PETALING JAYA: Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed has shot down suggestions by some employers that the age limit in the enforcement-card registration of foreign workers be raised from 45 to 55.
He said that if the Government decided to increase the age limit, it would be open to abuse.
“We are concerned that some will abuse it because they will become eligible to apply for PR (permanent residence) status if they stay more than 10 years.
“That is why we put the limit at 45,” he said when contacted yesterday.
Nur Jazlan was responding to the suggestion made by a number of restaurant owners.
Employers have to register their foreign workers under the Immigration Department’s E-kad programme, starting Feb 15.
The registration can be made at any Immigration Department office in the peninsula.
Equipped with a biometric security system, E-kad registration will be free and valid for a year.
Nur Jazlan also said that employers should focus on hiring locals and have a younger workforce to improve productivity.
“Employing foreign workers also deprives our local people of job opportunities.
“And now they want to hire older foreign workers.
“They need to look at the bigger picture,” he said.
Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said the issue was a matter for the policy makers.
Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the introduction of the E-kad programme was a positive move and would minimise the problem of lost passports and travel documents.
“The E-kad reader should be made available to all enforcement agencies so that cases of foreign workers being detained for not having the original documents on their person will not recur,” he said.
SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang said he received positive feedback from many employers.
He hoped that the programme would be implemented smoothly.
“Employers still need to prepare all the documents but those who have a history of running away from employers will not be eligible for registration under the programme.
“We hope Immigration can simplify the registration process. We urge employers to go directly to the department, and not go through agents,” he said.