PUTRAJAYA: To prevent critical sectors from suffering losses due to a lack of workers, a new category of employers is now allowed to participate in the Labour Recalibration Plan, while work permits for foreign workers in the plantation sector that are about to expire will be extended for another year.
The Labour Recalibration Plan has now been extended to employers in the sub-sectors of the service industry – restaurants, cargo, wholesale and retail, and cleaning services.
These are the decisions made by the foreign workers’ management committee at its meeting to extend help so that these sectors can recover.
Announcing this, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said the government had agreed to give a one-year extension to work permits for foreign workers in the plantation sector following an appeal by the industry.
“We are allowing the extension because we do not want a sector that gives great returns to the economy to suffer losses.
“We were informed that the sector will lose an estimated RM10bil if it does not have enough workers and harvesters, ” he told a press conference after jointly chairing the meeting with Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.
The extension is for workers in the sector whose permits are to expire and not those whose employment visa has already expired. If the permit expires in May, it will be valid until May next year.
The extension is only given to those whose work permits are expiring on their 13th year of employment.
On the latest addition to the Labour Recalibration Plan, Hamzah said this was to ensure a labour shortage would not affect efficiency in these sectors.
The meeting also agreed to expand conditions for the programme, including allowing those who registered for the rehiring and 6P programme (which legalises foreign workers) but did not receive work permits; those who had fled from their employers but the matter was unreported; and illegal immigrants who have original and valid travel documents.
Last November, the government announced the Labour Recalibration Plan to allow employers in the construction, manufacturing, plantation and agriculture sectors to legally employ undocumented foreign workers.
The government also rolled out the Repatriation Recalibration Plan where undocumented immigrants can volunteer to return to their homeland.
The Labour and Repatriation Recalibration Plans are for employers and undocumented immigrants in Peninsular Malaysia.
To date, 71,510 undocumented migrants have registered for the Labour Recalibration Plan. The Repatriation Recalibration Plan saw the registration of 73,503 illegal immigrants, of whom 57,956 have left the country, with the government having collected RM35.7mil in fees and compounds.
Hamzah said: “It is important to have this programme to ensure foreigners who are in Malaysia are legal. Enforcement on undocumented migrants will be continued to safeguard the country’s sovereignty.
“Those who do not have identification and with no valid documents are deemed to have committed an offence for staying in the country without the permission of the government of Malaysia.
“Once those working illegally have been given permits, it will also help in the national vaccination initiative as they can be inoculated.”