Ministries deliberate dropping freeze on sub-sectors

PETALING JAYA: The Human Resources and Home Ministers have met to deliberate the possibility of dropping the freeze on foreign worker recruitment for barber, goldsmith and textile shops, the Human Resources Minister says.

“I held a discussion with the Home Minister and Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister yesterday regarding the freezing of the textile, barber and goldsmith sub-sectors.

“These sub-sectors have been frozen since 2009, and the admission of foreign workers has been stopped since 2019.

“The unity government empathises with the employers that sent requests to reopen the three sub-sectors.

“However, there are processes to be followed regarding any government policies regarding the hiring of foreign workers, where it has to be brought to the Joint Committee Meeting between the Home Ministry and Human Resources Ministry regarding the Management of Foreign Workers first,” V. Sivakumar said in a statement yesterday.

He added that the matter must then be brought before the Cabinet before any announcement can be made.

“I have discussed with the Home Minister whether the temporary work permit for foreign workers (PLKS) for the three sub-sectors that would end in March should be extended to a more suitable date,” he said.

Any government policy on matters regarding the hiring and freezing of foreign workers, he said, will be made based on the current situation and real needs of the employer.

The freeze, which goes into effect on March 15, affects textile, goldsmith and barber shops, with many of these businesses claiming they will close due to an “unfair ruling”.

According to a circular from the Immigration Department, the last day to extend temporary work permits is March 15.

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