Immigration's VDR announcement has alarmed employers, says business group

PETALING JAYA: The recent announcement by the Immigration Department regarding the cancellation of foreign worker quotas for employers who have not applied for Visa with Reference (VDR) has triggered apprehension among employers, says the Federation of Malaysian Business Associations (FMBA).

It said the sudden announcement has led to many employers scrambling to hire workers ahead of schedule and outside their planned timelines, forcing them to expedite their recruitment processes.

"The process of hiring foreign workers is a complex and time-consuming one due to multiple stages of selection, application and medical tests before VDR application," said FMBA chairman Datuk Abdul Malik Abdullah in a statement on Monday (March 18).

"The abrupt surge in demand for foreign workers has exacerbated the challenges associated with these processes, potentially leading to congestion at Immigration offices and prolonged waiting time," he added.

Abdul Malik said FMBA fears the rush to recruit foreign workers may compromise the integrity of the selection process, resulting in substandard practices in vetting candidates from overseas.

"In light of these challenges, we urge the government to reconsider its decision and extend the deadline for VDR applications, providing employers with a grace period of at least six months to fulfil their quota obligations.

"As a responsible stakeholder in Malaysia's labour ecosystem, we remain committed to working constructively with the government to address the challenges facing the recruitment of foreign workers," added Abdul Malik.

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