7,500 foreign workers to be let in

Essential service: Barbers, among other sectors, have faced worker shortages across the country.

KLANG: The initial quota for barbershops, goldsmiths and textile stores to hire foreign workers has been decided, says Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar.

“The matter was discussed at the Cabinet meeting and a decision was made to reopen intake of foreign workers for the three subsectors.

“Approval will be given for a quota of 7,500 workers,” Sivakumar told a press conference at a roadshow here yesterday.

He added that efforts will be taken to solve problems faced by sectors critically affected by a shortage of workers.

On Monday, in response to complaints that the three subsectors had been badly affected by staff shortages, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced a partial approval of applications to hire foreign workers for barbershops as well as textile and jewellery stores.

In an earlier statement yesterday, Sivakumar said his ministry and the Home Ministry had presented a Cabinet paper in relation to joint meetings between the two ministries on June 27.

“The memorandum addressed the issues related to the three subsectors, and on Sept 4, the Prime Minister made the announcement.

“I would like to state that based on the real needs of the three subsectors, the Cabinet has approved a quota of 7,500 workers.

“This is also expected to address the tendency of employers to use undocumented migrants, which we also understand has the potential to lead to exploitation and forced labour,” he said.

Sivakumar added that his ministry was also working with the Home as well as the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living ministries to arrive at a mechanism to implement the quota for the three subsectors.

The mechanism will emphasise adherence to the set hiring quota, fine-tuning of the quota together with the industries concerned, employer screening under Section 60K of the Employment Act 1955 as well as verification exercises via interviews with the joint ministerial supervisory agency.

“I am confident that this move will assist entrepreneurs who have been affected by difficulties in hiring local workers, to the extent of disrupting the continuity of their businesses,” said Sivakumar.

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