NCCIM urges govt to review unused foreign worker quota deadline

NCCIM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCIM) has urged the government to reassess the decision to cancel the unused foreign worker quota by March 31, 2024.

NCCIM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai expressed this concern in light of the recent circular disseminated by the Department of Immigration, Ministry of Home Affairs, updating regulations on the management and intake of foreign workers.

The circular outlines that employers with an active quota for foreign workers must bring workers into the country by May 31, 2024, a significant reversal from the previously set deadline of September 2024 and cancel the unused foreign worker quota by March 31, 2024.

"The repercussions of these announcements extend beyond individual businesses, potentially impacting the broader economy and the country’s ability to attract and retain foreign investment,” he said in a statement today.

The NCCIM proposed that the original deadline of Sept 30, 2024, be maintained to provide businesses with adequate time to comply with the regulations.

Soh said such abrupt cancellation poses a risk of causing substantial disruption to businesses, particularly in sectors which rely heavily on foreign labour such as manufacturing, construction, agriculture and plantation industries.

"This decision places a considerable strain on businesses, leading to potential delays and disruptions in ongoing and upcoming projects due to the unavailability of foreign workers,” he said.

Soh also highlighted the dilemma of foreign labour scheduled to arrive post-May 2024, which could leave them in a precarious position without employment. - Bernama

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