No more foreign worker approvals


PUTRAJAYA: There are no plans to allow new foreign workers to be brought in as close to 1.8 million places for them have already been approved, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

The Home Minister said that to date, his ministry had registered 680,000 foreign workers via the Recalibration Programme.

The Human Resources Ministry, on the other hand, has approved a quota of 1.136 million workers.

“I don’t see why we need to lift the freeze. We already approved 1.8 million foreign workers for all sectors, including the five critical ones,” he said referring to the construction, manufacturing, services, plantation and agriculture sectors.

“Why should we open for more hiring when the number that has already been approved is high?” he told reporters after co-chairing a foreign workers management committee meeting with Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar.

There have been calls for the government to consider lifting the across-the-board halt to foreign worker applications and to lift the freeze imposed in March on the intake of new workers.

On March 19, Sivakumar announced that the quota application and approval for foreign workers, including through the Foreign Worker Employment Relaxation Plan (PKPP), had been postponed to an undetermined date.

Saifuddin said that to date, some 400,000 foreign workers have been brought in for the five critical sectors through the PKPP and recalibration programme.

However, this is still short of the 518,000 workers recommended by Bank Negara and the Economy Ministry to meet the needs of the market since pandemic restrictions have been lifted.“We believe it can be achieved in the second quarter of 2023,” he added.

Saifuddin said some employers needed more time to bring in all their workers despite getting their quotas approved.

“Due to a lack of capital, some employers can only bring in, for example, 300 from the 1,000 foreign workers that were approved for them. Some claim to be facing bureaucratic issues with the source country. We have given the approval so the onus is on the employers to bring the workers to Malaysia,” he added.

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