Shortened application process to address labour shortage

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, May 28 (Borneo Bulletin/ANN): Some 14,016 applications for foreign workers have been processed from March 1 until mid-May, the bulk of which is from the construction sector at 4,161, wholesale and retail at 3,548, food and hospitality at 2,006, and 1,339 for the manufacturing sector.

This was shared by Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Abu Bakar Apong during a press conference in the capital with regard to the issue of worker shortage in the Sultanate.

The minister explained that matters regarding the arrival or processing of foreign workers are handled by various departments and ministries, especially JobCentre Brunei (JCB) and the Labour Department, along with ministries or government agencies that act as regulators.

“The government, especially through JCB, has identified priority positions or priority sectors, as well as exempted positions, so that they will be able to speed up the application process in the categories,” he said.

With this, the minister said JCB has been able to shorten the process time from five days to two, provided that the companies meet its requirements and have also obtained approval or support from regulators.

Looking back in December, the minister said the Labour Department has given flexibility to companies with foreign workers.

“When their service agreement expires – they are allowed to continue their services without having to return to their home country, and likewise are allowed to extend their contract of agreement for another two years without returning to their country of origin, provided there is an agreement between the employer and employee, which has enabled to retain some employees needed at the time.”

The minister also said JCB and the Labour Department have examined the needs or requirements for certain sectors, especially construction, food, agriculture, fisheries and retail sectors so that the process of obtaining foreign workers for these sectors can be accelerated.

“This is because we know these sectors need foreign workers to perform their duties,” he said.

He assured that responsible government agencies will strive to help companies to make it easier for them to bring in workers so the country’s economy can continue to run smoothly. - Borneo Bulletin/ANN

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