More employers in Malaysia will be allowed to hire foreign workers

Among a series of updates, employers will be allowed to apply for short-term permits of foreign workers to carry out infrastructure construction works and works in "prohibited areas and prohibited places."

A series of agreements have been made regarding the management and employment of foreign workers in Malaysia.

During the 7th joint committee meeting between Minister of Home Affairs Hamzah Zainudin and Minister of Human Resources M. Saravanan, the first agreement was seen on the need for foreign workers in the subsector of land and warehouse. On that note, employers in the aforementioned subsector will be allowed to hire low-skilled foreign workers.

That said, the Ministers – as well as relevant agencies – will implement control elements to ensure this decision does not affect employment opportunities for locals, as well as to reduce the dependence on foreign workers. Stakeholders can note that the Ministry of Transport will play the role of a regulatory agency to regulate the management of the workers' salaries.

The second consensus was in the approval of applications regarding the employment of foreign workers for the industries and businesses that are in charge of managing Walet's Bird's Nest, approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry.

Third, the Ministers agreed to approve a proposal paper from the Construction Labour Exchange Berhad to enable the relevant agency to fully manage the intake of over 100 foreign construction workers in line with the amendments to Act 520 – rules which enhance and ensure the standard, skills, and quality of construction personnels and their work – such as ensuring employees have a CIDB Construction Personnel Card and Construction Skills Competency Certificate.

Another agreement also saw relevant government authorities consider applications for short-term permits of foreign workers to carry out infrastructure construction works and works in "prohibited areas and prohibited places" (Kawasan Larangan Tempat Larangan, or KLTL). In relation to this, it was further mentioned that any such application in the future for their employment in KLTL will be decided by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Next, during the meeting, it was agreed to allow the employment of foreign workers in the consumer goods, as well as the laundry subsectors.

On top of that, there was a consensus to allow foreign workers from all 15 source countries to work in Malaysia's manufacturing, construction, and service sectors. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs website, they are India, Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, and Kazakhstan.

With regard to workers coming from Indonesia, the Ministers agreed that the Ministry of Human Resources and the Immigration Department of Malaysia (Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia) would hold an urgent discussion with the Indonesian side.

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Image / Minister Hamzah Zainudin's Facebook

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