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Malaysia reduces window for foreign worker recruitment applications

Malaysia reduces window for foreign worker recruitment applications

It will now be 15 months and 23 days — a significant cut of up to 46% from the prior 29 months and 13 days.

Malaysia will be reducing the window for foreign worker recruitment applications to 15 months and 23 days — a significant cut of up to 46% from the prior 29 months and 13 days. This would also include a reduction in the levy payment period from 30 to 15 days.  

As announced by Minister of Home Affairs Saifuddin Nasution, this decision to reduce the application time frame was made during a meeting between the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Human Resources. 

As cited in Bernama, this new time period will only take effect after a new decision is made by the government on the new quota for recruitment of foreign workers which has been frozen since 17 March 2023.

Minister Saifuddin was quoted as saying: "The process of foreign workers recruitment goes through a number of stages, starting from approval, application for quota, interview by agencies until their arrival at the entry point of the country."

As things currently stand, per the Ministry's observation, 77% of employers settle the levy within a 15-day timeframe, hence the reduction from the previous 30 days.

In the same announcement, Minister Saifuddin said there will be a review on all memoranda of understanding with 15 source countries on the hiring and recruitment of foreign workers, including fees, cost, contract, and health screening.

At the moment, the highest number of Malaysia's foreign workers hail from Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Nepal, as cited in the Bernama report. Other sources countries include Thailand, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, and the Philippines.

In the same vein, according to a separate report by NST, Malaysia will be allowing employers to opt to transfer their foreign worker employment quotas to other employers in sectors facing a shortage. As quoted in the report, Minister Saifuddin said this comes given that some sectoors continue to face a deficit of foreign workers, including in plantation and agriculture.

While the number of workers in construction and manufacturing sectors are sufficient, there is still a deficit and high demand in the agriculture and plantation sectors. Due to this, the government will allow for employers to opt to transfer quotas to other employers in sectors facing shortages of foreign workers (NST).

Lastly, as further cited by NST, the relevant ministries have also agreed to resume the Recalibration Programme to send foreign workers who have overstayed in Malaysia home to their respective countries of origin, subject to the approval of the cabinet. 

This follows feedback received from embassies of source countries, where it was noted that those who have overstayed their welcome can be given an opportunity to be sent home through the programme.


Lead image / Minister of Home Affairs Saifuddin Nasution Facebook

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