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FMM calls for greater clarity on low approval rate of foreign worker applications

FMM In The News: NEW STRAITS TIMES, KUALA LUMPUR, Wednesday, April 6, 2022 - The government must clearly communicate reasons for rejecting or not processing foreign worker applications, said the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM).

Doing so, said FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai, would allow employers to quickly rectify the applications, where necessary.

"FMM views with great concern the low approval rate of foreign worker applications based on recent news reports quoting the Human Resources Minister on the approval status, after the submission process opened on Feb 15, 2022.

"Based on the data presented, the manufacturing sector has recorded the highest number of applications and the 0.55 per cent approval rate is very troubling, given the industry's dire need of workers to support their business recovery and expansion with the anticipated pick-up in sales, including external demands

"News reports also cited that there were applications unable to be processed due to incomplete documents and information as well as companies exceeding their quota.

"FMM welcomes the fact that applications are now completely online as this would ensure a more efficient and transparent application process with minimal human intervention.

"Nevertheless, it is important for authorities to provide employers with a clear, consistent and transparent process flow of the application process including the guidelines; criteria; documentation as well as terms and conditions to ensure a smooth and expeditious application process," he said in a statement.

Soh said, clear guidelines are crucial because the entire application process has migrated to the Foreign Worker Centralised Management System (FWCMS) that was previously used only for calling visa applications. 

As such, he said, employers may not be entirely clear with the new application process flow and requirements, thus resulting in some of the teething issues cited in media reports. 

The government, he said, should also allow employers to continue with the application process, at the point where it got cut off previously, rather than requiring them to restart the entire process. 

"FMM has also requested that the current 30-day mandatory advertisement period under MyFutureJobs be shortened since the legitimate need to recruit foreign workers is well established. 

"Employers would not opt to employ foreign workers if they are able to fill their vacancies with local workers. 

"On the seven-day quarantine period for foreign workers, which we understand is still applicable, FMM has suggested for companies to be allowed to take the workers to their accommodation facility for quarantine, testing and medical check-ups, instead of conducting them at government-approved quarantine centres that are mainly located in Klang Valley. 

"This would shorten the waiting period for employers to process the work permits for the workers. 

"FMM hopes for greater clarity and consistency on the process flow of the application process towards expediting approvals and entry of the workers to support the industry's manpower needs. 

"Any further delays in getting workers would seriously hamper our industry's business sustainability and recovery journey," he added.

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