PETALING JAYA,Dec 15: The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has slammed a new condition proposed by Putrajaya for the intake of foreign workers, in which big corporations are to pay for the repatriation of undocumented migrants detained at immigration depots.
FMM president Soh Thian Lai said this would be severely taxing on employers when the industry was still recovering, adding that the sector should not bear the responsibility of covering the deportation costs of illegal immigrants.
He said employers have already been made to fork out between RM250 and RM1,500 for a bank guarantee for each migrant worker, which is meant to cover repatriation costs should the worker abscond.
“Imposing additional conditions on employers during the current challenging business conditions will be very damaging on industries that are already struggling with many other cost challenges as well as labour issues in their business recovery process.
“FMM calls on the government to review this new condition and engage with the relevant stakeholders to come up with a more workable solution to address the current labour shortages faced by some industries,” he said in a statement today.
Soh said small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) also needed the intake of foreign workers, adding that the current labour shortage in the industry was not limited to big corporations.
He said employing foreign workers incurred higher costs now due to the new conditions set following the pandemic such as medical examinations and Covid-19 screenings. He said employers will have to absorb all these costs.
“In total, the cost of bringing in a new foreign worker can easily come up to over RM11,000 per worker. As such, imposing this new condition would make it impossible for companies to cover the total cost,” he said.
He spoke in support of Putrajaya’s decision to regularise undocumented migrants already living in Malaysia, but said the government needed to ensure that the programme is managed well.
He warned that some workers could decide to flee from their employers once they were legalised, adding that the tracking system for migrant workers was weak.
Soh called for employers to be allowed to screen the workers before choosing to hire them, while the regularisation of these migrants should not come with additional costs for employers, except for their work permits, passports and visas.
“In this case, even if the worker absconds right after the legalisation process, the cost impact on the employer would be minimal. Such workers should then be blacklisted and deported with the assistance of their respective embassies,” he said.