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Govt hasty in freezing foreign worker applications, says FMM

FMM In The News: FREE MALAYSIA TODAY, PETALING JAYA, March 27, 2023 - Employers who have been given approval to bring in foreign workers cannot bring them in immediately as there are several reasons that hold up this process, according to the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM).

FMM president Soh Thian Lai said these include a hold-up in the process of sourcing workers, delays in the issuance of the calling visa by the immigration department, problems mobilising them in source countries, and a slowdown in demand making it less urgent to bring them in.

“The government must recognise that these quota approvals for workers are valid for an 18-month period.

“This gives the employers the necessary time to bring in workers, sometimes in batches, to cater for their changing production needs,” Bernama reported Soh as saying.

He was responding to the decision by the government to stop all applications and approvals for foreign worker quotas from March 18 to allow the employers to bring in the 995,396 approved workers for the various sectors.

Expressing regret over the failure of the government in engaging with the industry to understand the situation prior to making the announcement, Soh said the sudden decision had caught the industry by surprise.

“Freezing the applications and approvals until all these 995,396 approved workers arrive will deprive others of getting workers and affect those wanting to replace the staff who are leaving.

“They need to sustain their business operations for the next 18 months.”

Soh said some new investors would also have to start applying for their quotas as they would still require some level of low-skilled manpower for certain processes to begin operations.

“We therefore appeal to the government to resume processing applications for foreign workers to cater for their market-driven needs,” he said.

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