Malaysia will lift an earlier limit on the hiring of foreign workers, which was meant to protect jobs for locals in most sectors, the Human Resources Ministry announced on Thursday (14 August).
According to a report byReuters, the Ministry had said last month that the hiring of foreign labour would be limited to the construction, agriculture, and plantation sectors, in order to increase employment opportunities for locals affected by the ongoing pandemic.
While the Ministry noted that more than 67,000 locals and over 4,700 foreign workers had lost their jobs as of July, Human Resources Minister M Saravanan said some employers still claimed a need for foreign workers, and "urged the government to withdraw the freeze on recruitment of new foreign workers."
Minister Saravanan also urged employers to prioritise locals for their job vacancies. "Employment of foreign workers must involve those still in the country, and still have a valid work permit as well as in the same employment sector.
"Employers are advised to ensure that the foreign workers to be hired have undergone COVID-19 screenings as a standard operating procedure (SOP), as well as as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus," he said in a separate Bernama article.
In response to this, the Malaysian Employers Federation's executive director, Shamsuddin Bardan, expressed the federation's support for this decision, Bernama reported. Following this, he also urged the government to extend this to foreign workers whose work permits may have expired but are still eligible for renewal, in order to meet the varied demands of the different sectors.
"For example, there is a huge demand in the agricultural and plantation sectors where employers are retaining all their foreign workers. As there is currently a freeze on new foreign worker intake, these sectors will only be able to get workers from other sectors," he noted.
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