Jan. 18, 2023


2 min read

Foreigners undermine Lesotho laws

Foreigners undermine Lesotho laws

Story highlights

    Undocumented Chinese nationals threaten domestic economy
    Heftier laws required to deter foreigners from undermining local laws

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THE government is pulling all the stops to reign in foreign nationals who do not comply with the laws and regulations of Lesotho, thus exposing the country to adverse challenges like human trafficking among others.

These tomfooleries further threaten the country’s domestic economic growth as some firms benefit through illegal business dealings undertaken by such foreigners.

On Monday this week, a group of Chinese nationals was arrested for illegally staying and working in Lesotho.

The suspects who neither had travel documents nor permits were apprehended during a joint inspection that was held by police, the Revenue Services Lesotho, and various government ministries.

“The main objective of the inspection is to establish Non-citizens’ compliance towards set rules and regulations of the country. The joint inspection was conducted by the Ministry of Local Government, Chieftainship, Home Affairs, and Police, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Business Development and Tourism, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Employment, the Ministry of Health and the Revenue Services Lesotho,” the Home Affairs Ministry said on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry, Business Development, and Tourism has also noted concerns that foreign companies engage sales representatives, merchandising agents, and marketing and promotions agents to facilitate the trade of their products in Lesotho without following due processes.

The Business Licensing and Registration law stipulates that such agents should apply and be registered as business enterprises.

The law further shows that performing such activities without being registered is a criminal offense.

“A person who is not a citizen of Lesotho must apply and obtain a work permit prior to working in Lesotho according to Labour Code Act, 1992, Section 165. Failure to apply the aforementioned laws is also an offense.

“Therefore, companies operating in Lesotho that are engaged in such activities are advised to ensure that they comply with applicable laws as soon as possible. Failing which, the relevant authorities will have no alternative but to take appropriate action,” the Ministry of Trade said recently in a move to address challenges posed by foreign nationals who work unlawfully in the country.

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Heftier fines are required in dealing with these issues in order to deter perpetrators because as it stands, the punishment for contravention of related laws is too lenient and does not in any way threaten perpetrators. 

On Tuesday, three South Africans and five Chinese nationals were hauled before the Maseru Magistrate’s Court where each was slapped with a six-month jail term.

The convicts aged between 38 and 44 were alternatively granted an M1 000 fine each, which they all managed to pay before they were discharged.

The majority of Chinese nationals mainly come to Lesotho to open small-scale businesses but end up getting involved in criminal activities like trading, working, or staying in the country unlawfully.        

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