Starting from April 1, it is compulsory for all employers applying to hire foreign workers to do so online, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Ahmad Zahid who is also Home Minister, said the ruling was applicable for applications for foreign workers from all source countries, except for foreign domestic helpers.
He added that the measure was taken to ensure employers were not cheated by employment agents and paying extra costs, as well as to prevent agents from taking advantage of foreign workers who were under dire circumstances.
"The decision on compulsory online application was made in the interest of all so that the Home Ministry and Immigration Department will not continue to be hurled with various accusations," he told Bernama after the ministry's monthly assembly.
Earlier, in his speech, Ahmad Zahid said previously the applications could be made manually or through agents who collected unreasonable service charges imposed on the foreign workers to be hired.
Ahmad Zahid slammed agents who take advantage of the hardship of foreign workers who are desperate for employment. "Those who want to work here are poor, and they pay tens of thousands of ringgit by selling their house, their land and borrowing from ah long (loan sharks) in their own countries. When (they) come in here in droves, no employers take them and in the end, they lose their property while their wives and children are hunted down by the loan sharks," he said.
However, no website was provided immediately and employers expressed concern when the news went viral. Calls to the Home Ministry’s hotline number were answered but redirected to the Immigration’s foreign workers section which went unanswered, according to a report in Malay Mail.
One employer said checks online as to how to go about the applications online proved futile as the Immigration Department’s website did not have any information on the application process. “The last update on the foreign workers section of the website was on the implementation of the Immigration Security Clearance (ISC) for future foreign workers before visa issuance which was dated May 4, 2015,” the employer told Malay Mail.
Following Malay Mail's visit to the Immigration Department’s Federal Territories office to enquire about the application process: “Employers seeking to begin the process of applying to hire foreign workers have to first download the checklist of required documents from the Home Ministry’s website,” said an officer on duty. He added that this process can only be done at the Putrajaya headquarters.