Bosses: Clarify pick-up rule

PETALING JAYA: The Immigration Department rule requiring employers to receive their foreign workers at KL International Airport (KLIA), including the six-hour window to pick them up, needs to be made clearer, say bosses.

“Even though there is a possibility that the six-hour window could be extended, the duration is not specified.

“The rule also does not specify who can represent the employers.

“Can they be represented by directors, managers, human resources officers or can the appointed agents be authorised to receive the workers?” said Malaysian Employers Federation president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman.

Calling for a clearer clarification from the department, he also noted that the issuing of a “Not to Land” (NTL) notice would cause the employers to bear higher costs if the workers were deported.

“It will give rise to a lot of difficulties and challenges at a time when employers are facing a critical shortage of foreign workers,” he said.

Yesterday, Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud issued a statement on the rule when he responded to social media claims on the management of foreign workers’ entry at KLIA.

Failure to comply with the rule would result in the foreign workers being given an NTL notice and put on the next flight home, he added.

The rule is meant to verify the official status of the workers and the department says the six-hour period may be extended under “certain circumstances”.

The staff member of a maid agency here said it would be a “nightmare” if every employer must be there at the airport.

“Presently, an agency can clear the workers on behalf of the employers,” he said, adding that they had experienced clearing time from 8am until 10pm at KLIA.

Malaysia Human Resources Association (Pusma) president Zarina Ismail said the agencies representing the employers should be standing by at the airport prior to the arrival of the workers.

“It has been a practice for many years,” she said, adding that the cost of the pick-up service had been factored in for the employers.

Association of Employment Agencies Malaysia (Papa) vice-president Suresh Tan said the rule applied only to workers in the formal sectors such as plantation, construction and manufacturing.

He suggested the authorities streamline the mechanism by allowing both formal and informal workers to be cleared by agencies to save time and hassles.

“It is something that the authorities should look into because some registered agencies are responsible for recruiting workers in both the formal and informal sectors,” he said.

Domestic helpers come under the informal sector.

Tan also urged the the department to open up more counters to expedite the clearance process.

“While it is commendable of the department to remind employers to receive the workers themselves, it should also play its part in ensuring a fast and efficient process,” he said.

He believed that receiving the workers on time at the airport would boost Malaysia’s reputation of how it treated its foreign workers.

“By promptly picking them up from the airport, it shows that we appreciate them and they will also feel welcome in the country.”

On the six-hour period for employers to clear their workers at the airport, Tan said it was reasonable, noting that it used to be 48 hours.

The longer time had caused unwanted issues regarding the workers’ welfare, he added.

“Some employers took so long to receive their workers that issues like food and hygiene were neglected,” he said.

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