Australian-listed Silver Heritage Group Ltd has denied a report by local Nepalese news outlet My Republica claiming the company has employed five foreign senior management staff illegally at recently opened Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa.
The report, published on Monday, claims that the foreign employees are in Nepal on “free visas” and don’t have the required work permits.
But Silver Heritage Managing Director and CEO Mike Bolsover and Chairman David Green both denied any such illegal activity when contacted by Inside Asian Gaming, pointing instead to a local partner for the unauthorized disclosure of proprietary confidential information.
“The article appearing in the Nepal press was made without consultation or comment from authorized spokespersons within the company,” Bolsover told IAG. “All of the employees mentioned in the press report appearing in Nepal in fact hold valid business visas and some unique roles can only at this time be filled with foreign workers due to their relevant skill set and global experience.
“We have always sought the advice of our local partners, local advisors and local human resources teams in seeking to adhere not only to international standards as an ASX-listed company, but specifically to those rules of the host country Nepal. Advice received to date, particularly from our local partner in Nepal, has been unsatisfactory and lacking and efforts to secure additional work permits have so far not yielded the desired results.”
Silver Heritage said that local visa requirements were complicated but that the company had always sought advice to ensure it complied with local laws.
“The new Nepal Labour Act enacted in September 2017 and the company’s expansion in Nepal via the recently completed integrated resort project at Tiger Palace has further added complexity to local human resources challenges,” it said. “With the recent elections in December meaning that there will be many changes to the various government offices, we continue to work with the Department of Labour, the Australian Embassy, our legal team and our human resources team to ensure the legal status of our expatriate employees is correct.”
The My Republica article quoted one of Silver Heritage Group’s local partners, Rajendra Bajgain, who claimed the company had failed to secure work permits for its senior staff and claimed the immigration department was investigating the matter.
In its reply, Silver Heritage said, “This unauthorized disclosure, in addition to various other breaches of the local partner’s consultancy agreement, has led to sanctions being imposed by the company [on Mr Bajgain], including but not limited to the potential termination of his consultancy agreement.
“We are confident that we will find a solution working with the Nepal Government. Silver Heritage has, to date, generated more than 1,000 jobs in Nepal, over 95% of which are occupied by Nepali citizens as disclosed on 9 February 2018 to the ASX.
“We are confident that the Nepal Government, both locally and nationally, is keen to continue to accommodate and support foreign direct investment into Nepal such as ours – of which there has been more than US$60 million in project costs at our venues in Kathmandu and Bhairahawa to date.”
Silver Heritage said that business at Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa and at its The Millionaire’s Club & Casino in Kathmandu had been unaffected by the report.