Multi-tier levy system soon to help reduce foreign worker dependence, says HR Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: Companies that have a higher dependency on foreign workers may have to pay more for them, says Steven Sim.

The Human Resources Minister said the move was aimed at reducing the number of foreign workers in the country.

He said that a formula is being drafted for a multi-tier levy system to be imposed on companies based on the number of migrant workers they employ.

"Our target is to table it to the Cabinet this year. Implementation of the multi-tier levy will be done by the end of this year, if not by next year," he told reporters after speaking at the Concorde Club meeting on Thursday (May 9).

Revenue from the multi-tier levy would be channelled to upskill local workers, particularly from small and medium enterprises (SMEs), he added.

He said initial engagement with the relevant stakeholders and industries had just begun to gather feedback to work out the formula.

"The multi-tier levy system is to incentivise companies to reduce their dependence on migrant workers and help them train their local workers, or for local workers to take up higher-skilled jobs," he said.

Sim noted that the government has set a target of 2.4 million migrant workers in the country by next year.

Based on Home Ministry records, there were about 2.12 million foreign workers in Malaysia as of Feb 15 this year.

The Concorde Club is an informal group of editors and senior journalists meeting with politicians and key policy makers.

Previous guests of the Concorde Club, led by Star Media Group advisor and Bernama chairman Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, include Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Transport Minister Anthony Loke, and former MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.

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