Wednesday, September 22, 2021

in-focus

[Malaysia] Govt to keep tabs on hiring foreigners


PETALING JAYA: Restrictions on the intake of foreign and expatriate workers moved a notch up with the government wanting vacancies and details, such as pay offered, to be advertised on its official portal first.

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Under the latest changes, employers seeking foreign workers through the rehiring programme and wanting to hire expatriates for higher-paying jobs have to advertise over a fixed period of time on the national employment portal, MYFutureJobs.

Interview sessions are to be jointly attended by Human Resources Ministry agencies such as the Social Security Organisation (Socso).

The move, enforced yesterday, is to enable the government to keep close tabs on the unemployment situation in the country with a view to giving locals first priority, the ministry announced.

Besides the expatriate category, job intake in the construction, plantation and agriculture sectors will also come in for stricter vetting.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan said information such as job title, salary offered, academic qualifications or required skills and competencies must be displayed ahead on the portal.

He said there were some employers who had tried to exploit the situation by categorising unqualified foreign workers as expatriates.

“We want to ensure that they are really expatriates, with a salary of at least RM10,000. Some employers pay them a salary of RM3,500 to RM4,000 and call them expatriates. We just want to make sure that employers are not taking advantage of this, ” he said when contacted yesterday.

There are about 2.2 million registered foreign workers in the country.

According to official statistics, the number of expatriates increased by 12.1% to 122,192 last year, with the majority coming from India, followed by China and Japan.

The expatriates were mainly employed in the services (52.9%), information technology (31.6%) and manufacturing (5.9%) sectors.

Saravanan said advertisements on vacancies should not be less than 14 days for the rehiring programme of foreign workers, and 30 days for the application of expatriates.

He said the ministry was, however, prepared to review the need to advertise for high-paying expatriate positions.

“The various business chambers must understand that we are also taking steps to ensure that their rights will be protected, ” he added.

Saravanan said the ministry fully recognised the need for foreign workers or expatriates for certain industries and key posts.

“By no means will we reject such applications, provided there is sufficient justification for such positions to be filled by non-citizens, ” he added.

He said there were many advantages in hiring Malaysians from the pool of experienced and competent local talents in the market.

The minister said the government was very concerned with the unemployment rate in the country, especially with about 300,000 fresh graduates entering the employment market this year.

“All key stakeholders, in particular employers and the relevant associations, have been urged to work with the government in supporting the employment of locals especially in this trying time, ” he said.

On feedback from the Centre for Market Education (CME) and American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) cautioning that the new procedures may lead to reduced foreign direct investments (FDIs) and less interest from multinational corporations, he said it should not be seen as such.

“It is instead a positive move that has the potential to increase FDIs in the future, ” he said.

From Nov 1, any employer and employee using JobsMalaysia will be redirected to the MYFutureJobs portal, which will be a single platform for the ministry to monitor job matching involving locals.

Employers are also required to register and apply through the Integrated Foreign Workers Management System (ePPAX) as a condition of compliance with labour laws for the employment of non-citizen workers.

The government had earlier imposed a moratorium on the intake of new foreign workers until Dec 31,2020.

However, Socso said employers could proceed with expatriate applications as usual.

Published : November 02, 2020

By : The Star/ANN