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FMM welcomes easing of hiring rules for foreign workers

FMM In The News: MALAYSIAKINI, Tuesday, January 10, 2023 - The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) welcomes the government’s announcement to ease the hiring rules for foreign workers and the extension of the recalibration programme under the Illegal Immigrant Recalibration Plan 2.0 (IIRP 2.0).

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced yesterday that the government will do away with the existing preconditions, including quotas, and allow recruitment to be conducted based on the company’s affordability and needs via the Plan to Facilitate the Hiring of Foreign Workers.

In a statement yesterday, FMM president Soh Thian Lai said the industry welcomed the urgent attention given by the government on the labour needs raised by industries, although the plan is a temporary measure to meet the country’s economic development needs.

“We thank the government for recognising the importance and complementary role that foreign workers play in supporting economic recovery, especially during this period of prolonged uncertainty with 2023 forecast to be a tough year as global growth is expected to slow down, global inflation to remain elevated and trade volume to contract,” Soh said.

He said the extension of the recalibration programme, specifically for the Manpower Recalibration Programme (MRP), until December 2023 is a good move as those who would be eligible for this scheme are experienced and trained workers, thus, reducing the time required to get them trained or retrained by the new employers.

However, Soh said, FMM would like to suggest that the implementation of the IIRP 2.0 comes under a single administration, preferably the Immigration Department, as this would eliminate any undue confusion in the process and any middlemen trying to capitalise from these schemes by offering workers at a fee.

He said the IIRP 2.0 should also cater for illegal workers wanting to return to their home country without any blacklisting, as well as those seeking to be legalised and rehired.

Soh said FMM is also suggesting that the government makes available a repository of workers available at the detention centres and workers whose employers were unable to get their permits renewed or send them back during the Covid-19 pandemic Movement Control Order period, which has since rendered them illegal, should be considered under this scheme.

He said he also hoped that the same easing of conditions on hiring rules for foreign workers would be applied to the legalisation and rehiring of illegal workers.

Soh said the entire process should also be conducted online, including introducing flexibility on payment modes, which would allow for a larger number of workers to be processed via a single submission as there are currently payment limits imposed for each debit/credit card payment.

“The government should also consider a review of the compound charges by bringing it down to RM900, similar to the rate of the previous Rehiring Programme in 2016, from the current RM1,500 being imposed.

“Meanwhile the procedures and conditions must also be made clear to the embassies which will facilitate the renewal or issuance of new passports for their nationals who are seeking to be legalised and rehired,” he said.

The FMM, Soh added, is looking forward to the details of the Plan to Facilitate the Hiring of Foreign Workers and the IIRP 2.0, which FMM hopes would be released soon and preferably, engagement sessions held with stakeholders for a clear understanding and interpretation of the new procedures.

- Bernama

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