PETALING JAYA: Allowing employers with illegal foreign workers to continue hiring them will help overcome the shortage of workers – a problem many have long struggled to resolve.
Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the move was a big relief to employers and would benefit the workers and the Government.
“By regularising the employment of the illegal workers, the workers get to earn a living while the Government can collect levies and fees from them with their presence properly accounted,” he said yesterday.
Shamsuddin added that there was an estimated 1.5 million to two million illegal foreign workers in the country.
The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) president Datuk Ter Leong Yap said the Government’s move was a pragmatic decision in recognising the contributions of foreign workers, both legal and illegal.
“The legalisation programme will ensure minimum disruption to operations.
“The direct application to the Immigration Department is most efficient and we trust that the application fees will be reasonable,” he said.
He said ACCCIM also welcomed the news that no penalties would be imposed on the employers.
“We appreciate the swift action of the Government to address the rehiring of illegal workers and we look forward to the permanent and holistic solution,” said Ter.
Malay Businessmen and Industrialists Association of Malaysia (Perdasama) vice-president Datuk Sohaimi Shahadan said there was no more excuses for employers not to pay the levy for their workers.
“We, however, hope that employers won’t abuse this facility or stop hiring Malaysians when their services are available,” he added.
Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) president Tan Sri K.K. Eswaran said the move proved that the Government was proactive in trying to help employers.
“This is a big relief, especially for many Indian restaurants who have been forced to hire illegal workers due to the shortage of workers,” he said.