Red tape delaying hiring process of domestic workers

PETALING JAYA: The hiring of domestic workers is not affected by the government’s blanket freeze on foreign worker approvals, says an employment group.

However, it said the approval process at the Immigration Department is still long and should be expedited.

The Association of Employment Agencies Malaysia president Datuk Foo Yong Hooi said that Malaysians can now hire domestic helpers from Indonesia and the Philippines, with more source countries being proposed to the government.

“The process can be tedious as the process in the worker’s country of origin takes a lengthy time to complete. Also, Indonesia has stringent rules for employers to comply with before they can hire a maid or domestic helper,” he said when contacted.

Citing an example, Foo said an employer based in Selangor is not allowed to process the hiring documentation in another state. The restriction, he said, has hindered the hiring processing time on Indonesia’s side.

“In Malaysia, employers have to go through three stages for the qualification alone. They first have to go to the Labour Department for approval before submitting an application to the Indonesian embassy through a portal.

“Once they are through, they will send the employer contract to the Indonesian agency to get the maid to sign it before it is uploaded to the portal again. Once it is approved, it will be sent to Immigration for further processing,” he said.

Each application can take over a month or two to process at the Immigration Department, he said.

“We don’t know why, but it is taking a bit long to process while the maid has to be kept at the training centre of the source country while waiting to come. All the extra expenses incurred are costs to be borne by the employers here,” he said.

When asked, Foo said the extra expenses that could be avoided included the maid’s food and lodging at the training centre.

“When the space is held up while waiting, the training centre is unable to take in new trainees, while incurring more administration costs.

“All these expenses would be passed on to the employers, who are already paying an expensive price to hire a helper,” he said, adding that the matter was further compounded when the visa processing fee imposed by the appointed companies have risen exorbitantly.

“The rate has been revised more than 10 times in the last two to three years,” he said.

Foo called on the Immigration Department to expedite its processing lead time and allow domestic helpers to be brought into the country faster.

“It is an efficient way of keeping the cost of hiring low. I hope the relevant authorities will look into this,” he said.

, adding that the department has been taking a long time to screen through the applications.

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