Employers in Malaysia can re-employ foreign workers with PLKS

Prior to this, the Immigration Department of Malaysia (JIM) only allowed employers to hire foreign workers with PLKS for up to a maximum of five years.

The Immigration Department of Malaysia (JIM) has announced that employers in Malaysia are allowed to re-employ foreign workers with a valid temporary working visit pass (Pas Lawatan Kerja Sementara, or PLKS) through the Rehiring Programme on a year-by-year basis, up to a maximum of five years. This will come into effect from 20 December 2021 (Monday).

The extension of the re-employment measure through Malaysia's Rehiring Programme was announced on 15 December 2021 (Wednesday) by JIM's Director General, Khairul Dzaimee. He said this is to help employers, especially those who are working in Sector 30 (dubbed as "the dirty, the difficult, and the dangerous"), to better manage their manpower with what they require, and with a longer employment timeframe.

Prior to this announcement, employers were strictly limited to having foreign workers for not more than five years.

In other words, in a situation where employer A hired foreign worker A in 2021, employer A could previously only work with foreign worker A until 2026. However, with the aforementioned extension, should employer A require foreign worker A to work for him for a few more years, he is allowed to re-employ him on a year-by-year basis for an additional (and limit of) five years until 2031.

With that, employers who would like to re-employ their foreign workers can take note of the following:

  • Employees and employers must not have violated any conditions of PLKS issued during employment under the Programme Rehiring;
  • Employees who have been blacklisted are not eligible to apply for an PLKS extension;
  • Employees are not allowed to change employers or sectors, except through the special approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs (Kementerian Dalam Negeri, or KDN);
  • Only employers and authorised employer representatives are allowed to submit PLKS extension applications;
  • PLKS extension can only be applied for online through ePLKS or MyEG, and
  • Consideration for PLKS extension is subject to the procedures for the employment of foreign workers in force.

The Rehiring Programme has been active since 2016. As of 30 November 2021, that have been 185,577 active cases of foreign workers being re-employed. The employment period of this group of foreign workers, according to DG Khairul, is slated to end in phases between 2021 to 2024.

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