Applications for foreign workers up significantly under new plan

PUTRAJAYA: A total of 2,000 applications from employers involving 155,621 foreign workers have been received by the government under the new recruitment and quota plan, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

The Home Minister said as of Jan 26, 19.58% of the applications had been approved while applications involving 125,156 foreign workers were still pending.

“In the first four days (Jan 17-20), the government received applications from 765 employers involving 56,622 foreign workers.

“From the total applications, the Human Resources Ministry approved applications for 30,465 foreign workers or 53.8%, while the remaining 46.2% was still being reviewed by the ministry.

“However, the number of applications increased significantly as of Jan 26,” he said during the Home Ministry’s monthly assembly here yesterday.

Since the inception of the new recruitment and quota plan for foreign workers on Jan 17, the Immigration Department had collected some RM6.1mil in levy payments from 93 employers involving 3,999 workers in various sectors as of Jan 26, he added.

Saifuddin Nasution said the Human Resources Ministry needed three days to verify the authenticity of the applications by employers before approving them.

“Among the criteria is the qualification of critical sectors which contribute to the nation’s economic development – service, construction, restaurant, manufacturing and plantation sectors.

“The ministry also focused on the employers’ authenticity, whether the business which applied for foreign workers truly exists. It includes reviewing the business status to prevent those from taking advantage of the relaxed policy by outsourcing,” he said, adding that data on approvals would be constantly monitored to ensure the high demand for foreign workers, especially in critical sectors, could be met.

However, Saifuddin Nasution said the challenge now was to ensure a smooth entry for approved foreign workers.

“I held discussions with the Indonesian Ambassador and Bangladesh High Commissioner last week. I will be meeting the Nepal High Commissioner as well.

“The meetings are vital to ensure the commitment from the source countries for the smooth entry of foreign workers,” he said.

On Jan 10, Saifuddin Nasution announced changes for a speedier processing of recruitment and simplified procedures for applications.

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