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UN aid agency concerned over S. Sudan's new work permit policy

7 (Xinhua) -- The UN humanitarian agency in South Sudan on Tuesday expressed concerns about the hiking of work permit fees for foreigners and a recent government order giving expatriates a month to obtain work permits. Ian Ridley, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in South Sudan, said the new work permit fees and other fees enacted in September will make it even more costly for aid organizations, both national and international, to deliver much-needed aid to people in need. "OCHA affirms that humanitarian organizations working in South Sudan must uphold the laws of the country; however the uneven and sometimes unpredictable implementation of the law sometimes presents challenges to NGOs and other partners," Ridley told Xinhua. South Sudan's relief agency said on Monday that it identified more than 1,000 illegal expatriates working with humanitarian organizations in the east African nation, and has given them a one-month ultimatum to acquire work permits or face the law. A letter, addressed to UNOCHA dated Nov. 2 by the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC), made public the names of the individuals and the organizations they work for, and ordered them to obtain work permits by Dec. 4. In March, South Sudan increased work permit fees for foreign workers from 100 U.S. dollars to 10,000 dollars for professional/business class, 2,000 dollars for blue collar jobs and 1,000 dollars for casual laborers.

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