THE business community continues to be beset with problems related to delays in the foreign worker recruitment process, which has resulted in the slow arrival of workers.
This will further derail business recovery and distort the sustainability of operations.
While we understand that the One Stop Centre at the Human Resources Ministry (MOHR) has approved close to 510,000 quota applications for foreign workers, with levy having been settled for close to 437,000 quota approved, only around 76,000 workers or 17% of the levy paid quota have arrived in Malaysia as of last week.
This is both alarming and frustrating given that the business community is in desperate need of workers to support their operations and tide them through the current challenging economic environment.
Although the interview process is now more organised and efficient, a further bottleneck in the recruitment process is the lengthy period for the calling visa approvals by the Immigration Department, particularly in the Klang Valley. The process can take close to six weeks.
Employers are unable to understand why it is taking such a long time when most of the information is already in the system. At the same time, feedback from employers is that the delivery of service at the Immigration Department is not in line with the sense of urgency of the businesses.
Employers are not able to understand why the calling visa cannot be processed online with minimal requirement for employers to make multiple trips to the Immigration Department.
This is a waste of resources and time.
In this regard, the business community is urging the Immigration Department to show greater urgency and sensitivity in handling the needs of businesses and for a more efficient, coordinated and facilitative approach by all the parties involved in the various stages of approval.
Ideally, all processes should be conducted online via the single online system to improve the efficiency and shorten the waiting time between processes so that the mobilisation of workers could be expedited.
Specifically, the business community seeks the coordinated support and facilitation of all the government agencies, in particular the Immigration Department, to deploy more approving officers to the states in greater need of foreign workers during this period.
The problem of insufficient flights is also holding up the speedy arrival of workers. We therefore hope our local airlines can be allowed to increase the frequency of flights to and from the source countries.
TAN SRI SOH THIAN LAI
National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia