Employers with no workers quota in a fix

In demand: Foreign workers, typically from South Asia, are a vital cog in many of the country’s industries.

PETALING JAYA: A freeze in the application and approval of foreign workers quota will deprive employers with no quota from getting any workers, says the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM).

Although the temporally suspension was to make way for employers with quota to bring in their workers first, the federation noted that not all the approved workers would come at once.

As at March 14, the government has approved 995,396 foreign worker quotas for various sectors.

It then decided to put on hold the application and approval of new foreign worker quota until this batch of workers have all arrived for work.

This means employers with no quota would not be able to get workers during this period of time.

FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said employers with quota would have 18 months to bring in their workers and some bosses may not want to start recruiting now for fear of being held up in the process of sourcing for new staff.

He said a delay in the issuance of travel documents, flight scheduling, flight capacity and other issues could also hamper the arrival of the approved foreign workers.

“The unexpected suspension would instead hurt the economic growth of local industries and the economy as a whole.

“The business operations of industries that are on a growth momentum and businesses with new orders or peak seasons looming in the near future could potentially be hampered significantly by this suspension.

“It will also intensify the already challenging business environment for our industries at the moment, as projections of a slower global growth could continue to impact the growth of our industries and the economy at large,” he said in a press statement yesterday.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Association of Malaysia (Samenta) chairman Datuk William Ng said the suspension would disproportionately affect SMEs and employers who are trying hard to hire local staff before turning their hopes on getting foreign workers.

He hoped the government would engage with industry players and reopen the application and approval for quotas soon.

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