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Home Ministry to take point on management of foreign workers in Malaysia, says Saifuddin

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 5 — The Home Ministry will be the main custodian for management of foreign workers in the country.

In a press conference today, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said this was one of the decisions made as part of three papers presented in a special committee meeting held with the Human Resources Ministry earlier.

"Firstly, the proposed realignment of foreign workers management will be be led by the Home Ministry as the main custodian.

"However, the role of the Ministry of Human Resources, from the aspect of compliance to labour policy, determination of quota eligibility, finalisation and cooperation with source countries will continue to be strengthened.

"Stakeholders such as employers, industries, associations and foreign workers do not need to worry about this policy change that is expected to begin on January 15 (this year),” Saifuddin told reporters here at the Home Ministry.

In the meeting, Saifuddin said both ministries have also agreed on the proposed relaxation of conditions and procedures in relation to application for foreign workers to a level that is most optimal, to balance needs between economic development and the interest of national security.

"Details of this will be announced to all stakeholders from time to time later,” he said, adding that the meeting also acknowledged presentation from the Ministry of Economy on foreign employment needs in the country.

When asked to elaborate on the restructure of the hiring process, Saifuddin offered an example of shortening the current timeframe needed to apply for foreign workers.

"For example from the entire process of prior approval — medial checks, visa application — we hope to shorten the entire process to less than 30 days.

"We see there is room to shorten this process. For example, previously, there is a process of advertisements which take up to 30 days, we have plans to short it to one day for example, or do away with it,” he said.

Malaysia still lacks approximately one million foreign workers needed to sustain various sectors’ needs post-pandemic this year, the Association of Employment Agencies (Papa) was reported saying.

The association said the number of registered foreign workers declined to around 900,000 during the government-imposed movement control order (MCO) in 2020 as compared to the 2.2 million-strong labour workforce before the pandemic.