PUTRAJAYA, Jan 5 — The management of foreign workers between the Home Ministry (KDN) and Human Resources Ministry (KSM) has been realigned in an effort to reduce the period of foreign worker recruitment to less than 30 days.
The proposed realignment of the foreign worker management function was among the matters agreed upon at the special meeting of the joint committee between the Home Minister and Human Resources Minister regarding the management of foreign workers that was held here today.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the management of foreign workers would be spearheaded by KDN as the “main custodian” while KSM’s role in certain aspects would be maintained.
He said KSM’s role in labour policy, determining quota eligibility and finalising cooperation with source countries under the realignment would be strengthened.
In April 2022, he said the centralised management of foreign workers would be under KSM and, now, KSM remained in the process, such as identifying source countries and entering into agreements.
“Under this realignment process, 75 per cent of approvals will be under KDN’s jurisdiction, for example, the process of employers applying for workers and the initial permission to apply for quotas,” he said at a joint press conference with Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar after attending the special meeting.
He said the Cabinet had, on Dec 7 and Dec 21, agreed to realign the roles of managing foreign workers and consider appropriate relaxation for the purpose of recruiting foreign workers in Malaysia.
He said that stakeholders like employers, industries, associations as well as foreign workers need not worry about the realignment because it would not affect the existing procedures and flow of applying to hire migrant workers.
“The focus of realignment is on the governance of foreign worker management,” he said.
He said today’s meeting also agreed with the proposal to relax the conditions and procedure of applications for foreign worker quotas to an optimum level to balance the needs of economic development with the interests of national security.
Among others, he said, the relaxation included efforts to simplify the assessment of employers’ qualifications to hire foreign labour, the conditions of quota approval and the immigration process and security screening.
“We hope this (realignment) can make the process of recruiting foreign workers be carried out in less than 30 days. We have seen how we can shorten this period,” he said.
As of Dec 31 last year, there were 1,459,196 foreign workers on temporary work passes (PLKS) in Malaysia, with a majority of them in the manufacturing sector (538,148), followed by construction (315,932) and services (221,621).
The total included 316,446 new foreign workers employed last year, he said, adding that the highest number of foreign workers in Malaysia were from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal.
Last year, he said a total of 1,606,724 foreign worker quota applications were received, of which 676,070 were approved.
Saifuddin said the government always ensures that the management of foreign workers in Malaysia was based on the country’s laws and, at the same time, guarantees that all foreign workers in Malaysia are fairly protected.