic performance, and ranks 20th worldwide, out of 183 economies in all in terms of overall ease of doing business (Doing Business report 2011). The economic track record of Mauritius is the product of its sound institutions, good level of human capital and preferential access to the European Union market for its key exports.

Furthermore, Mauritius has aided from trade treaties, such as the Lomé/Cotonou conventions (that give privileged access to Mauritius exports to the European market), the Multi-Fibre Arrangement which has permitted Mauritius to develop its textile industry by limiting the clothing exports from generally Asian countries, and since some years the US African Growth and Opportunities Act .

2.3 Employment of foreign workers

Mauritius confronted to a shortage of workers and companies had no alternative but to the employment of workers mainly to maintain their businesses. The necessity to have recourse to foreign workers was because the Mauritian counterparts were reluctant to work for long hours in a zone they named “zone souffrance”. The table below depicts the foreign workers employed in the textile.

Table 2.1: Foreign workers employed in textile, March 2009 – March 2011







Both sexes



Both sexes



Both sexes











Source: Central Statistical Office 2012

The above are the illustration of foreign workers employed in the textile industry it shows clearly the increase from 15,921 in the year 2009 to 16,755 in the year 2011.

2.4 Contribution to GDP

The EPZ sector has led to countless contribution to the level of GDP since some years. With the changing development of the Mauritian economy, the expansion of the manufacturing sector in the 1980s, caused the main source of revenues that is the agricultural sector GDP to decline.

Conversely, EPZ was only 2.6% of GDP in the 1976, but during years the share of the EPZ sector to GDP has increased to 5.2% in 2011 contrasted to the past years. Hence, this represents the share of the textile sector in the development of the Mauritian economy.

2.5 History of Export Processing Zone (EPZ)

The EPZ sector has achieved good position since its independence in Mauritius, in 1970’s. Moreover, the government had worked persistently to create this sector a compromising one for the economic growth and development of the country. The EPZ sector has attracted two thirds of all Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) inflows, which were mainly concentrated on knitwear and garments production. Generally, the EPZ has provided employment, contributed more value-added and earned more export revenue than sugar. Besides, Mauritius offers a favourable business environment, with strong incentives provided by the state for the rising sectors, and careful demand management. The Mauritian EPZ evolved as a driving force sector to attract foreign workers to work in the textile sector.

The EPZ has helped to transform the economy where manufacturing for export has become the leading field. Moreover, at present the EPZ industries are facing a number of problems such as the vulnerability of the garments industry to demand fluctuations and labour shortage of local to compete with competition in the exports.

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2.6 HRM issues

Human resource management (HRM) performs the most important role because of the value of the human resources themselves and the complexities of their management. However, in the following paragraphs carries the HRM issues such as the recruitment and selection process, retention, integration, welfare, motivation and culture of the foreign workers.

2.6.1 Recruitment and Selection

The process through which a company employs their new employees is called recruitment and selection by Francesco and Gold (2005). Recruitment can be defined as “searching for and obtaining potential job candidates in sufficient numbers and quality so that the company can select the most appropriate people to fills its job needs” Dowling and Schuler (1990), (cited in Beardwell et, al. 2007). The selection process comprises of the gathering of information for evaluating and deciding who is best suitable for a particular jobs. The recruitment and selection process is of great importance, and it is often very difficult.

The foreign worker recruitment process is basically launched following a firm request for labour, but the local market is searched first before the recruitment of foreigners. The demand has to fall within the shortage area set up by the Ministry of Labour (MOL). However the recruitment exercise is done through specialized recruitment agencies and their foreign agents. In their own country the candidates are called, interviewed and selected through a foreign agent and the shortlisted ones are sent to the local factory. Meanwhile the application for work permits is sent to the MOL by the employer, with the required documents shown in Appendix C.

After the documents are treated successfully, that is the work permits issued locally, the foreign worker may embark to Mauritius, they are directed towards their workplace.

2.6.2 Retention

The retention plan should be based on an analysis of why people leave and sets out ways in which these issues can be dealt with. This imply accepting the reality, as mentioned by Cappelli (2000), that the market, not the company will ultimately determine the movement of employees.

A study of Holbeche (1998) found that “the factors that aided the retention and motivation of high performers included providing challenge and achievement opportunities, mentors, realistic self- assessment and feedback processes”.

In several organisations, when a foreign worker reaches Mauritius, his passport is being taken and retain for safe custody.

Retention strategy takes into account the particular retention issues that the organization is facing.

2.6.3 Integration

According to W.R. Böhning (ILO report 1995) integration is “a catch-all phrase that gains from being given clear contours at the outset and specification in relation to labour market issues”. Integration is, firstly, a process, it involves two actors: the individual who sets out to be integrated and the society attempting to help the achievement of that goal. Integration is, secondly, the end result, which is a state, usually denoted as successful but it can be otherwise and, like all social processes, it is potentially reversible.

The following seeks to summarize some of the integration policies that the MOL requires in the guidelines for work permit application.

To work in Mauritius the foreign skilled workers work permits are granted for a maximum period of four years. The employer of the company should provide a free of charge, decent accommodation together with water and electricity supply and gas with sanitary and fire protection requirements. The address details and the plan of the lodging should be submitted to the MOL with health and fire clearances.

The employer should make available an air ticket to return to his home country to the foreign worker on the termination of the contract of employment or for any cause of any kind. The salary and the requirement of employment of foreign workers should not be less favourable than those recommended in the legislations.

All the provisions of employment and advantages should be noticeably specified in the contract of employment and should be properly signed by the foreign worker and the employer. The remunerations should be given in Mauritius and received in Mauritian Rupees only.

The fundamental conditions should be specified in a contract of employment between the employer and the foreign worker shall comprise of the specifications regarding the days and the hours of work, terms regarding the payment and overtime to be compensated, time duration for lunch and tea pauses, provision for annual, sick, maternity leaves, money for work accomplished on Sundays or public holidays, condition for end of year bonus, as per the employment legislation, circumstances regarding notice of termination of contract, and added provisions concerning lodging and free ticket.

2.6.4 Welfare

Employee Welfare is an essential aspect in the industrial relations, it gives workers satisfaction especially the foreign workers in such a way that even the monthly income cannot. There are facts that show that it is not only wages and working conditions, but there are also other components, such as retirement schemes, vocational training and education are subject to negotiations between social partners (Haipeter and Lehnhoff 2009, d’Arci et al., 2009). After employees have been hired, trained and remunerated, they need to be retained and maintained to serve the organization better. However, welfare facilities are conceived to assure the comfort of the workers, it is not mainly in the form of monetary benefit. But the governmental and non-governmental organisations and trade unions try to play a role towards employee welfare.

2.6.5 Motivation

Motivation is considered as closely related to the performance of human resources in modern organizations. In management, there are numerous theories about what motivates people, however, it is often neglected that what motivates people is culturally determined. Incentives and de-motivators used in human resource management policies are highly cultural specific. Hierarchy of Needs- Maslow

Figure 2.2 Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

C:UsersFarhaanDownloadsAQUARELLE CLOTHING LTD, SURINAM_files2610290401003.png

Source: Maslow (1954)

The most famous classification of needs is the one formulated by Maslow in 1954. He put forward five major need categories which relate to people or workers, starting from the fundamental physiological needs and leading through a hierarchy of safety, social and esteem needs to the need for self-fulfillment, the highest need of all.

According to Armstrong, Maslow’s theory of motivation states that when a lower need is satisfied, the next highest becomes dominant and the individual’s attention is turned to satisfying this higher need. The need for self-fulfillment, however, cannot be fulfilled whereas psychological development occurs as people move up the hierarchy of needs.

However, foreign workers come to Mauritius with the aim to work and therefore they achieve the physiological needs but since they are far from their family they lack social needs that are belongingness and love needs. McClelland’s theory of Needs / Achievement Motivation Theory

David McClelland (1961) established the theory of needs concentrating on three needs that describe motivation that is the need for Power, achievement and affiliation.

Table 2.2: McClelland theory of needs




Has a powerful need to position and achieve main objectives

Considers risks to attain goals

Enjoys advice on their improvement and success

Often work solo


Wants to have its place in a group

Wants to be interpersonal relationship

Like teamwork than competition

No risk or indecision is taken


Desires to rule and control others

Likes to success

High rate of competition

Appreciates rank and respect

However, foreign workers are looking for affiliation in the company that is the need for a friendly and peaceful environment to work. McGregor Theory X and Theory Y

In 1960, McGregor established two distinct set of perceptions of how people see human behaviour at work. He assumed that companies follow one of the two opposing approaches and are called theory X and theory Y.

Table2.3: McGregor Theory X and Theory Y

Theory X

Theory Y

Workers dislike to work

Workers like to work

Workers has no ambition, and do not want responsibility

Workers meet their work objectives

Workers do not worry about organisational goals

Workers will be committed to achieve self-fulfillment

Workers resists to change

Workers take responsibility

Workers are susceptible and not particularly intelligent.

Workers have creativity and skill

Source: Fieldwork

Hence, foreign workers can be classified to the theory Y of workers, they accepts responsibility, work together with the overtime and they never complaint.

2.6.6 Culture

According to Hofstede and Pedersen (2002) the national culture distinguishes people from one country from those of another country. The management of culture differences in developing countries is an essential ability that all managers must master if they are to be successful in the market. Thus Managers must make the foreign workers to adapt to the different cultures so as they can work efficiently.

Hofstede (1984) defines culture as “collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another”. In general people only become aware of their own beliefs while they are challenged by someone of other culture (Gooderham and Nordhaug, 2003). However it is essential to understand peoples’ different cultural origins with cross-national players to be able to recognize the effects for international management.

The international companies has to acquire the knowledge of how to cope with worldwide issues like selecting and preparing people for the assignment and managing in other countries, and conducting businesses abroad, to be able to take advantage of and captivate the learning throughout the international processes. In order to be successful in these activities, expatriate has to understand the effects of culture on routine business operations (Briscoe & Shuler, 2004).

Mauritius culture is well known for its cultural diversities and it is very difficult to talk about only one national culture. Considering the fact that Mauritius has different religion groups like Hindu, Chinese, Catholic, Muslims and Marathi, though Creole is the national language and is spoken by mostly the whole of the population but English is the most main language for national, political, and business communications. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions

Hofstede have identified five cultural dimensions for which every country could be categorized in. The five dimensions are power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism versus collectivism, masculinity versus femininity, and long-term versus short-term orientation (Hofstede 2001).

In Mauritius, foreign workers are from different countries, hence their views and mindset are quite different. Each foreign workers have each culture so the belief diverse.

2.7 Legal Framework

During the last decade several laws or legislations has developed governing employer and employee relations and the rights of employees and employers in the workplace In Mauritius the Industrial Relation Act (IRA) and the Labour Act, which have been legislated for about 35 and 33 years correspondingly, have been an active contribution in the economic and social development of the Mauritius. With the challenges caused by globalization, the Employment Relation Act 2008 (ERA 2008) and the Employment Rights Act 2008 (ERA 2008) created important changes in the lawful and institutional framework and responded adequately to the economic imperatives and seems to improve the protection of workers, encourage effective collective bargaining and fortify tripartism and social dialogue.

The Employment Rights Act emphases on the labour programme for laid-off workers and has an intention to relate to the law relating to employment, contract of employment, working hours, the remuneration and the supplementary simple terms and requirements of employment to confirm suitable protection of workers. This initiative of the Ministry follows its ratification of international conventions working for the recognition of the fundamental rights of workers, including their basic human rights.

The last official Report on the Employment of Foreign Workers in Mauritius, made in 2008 by the NESC states that ‘without conferring a right to residence or citizenship foreign workers should be able to enjoy the same status as their Mauritian counterparts thereby bringing more homogeneity in the entire labour force’. However, for foreigners to be able to work in Mauritius, the employers have to obtain a worker permit duly issued by the MOL. Work Permits in respect of foreign workers are issued by the Employment Division of the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment under the Non-Citizens (Employment Restriction) Act and it is to be delivered with a minimum delay of two weeks.

The MOL amended the Labour Act in 2008, ensuring that Mauritian and foreign workers benefit from the same rights, working conditions and have the same basic salary scale. Article 32 of the Employment Relations Act (2008) also gives foreign workers the right to join a trade union. This change in law and policy follows the ratification of international conventions calling for the recognition of the fundamental rights of workers, including their elementary rights (NESC, 2008).

The MOL announced the establishment of the Special Migrant Workers’ Unit to serve the migrants by vetting their contracts and monitoring their work and living conditions. This Unit has 7 members of staff and the work of the officers is divided between administrative work and field work. The Special Migrant Workers’ Unit also has a Chinese interpreter. Officers of this Unit are required to inform workers about their rights, especially to join a trade union of their choice, right to assistance from the Special Migrant Workers’ Unit, right to be assisted by an officer in disciplinary procedures. In fact, whenever an employer decides to terminate the contract of employment of a migrant worker, he/she is immediately deported.

2.8 The contribution of the ILO

Since 1919, the ILO has preserved and established a system of international labour standards intended at encouraging prospects for both women and men to acquire a respectable work in relation with the independence, fairness, safety, and self-respect. However, today with the globalisation, international labour standards, and the establishing of new principles, are a crucial element in creating an international framework to safeguard the interest of all. The ILO has been involved since its establishment with the condition of migrant workers. The preface of the ILO Constitution states the requirement of the “protection of the interests of workers when employed in countries other than their own”. The second Recommendation of the ILO, implemented in 1919, was about the migrant workers. The Declaration of Philadelphia (1944), part of the ILO Constitution, determines the persistent anxiety with migrant workers. Two key ILO Conventions: – Convention No. 97 Migration for Employment (Revised), (1949) (No.97) and Convention No. 143 Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions), (1975) (No. 143) deal especially with the protection of migrant workers. Most of the ILO Conventions, apply to the migrant workers, some are very important, such as the fundamental rights, social security, and employment, conditions of work, and occupational safety and health.

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The Mauritian government has not ratified the ‘International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers’, also known as the “Migrant Workers’ Convention”. The Mauritian government has managed to respond to the complaints and objections of foreign workers and reports in the media by sending some officials, sometimes the MOL, meet the protesting migrants and their employers. Those actions taken is considered to be mostly not enough, therefore the claim for Mauritius to ratify the “Migrant Workers’ Convention” which would ensure that the specific dangers that migrants workers and their families face are not ignored and their rights respected.

2.9 Benefits of Foreign workers

Migrant workers make a good economic and social contribution to the economies of the foreign countries and countries of origin. Migrant workers spend most of their income in host countries; they are consumers; and have social security contributions if they are allowed to work legally.

Many jobs would not be done without migrant workers. They keep public transport running, provide badly-needed health care, and without their work factories could not produce the goods they sell.

Foreign workers ensure the long hours of work, minimize wastage and reduce risks of late deliveries. The foreign workers come to do a job where most of them do not have family or social distractions, which make them reliable work force so this increases the productivity.

2.10 Problems of Foreign workers

Poor working conditions include things like use of outdated machinery at work, bad work ethics in the country which can cause accidents at work.

According to Ackbarally, N (2006) foreign employees in the EPZ suffer dismal working conditions and the degradable conditions of the dormitories in which they are accommodated.

Language barriers of foreign workers cause misunderstanding together with their employers and their counterparts.

The problems of foreign workers are the differences in payment of what has been assured by recruitment agencies and what the factories pay them. High living standards compared to the salary of the citizens the cost of living, becomes high due to increase in the prices of basic commodities and the salaries remain the same.

2.11 Conclusion

This chapter has concentrated on the review of the main literatures dealing with the subjects under consideration about the definition of foreign labour, the Mauritius economy, the export processing zone (EPZ), recruitment/selection/retention of foreign labour, the legal framework, motivation, culture, benefits of foreign workers, and problems of foreign workers. The next chapter will define on the research methodology.


3.0 Introduction

This chapter is concern with the company overview, and the historical background of Aquarelle Clothing Limited in Mauritius. The chapter illustrates also with the organisational structure, the mission statement, and the financial reports of the company.

3.1 Company Overview

CIEL Textile is an important manufacturer in the African Sub-Saharan Region and the second largest woolmark knitwear supplier in the world. The group functions as a regional «one-stop shop», with vertical integration from yarn spinning to finished products, offering complete textile apparels solutions for men’s, ladies and kids wear. CIEL Textile has operational units in Mauritius, Madagascar and India, with continued efforts to compete with famous European manufacturers and to move towards in the market. This strategy involves investing in the latest technology, broadening of product range and the reinforcement the human resources of the group. The group has 8 business units: knitwear, knits, shirts, bottoms, spinning, weaving, dyeing and retail. Through its retail unit, CIEL Textile’s commercialise the brand Harris Wilson and Floreal Boutiques. 3.1 below depicts the CIEL different business units.

Table 3.1: CIEL Business Units


Units 000s



Product type


Floreal Knitwear



Mauritius, Madagascar, China, Bangladesh


Aquarelle Clothing



Mauritius, Madagascar and India

Woven Shirts

New Island Clothing (50%)




Woven Shirts

Tropic Knits



Mauritius, Madagascar


Fabrics Yarns

Consolidated Fabrics

8,000 (M)



Woven Fabrics


Ferney Spinning Mills

1,800 (tons)



Carded Yarn Spinning


Consolidated Dyeing & Fabrics Limited

5,000 (tons)



Knitted Fabrics


Dyers and Finishers

1,400 (tons)





CIEL Textile



Source: CIEL Company

3.2 Historical background of Aquarelle Clothing Ltd Mauritius

The Aquarelle Clothing Ltd (ACL) is one of the business units of CIEL situated at Quatre-Bornes in Mauritius, it has two factory one at Grand bois and the other at Surinam. Aquarelle Clothing Shirts Division is an international shirts manufacturer operating in a homogenous upper and middle market segment. The annual production capacities are 6 million units of shirts. The company employs 3450 employees but at the factory of Surinam there are 900 employees that consisted of 345 foreign workers both males and females. The foreign workers are mainly from Bangladesh, India and Madagascar. Aquarelle’s shirts are sold to many first class customers in Europe and USA.

3.3 Organisational Structure of Aquarelle Clothing Ltd (ACL)

Chief Executive Officer

Harold Mayer

CIEL Textile Group


Chief Executive Officer

Woven Cluster

Pascal Walter

Executive Director

Consolidated Fabrics Limited

Jean-Baptiste de Spéville

Executive Director

Ferney Spinning Mills Limited (FSM), Consolidated Dyeing Co. Limited (CDL) and Consolidated Dyeing & Fabric Limited (CDFL)

Figure 3.1: Organisational structure of ACL

3.4 Mission statement of the company

The aim of the company is to become the most valuable vendor to highly demanding customers and to deliver “unbeatable value” that it is in terms of product, quality, reliability, speed and better than competitors and also to help them increase their market share and profitability. The objective for Aquarelle Clothing Ltd is to become a multi-location factory that is a one stop shop.

3.5 Finacial Statement of ACL

ACL start up with a small share capital of Rs 25m , the profit in the first year was Rs25m and have a 100% return on investment. Due to confidentiality the Aquarelle Clothing Ltd did not reveal their profits but published financial report was examined. Their profits for the period 31 march 2011 were Rs 68,675000 and for the period of 31 March 2012 the profit was Rs 297,209000. In spite of the challenging environment, the Group posted satisfactory profits for the quarter and much improved profitability over last year’s nine months corresponding period. Improved efficiency and aggressive cost reduction measures are the main drivers of this improved performance

3.6 Conclusion

Aquarelle Clothing Ltd is an international company operating in Mauritius. We have seen the the organisational structure, the mission statement, and the financial reports of the company. The next chapter is about to the research methodology for this study.


4.0 Introduction

This chapter outlines the methodology of the study and of the survey designed to assess the HRM related issues of foreign workers at Aquarelle Clothing Ltd. It offers information about how the research was carried out and the questionnaire designed. This chapter describes the data collection tool and focus on the validity and reliability of the questionnaire.

4.1 Research aim

The primary aim of the research reported here was to assess the working conditions of foreign labour at Aquarelle Clothing Ltd. This aim focuses on the ways that employer of textile industry deal with the foreign workers.

4.2 Research subject

The research was conducted in the year 2012 and there were 80 respondents, which are the foreign workers of the Aquarelle Clothing Ltd (Surinam and Quatre-Bornes). The research question is about “how far do Mauritian firms pay attention to the HRM related problems of foreign workers”.

4.3 Research approach

There are two main methods for collecting data, which are, the quantitative and the qualitative method. The quantitative data comprises of computation using methods like questionnaire, hypothesis testing and observational studies. Whereas, the qualitative data has been acquired by exploring case studies and journals related to the subject.

Proctor (2003) and Burns and Bush (2000) defined quantitative research as an approach which includes a large sample designed to make an estimation of the whole population and involves a structured questionnaire.

4.4 Research design

The research design is the plan and structure of the study created to reply the research questions. The design is always centred on the research questions. However, for any study the selection of an appropriate research design is vital to get valid findings, comparisons and deductions.

Table 4.1: Sources of Data

Primary Research

Secondary Research




Government publications

The primary data consists of information collected for the precise purpose at hand, it fits better the research’s needs, it can be considered as fresh data. As regards to the primary research, a survey has been carried out in September 2012 to the foreign workers of ACL. The Secondary data are already published data, it is often an organization, a body or an institution has already collected those data, fitted for their purpose. The advantage with these data is that they are available very easily. However, the data can be outdated or it would not fit for the researcher purpose, as it should be. Secondary data were mostly used to and mentioned in the literature review.For this research both primary and secondary data were used and the research method used to collect and analyse the primary data was based upon a quantitative approach using a questionnaire. This approach made it possible for the respondent that is, the foreign workers of Aquarelle Clothing Ltd to reply about the HRM issues. Hence, a questionnaire was designed and distributed to the targeted sample.

4.5 Data collection method

This study makes use of a survey design to assess the HRM issues of foreign workers in a textile firm. The data collection tool for this dissertation is a well- designed questionnaire, which was distributed to the foreign workers of Aquarelle Clothing Ltd utilizing a convenience sampling.

During the lunch time the researcher accompanied with a supervisor of ACL helped the foreign workers to fill in the questionnaire. The advantage of that way to collect data is that it decreases the risk of receiving incomplete and wrongly filled questionnaires. However, the researcher had not influenced in anyway the respondents in filling the questionnaire.

4.6 Sampling

The size of the sample is one of the most significant elements in defining the survey results. Moreover, the larger is the sample size, the higher are the possibility that the results will be effective. However, due to limitation of time and high costs the researcher has found a trustworthy sample size that simplifies the findings acquired from the sample. The formula used to calculate the sample size is shown in Table 4.2.

Table 4.2: Formula for calculations of sample size


N = The minimum sample size

P% = The proportion belonging to specified category

Q%= The proportion not belonging to specified category

Z = The Z-value corresponding to level of confidence required

E%= The margin of error required

Source: Abdool 2006

The above formula is for the calculation of the sample size for this study was found to be 100 as shown in Appendix D. But, due to time constraint and communication problems with the foreign workers, 80 questionnaires were filled by the respondents by using a random sampling method. The random sampling was more appropriate to use since it was during meal breaks and because of communication problems.

4.7 Questionnaire design

According to Abdool (2006) the questionnaire is usually used to collect data in surveys where the samples are great as it is believed as the instrument par excellence.

The questionnaire was design base on the literature review aimed to collect primary data .The survey questionnaire was designed for the foreign workers of Aquarelle Clothing Ltd and makes use of dichotomous questions, likert scale and open ended questions in a way for the questionnaire not to be monotonous for the respondents, a cover letter in front of each questionnaire stating the reason and purpose of the study was attached (refer to Appendix E). The questionnaire is classified into 8 sections the first section section A, presents the profile of the respondent and the second section section B deals with the recruitment and selection, section C is about the retention, section D shows the motivation, section to E shows the employees welfare, section F aimed with the cultural aspects, section G is about foreign workers satisfaction and lastly section H deal with the working conditions. The questionnaires used have been designed in such a way that it is not biased. The statement has been formulated in a neutral way in order to avoid influencing the respondent about the answers.

The mode of questionnaire administration that was used is:

Face-to-face questionnaire administration, where the items were presented orally that is questions were asked to foreign workers. With this mode valuable information about HRM aspects were found.

4.8 Pilot study, Validity, and Reliability

4.8.1 Pilot Testing

Designing the ideal survey questionnaire is difficult. According to Narins (1999), the pre-testing is a basic component of the survey process that should not be neglected. For the purpose of this research, a pilot testing was carried out before getting on the main data collection exercise and a sample of five foreign workers in the head office of Aquarelle Clothing Ltd had been chosen for pre-test. According to the respondents, the questions were too technical and difficult to answer. Therefore, the questions were refined and in simple English. The most important aim of this testing was firstly, to have an indication per respondent of the time taken to fill in the questionnaire and secondly, to test whether the respondents understood the questions and answered suitably.

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4.8.2 Validity

The pre-test is used for upgrading the questionnaire design and identifies wrongness in the questionnaire (Reynolds et al.1993). Some copies of the questionnaire were made to consent the validation of a well-constructed and that the questionnaire is significant to the study. For the validity test of the questionnaire, four persons were involved to test for the validity of the questionnaire that is the ACL Quatre Bornes HR manager, the HR manger of ACL Surinam, a HR lecturer and a law lecturer. The ideas and proposals of these persons were studied and the questionnaire was revised and done accordingly.

4.8.3 Reliability

The reliability test checks if the variables in the questionnaire are interrelated to each other. The reliability testing was approved by using the SPSS version 20 (Statistical Package for the Social Science) and with the answers obtained from the respondents of the pilot study. Then a detailed result of the test determine that the questionnaire was reliable to 0.732 is shown in Appendix F.

Table 4.3: Reliability Test

Reliability Statistics

Cronbach’s Alpha

N of Items



4.9 Ethical considerations

The ethical considerations are aimed to assure that nobody is affected physically or psychologically during the research activities.

The purpose of this study was accurately described and all guarantees in terms of ethical considerations that are the anonymous of identity, non-disclosure of information, and confidentiality were provided.

Furthermore, no identity or personal or Aquarelle Clothing Ltd reactions to questions set were publicized to outside or other persons. All the participants were assured that the surveys will be destroyed within 6 months of submission of the dissertation and that it will be used for academic commitments only.

4.10 Limitations of study

In the course of this study, several limitations were noted. Firstly, the accessibility of information at both to Aquarelle Clothing Ltd and to libraries was limited. It should be noticed that there are unavailability of books at the Library of the University of Technology of Mauritius on the subject. The ACL barely accepted to reveal little information about the company.

Many foreign workers were reluctant to respond, fearing the company and identity being disclosed to their supervisors though confidentiality was ensured. Moreover they were asked to fill the questionnaires during their working hours and many were not eager to participate and preferred to work instead. This is why the final response rate is so low.

Since the topic of foreign workers is a very sensitive one, many companies refused to accept and give permission to do the survey and used for the research. This has slow down the whole project for weeks.

Another difficulty occurred while filling the questionnaires was the communication problems with most of the foreign workers who did not speak English nor French or creole

4.11 Conclusion

This chapter covers the research aim and objectives of the study, the research subject, the research approach, the research design of the questionnaire, defining variables of the study, the data collection method, the data analysis, the questionnaire design, the Sampling method, the pilot testing, and finally the limitations of study. The next chapter will provide an analysis on the data collected through the questionnaire.


5.0 Introduction

This chapter presents the results of the research study describing the different responses obtained from the questionnaires. This section analyses the survey of the foreign workers of Aquarelle Clothing Ltd and to assess the HRM related issues on SPSS Version 20 and Microsoft Excel 2010. It is depicted in the form of graphs, frequency tables and so many others. The response rate is of 80 from a sample of 100 questionnaires, the results acquired will cover the following such the respondent profile and the effect of recruitment and selection, retention, motivation, employees welfare, culture and foreign workers satisfaction.

5.1 Descriptive Statistics

Descriptive statistics were used to describe the basic features concerning the data gathered for the purpose of this study. These give statistical and graphical techniques to summarize a collection of data in a well-defined and understandable way. The analysis of the quantitative data contains simple graphs form of practically each element.

5.2 Analysis of respondent profile

The respondent profile under the part I section A of the questionnaire describes the personal particulars where the respondents were requested to provide information such as gender, age group, academic qualification, marital status, income level, country of origin, category of workers and finally number of years working as a foreign worker. All these questions were analysed and discussed.

5.2.1 Gender at Aquarelle Clothing Ltd

The charts reveal that from the survey, there were 41 males and 39 females have responded the questionnaire on 80 participants. A frequency table is shown in Appendix G represents 51.3% of males and 48.8% of females. Thus, figure 5.2 shows that the males were more active and capable to respond to the questionnaire. This gives good illustration of the sample which was targeted as both male and female are more or less properly represented, which a small difference of 2 more men than women.

5.2.2 Age group at Aquarelle Clothing Ltd

Figure 5.2: Age group Distribution

The participants all belonged to an age group between 18 to 47 age years old. Therefore Figure 5.2 and table 5.3 (refer to Appendix H)above shows that 21 participants belonging to an age group between 18-27 years old and making up 26.3 % of the sample. 43.8 are of 28-37 years old, that is, 35 respondents. There were 19 participants belonging to the age group of 38- 47 years old, which is about 23.8% of the sample and finally 5 participants are above 47 years old. This clearly shows that Aquarelle Clothing Ltd has a young and active workforce which is a good factor for the company.

5.2.3 Academic Qualification at Aquarelle Clothing Ltd

Figure 5.3: Academic Qualification

Figure 5.3 show that the majority of the foreign workers have at least of a primary education level which constitute of 43 foreign workers at about 53.8% of the sample. It is followed by 31 respondents who have reached the secondary education level representing about 38.8 % and finally 6 respondents of the sample had a tertiary education level comprising of 7.5 %. This clearly indicates that most foreign workers of Aquarelle Clothing Ltd has minimum of education to achieve the target set by the company. A frequency table is provided in Appendix I.

5.2.4 Marital Status at Aquarelle Clothing Ltd

Figure 5.4: Marital status representation

The Figure 5.4 above illustrates the marital status of the respondents of Aquarelle Clothing Ltd that is 41 of them are single which relates to 51.4 % of the sample. 39 respondents are married at about 48.8 % and lastly none of them are divorced. A frequency table is provided in Appendix J.

5.2.5 Income level at Aquarelle Clothing Ltd

The Figure 5.5below depicts the income group of the respondents that 21.3% of 17 respondents received an income up to Rs5000, 57.5% of 46 respondents received an income between Rs5001-8000, 13.8% of 11 respondents received an income between Rs8001-11000, 7.5% represents 6 respondents that received an income between Rs11001-14000and finally no respondents in the sample receive an income more than 140001 at Aquarelle Clothing Ltd. A frequency table is presented in Appendix K. However, most of the foreign workers got an income level of Rs 5001 and 8000 together with their overtime or else they will earn less than Rs5000.

Figure 5.5: Income level

5.2.6 Country of origin of Aquarelle Clothing Ltd foreign workers

Figure 5.6: Country representation

The above shows the country of origin of the foreign workers, therefore 25% of the sample come from India which represent 20 respondents, 46.3% come from Madagascar which represents 37 workers and at last 28.8% of the foreigners are Bangladeshi that is 23 respondents (refer to frequency table in Appendix L ). Due to lack of local workers Aquarelle Clothing Ltd have recourse to foreign labour.

5.2.7 Category of worker at Aquarelle Clothing Ltd

Figure 5.7: Category of worker

After analysing the category of the participants and the role they play in the company, it can be said that 54 of them are unskilled that is 67.5%. 11 of the respondents are skilled which make up about 13.8 % of the sample. There were 15 professional who also took part, about 18.8% of the sample, a frequency table is provided in Appendix M. It can be deduced that from the targeted sample most of the workers are unskilled and do manual jobs.

5.2.8 Length of service

Figure5.8: Number of years working as foreign labour

It is clear on the chart that the length of service they have worked, one can easily see that it fluctuates. There are 16 workers who have worked for 1year, indicating about 20 % of the population. 20 of them, which are about 25%, have from 1 to 3 years of service at Aquarelle Clothing Ltd. 23 of them, 28.8%, have from 3-5 years working as a foreign workers. 15 respondents have worked for 7-10 years representing 18.8 % and 6 respondents of 7.5 % have worked above 10 years. We can deduce that most of the workers length of service is at about 3-5 years so the work at Aquarelle is good so that they renewed their work permit which is normally 3 to 4 years. A frequency table is provided in Appendix M.

5.3 Analysis and Presentation of Part II:

5.3.1 Section B: Recruitment and Selection

This section deals with questions concerning the recruitment and selection of the foreign workers at Aquarelle Clothing Ltd.

Figure 5.9: Recruitment and Selection

For the first question as shown in Figure 5.9 and according to the frequency table found in Appendix N. it can be noticed that 27.50% of the respondents strongly disagree and 30% of the respondents were neutral concerning their selection done through agency is worthy. The chart shows also shows that, 17.5% strongly agree and 15% agree with this statement. For the second question, 47.50% of the respondents strongly agree compared to 7.50 % who strongly disagree with this statement that direct selection by the company is in the interest of workers. In the third question, 25 % strongly agree that induction is given to workers when recruited compared to 17.50 % respondents who strongly disagree with it. However it can be depicted that most foreign workers got difficulty with the selection process.

5.3.2 Section H: Working Conditions

In this dichotomous question, respondents were asked any comment in relation to the working conditions

Figure5.10: working conditions

According to figure 5.11 all the 100% of the respondents answered negatively to this question.

Question 15

Do you have suggestions to improve working conditions of the company?

With this Open ended question foreign workers find it difficult to provide an answer may be due to fear of dismissal the respondents did not answer to this question.

5.4 Hypothesis testing

In order to provide a greater understanding than single statistics, additional analysis was conducted by the use of independent t-test to test the hypotheses. The independent t-test compares the means between two independent groups on the same continuous, dependent variable.The independent variable refers to recruitment and selection, retention, motivation, employees welfare, culture and the only dependent variable is foreign workers satisfaction. The first hypothesis is as follows:

5.4.1 Section B Hypothesis 1:

H0: There is no relationship between recruitment and selection and satisfaction of foreign workers

H1: There is a relationship between recruitment and selection retention and satisfaction of foreign workers

The independent sample test in table 5.1 below shows that the Levene’s tests for equality of variances column for the f-test are 2.399, 2.238 and 0.668 respectively to the following statement. The significant value of the three statements is positive, and greater than 0.05 indicating that the statements accept the null hypothesis. The group statistics table is provided in Appendix O.

Table 5.1: Independent Samples Test

Levene’s Test for Equality of Variances

t-test for Equality of Means





Sig. (2-tailed)

Mean Difference

Std. Error Difference

95% Confidence Interval of the Difference



Selection done through agency is worthy

Equal variances assumed










Equal variances not assumed








Direct selection by the company is in the interest of workers

Equal variances assumed










Equal variances not assumed








Inductions are given to workers when recruited

Equal variances assumed










Equal variances not assumed








5.4.2 Section C Hypothesis 2:

H0: There is no relationship between retention and satisfaction of foreign workers

H1: There is a relationship between retention and satisfaction of foreign workers

Table 5.2 :Independent Samples Test

Levene’s Test for Equality of Variances

t-test for Equality of Means





Sig. (2-tailed)

Mean Difference

Std. Error Difference

95% Confidence Interval of the Difference



In the workplace, the environment and atmosphere are welcoming

Equal variances assumed










Equal variances not assumed








The company’s rules and policies are supportive of foreign workers

Equal variances assumed










Equal variances not assumed








Foreign workers integration is of utmost importance in the company

Equal variances assumed









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