Hamzah: Firms can hire foreign workers if they finance deportation of those held at immigration depots


PUTRAJAYA: Big corporations will be allowed to bring in foreign workers, but in return, they are required to finance the repatriation of foreigners held at immigration depots.

The hiring of foreign workers in the metal, scrap and used item sub-sector will also no longer be allowed. These were among matters discussed at the first Home and Human Resources Ministers joint committee meeting on Thursday (Dec 3).

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said the proposal to get major companies to hire foreign workers with the understanding that they pay to send home those at immigration depots will soon be raised in Cabinet.

"The ratio will be one to one. If a company needs to hire five foreign workers, we will allow them to do so provided they pay to deport five migrants that are at the immigration depots.

"This is one way that we can resolve the issue of overcrowding in depots," he said after co-chairing the meeting with Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.

Hamzah added that companies can opt to hire those in detention centres but pointed out that only 15% of them are employable.

"There are undocumented migrants in the depots with criminal records and we don't think they are employable.

"Also we are of the opinion that those with family should be deported to their homeland.

"Employers can either find suitable candidates from the depots or apply to bring in workers from abroad provided SOP compliance on Covid-19 must be followed," he said.

Hamzah also said the hiring of foreigners in the mentioned sub-sector would no longer be allowed, adding that those currently hired will cease to be employed within the next three years.

"This means that foreigners currently hired under the sub-sector cannot have their work permit renewed," he said.

There are currently 21,154 people employed under the sub-sector with 2,931 of them are foreigners.

The committee also agreed with the Human Resources Ministry's proposal to postpone the implementation of a multi-tier levy.

This was supposed to be in effect on Jan 1 but will now be implemented on July 1, 2021.

Hamzah said the meeting agreed that the levy rate in the multi-tier levy system is reviewed to ensure its effective implementation.

Saravanan said the economic scenario following the pandemic had called for the need to review the multi-tier levy mechanism.

"With the delay in the mechanism, we call on industries to restructure their businesses especially in the aspect of labour where workers' employability should be given to locals," he said.

On the foreign workers illegal immigrants' recalibration programme, Saravanan said that the Labour Department had received 134 applications from employers involving the hiring of 19,734 foreign workers.

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