Hamzah: Legalise foreign workers


PUTRAJAYA: The Home Ministry’s Labour Recalibration Programme, where employers are allowed to legalise undocumented foreign workers, has been expanded to more sectors.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said employers in all sectors, except certain ones that have been frozen, can register their workers with the programme until Dec 31.

“The Recalibration Plan is a chance for employers who are hiring illegal foreign workers to come forward and register with the programme to ensure that all individuals in the country are legal and documented.

“We want employers to take this matter seriously because having illegal workers will lead to problems. We saw how difficult it became when we tried to vaccinate illegal foreign workers recently.

“As a result, some undocumented migrants died due to Covid-19, and that only led to more problems for us all.

“So get your workers registered under the recalibration programme before Dec 31,” said Hamzah after a joint meeting with Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan here.

Initially, the Labour recalibration programme was for employers in the construction, manufacturing, plantation and agriculture sectors to legally employ undocumented foreign workers. This was later extended to employers in the sub-sectors of the service industry – restaurants, cargo, wholesale and retail, and cleaning services.

With Hamzah’s announcement of the expansion, only several subsectors, namely – laundry, welfare homes, textile, goldsmiths, hairdressing, and used items – remain frozen as the Home Ministry has prohibited the hiring of foreign workers under these categories.

Hamzah reminded employers that they have until Dec 31 to legalise their workers under the recalibration programme.

“On January 1, this ministry and the Human Resources Ministry will embark on a large-scale enforcement operations to catch undocumented migrants,” said Hamzah.

Hamzah said a total of 212,926 undocumented migrants have registered to be regularised as legal workers under the Labour Recalibration programme.

“Of that total, 34,318 undocumented workers have passed their verification process, while another 20,889 failed.

“Another 157,719 have yet to attend the verification process with the Immigration Department.

“Those who failed in the regularisation process will be automatically deported under the repatriation programme,” said Hamzah.

Some 124,423 undocumented workers have been deported as of Oct 21.

On the entry of new foreign workers, the government has said the cost of the mandatory quarantine of new foreign workers must be borne by employers.

Hamzah said new foreign workers arriving into the country must undergo isolation for seven days at selected quarantine centres.

“The special committee of pandemic management chaired by the Prime Minister recently allowed foreign workers to enter the country, starting with the plantation sector.

“The foreign workers can only enter the country via the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and KLIA2. They will also be allowed to enter Sabah and Sarawak through entry points that will be decided later.

“Employers are responsible for bearing the cost for the seven-day quarantine stay, aside from other costs to bring the workers into the country,” said Hamzah.

It is reported that about 32,000 foreign workers in the plantation sector will be brought into the country in phases beginning November.

The country had stopped accepting foreign workers following the entry ban enforced throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

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