Wait till end March before ending current foreign worker quota system, govt urged

PETALING JAYA: The government should stick with the quota application and approval system for foreign workers until the end of the month, says an employment agencies group.

"We suggest that the relaxation programme on hiring migrant workers announced by the Human Resources and the Home Ministries continues until the end of March of this year as per the announcement made by the two ministries," said the Association of Employment Agencies Malaysia (Papa) president Datuk Foo Yong Hooi in a statement on Monday (March 20).

As for the recalibration programme, he said it should continue until the end of the year as announced by the respective ministries.

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"It will help clear the backlog from last year. The extension of the recalibration programme has received an overwhelming response from employers since it was launched three years ago.

"The majority of the employers feel that it will achieve a better result," he said.

Foo noted that many illegal workers had made enquiries about the extension of the recalibration program and were in the midst of preparing their documents.

"The suspension may deter illegal migrant workers from coming forward in the future," he said.

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In a related development, the National Society of Skilled Workers secretary-general Mohammad Rizan Hassan welcomed the government's decision to postpone the application and approval of foreign workers' quota.

"The ministry approved a total of 995,396 employment foreign workers from various sectors as of March 14, but the number of foreign workers entering is still low.

"This shows that foreign workers are not that keen to work in Malaysia, while the industries are struggling to restore business operations," he said in a statement on Monday.

Mohammad Rizan said the current situation provided Malaysians many job opportunities.

He also called on industries to spearhead Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to solve the shortage of semi- and highly-skilled workers.

"The government should also set conditions for employers who hire foreign workers to be involved in TVET programme development," he said.

On Sunday (Mar 19), Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar announced that the quota application and approval for foreign workers, including through the Foreign Worker Employment Relaxation Plan (PKPPA), has been postponed to an undetermined date.

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