A guide to Malaysia's Workforce Recalibration Programme 2.0: Eligibility, costs, and more

A guide to Malaysia's Workforce Recalibration Programme 2.0: Eligibility, costs, and more

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Employers applying for the programme must be compliant with existing foreign worker employment conditions such as nationality, levy payment, pass qualifications, and more.

Earlier this year, Malaysia's Minister of Home Affairs Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, announced the extension of the Workforce Recalibration Programme (RTK 2.0) which will set more flexible conditions for legally employing illegal immigrants (pendatang asing tanpa izin, or PATI).

RTK 2.0 is a special programme to regularise PATI in Malaysia as foreign workers who are legally employed by qualified employers, subject to strict conditions decided by the Government through the Malaysian Immigration Department (Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia, or JIM) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (Kementerian Dalam Negeri, or KDN).

In that vein, JIM has shared a series of frequently asked questions on the programme – eligibility criteria, costs, processes, and more, as follows:

Q Who is eligible to participate in this programme?


    • Only valid employers from manufacturing, construction, agriculture, plantation, mining & quarrying, security guards (male Nepalese nationals), foreign domestic helpers;
    • Service sub-sectors such as restaurants, cleaning & laundry, wholesale & retail, cargo handling, spa, reflexology, kedi (men), hotels, island resorts, laundries, metals/scraps, and land warehousing;
    • Frozen sectors are: textile businesses, goldsmiths, barbers, welfare homes and recycling services;
    • For security guards, it will be subject to the quota approved by JIM and KDN;
    • Compliance with existing foreign worker employment conditions such as nationality, gender, age limit, levy payment, pass qualification, and so on, and
    • The employer should not be on any list of suspects or blacklists, declared bankrupt, or have pending cases with JIM. Not on the Suspect List and Black List; Not Declared bankrupt and have pending cases with JIM.


    • For sectors apart from the ones listed above, the immigrant must be from only 15 source countries: Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand, India, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan);
    • Foreign maids (PRA) must be from only the following nine source countries: Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, and Indonesia;
    • PATI who have committed an offence on or before 31 December 2022 under:
      • Section 6(1)(c), i.e. entering and staying in the country without having a valid passport under the Immigration Act 1959/63;
      • Section 15(1)(c). i.e. overstaying under the Immigration Act 1959/63;
      • Rule 39(b), i.e. violating the conditions of the pass under the Immigration Regulations, 1963;
    • PATI who have registered for the Rehiring Programme and the 6P Programme;
    • PATI with travel documentation stating the country of origin, and that is still valid for at least 18 months. a travel document of the country of origin that is still valid for at least 18 months;
    • PATI whose employers have reported them for absconding, with records in the JIM system, are not eligible for the RTK 2.0 programme;
    • The individual must not be on any suspect list or blacklist.
    • Age qualification for PATI: 18 to 49 years at the time of registration, and
    • The PATI must have undergone health screening (FOMEMA) and be certified (fit to work).

Q How much does this program cost?

Payment rates:

    • Deposit: No deposit charged
    • Recalibration fee: RM1,500 per foreign worker
    • Other payments:
      • FOMEMA
      • Levi:
        • Manufacturing, construction, mining & quarrying, security guards, and services sectors: RM1,850
        • Plantation and agriculture sectors: RM640
      • Temporary work visit pass (PLKS): RM60
      • Processing fee: RM125
      • Visa fee (differs by nationality)

Only credit cards and debit cards are accepted for payment; cash payment is not accepted. 

Q What is the time frame/duration of this programme?

This programme has been extended to 31 December 2023.

Q Does this programme involve vendors or third parties?

This programme is fully run by JIM and KDN; no agent has beenauthorised/appointed to manage applications on JIM's or KDN's behalf.

Q Are there certain sectors that limit foreign workers from source countries from participating in this programme?

Male workers from the Philippines are allowed to work in all sectors while female workers are only allowed to work as housekeepers.

Workers from Nepal are allowed to work in all sectors including the security control sector (as Security Guards).

Q Are private employment agencies (APS) licensed under the Private Employment Agencies Act 1981 (Act 246) allowed to deal in this RTK 2.0 Programme?

APS licensed C under the Private Employment Agencies Act 1981 (Act 246) are allowed to manage applications on behalf of employers but must accompany the employer for appointments with the Malaysian Immigration Department (JIM) for all matters such as taking biometrics for the verification process, and more.

Q How can we sign up for this programme? 

Employers can obtain information about the RTK 2.0 by registering here.

PATI verification:

JIM will contact the employer via the online appointment system, to accompany the PATI to the JIM Enforcement Division for a biometric screening. A PATI verification confirmation letter will be issued to the PATI and the employer after the screening process is completed.

Construction sector:

For contractors in the construction sector, employers can choose to use the services of the Construction Labor Exchange Center Berhad through this link, or apply with JIM through the RTK 2.0 portal.

Q What should the employer do if there are problems when registering the PATI through the RTK 2.0 Portal?

Employers can make inquiries through the online inquiry portal, or go directly to the Malaysian Immigration Department for further review.

Apart from the above, JIM has urged employers to refer to the basic conditions and criteria for RTK 2.0 before registering on the RTK 2.0 portal. If a mistake occurs during registration in the RTK 2.0 portal, it is the employer's responsibility.

Employers are advised not to attempt to obtain a PLKS for employees by giving false statements, and if they do so, the Application will be cancelled and action will be taken in Court under the provisions of the Immigration Act 1959/63.

Image / Shutterstock

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