Hamzah: Employers must bear costs of bringing in foreign workers

Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin (Photo by Suhaimi Yusuf/The Edge)

Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin (Photo by Suhaimi Yusuf/The Edge)

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PUTRAJAYA (Oct 26): Employers who are interested in hiring foreign workers will have to bear all the costs involved in bringing them into Malaysia, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.

"The costs include levy payment and the cost of quarantine on arrival at the country's entry points," he told a press conference after a joint meeting between the Home Minister and the Human Resources Minister on the management of foreign workers, here, on Tuesday.

He said foreign workers are required to undergo a mandatory quarantine period of seven days at a government-certified quarantine centre and they could only enter via the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), klia2, as well as Sabah and Sarawak entry points that have been set, which will be announced later.

On Oct 22, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Covid-19 Pandemic Management Special Committee which he chaired had approved the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the entry of foreign workers to meet the needs of the plantation sector and other sectors.

The SOPs for foreign workers' entry will cover four stages, namely pre-departure, arrival, post-arrival (quarantine period), and post-quarantine.

On the Return Recalibration Programme, Hamzah said 147,705 illegal immigrants had registered for the programme as of Oct 21, and so far 124,423 had returned to their countries of origin.

"The government has generated RM71 million through the compounds collected," he said, adding that special counters were opened to facilitate their return via several exit points, namely KLIA, klia2, Stulang Laut, and Pasir Gudang in Johor.

As for the Labour Recalibration Programme, 212,926 illegal immigrants had registered to allow them to be legalised as foreign workers and so far 34,318 were successful while another 20,889 failed.

"A total of 157,719 illegal immigrants have yet to go through the verification process at the Immigration Department. Those who fail to meet the requirements will automatically be sent home through the Return Recalibration Programme," he said.

Hamzah said one of the reasons for failure under the Workforce Recalibration Programme is the age limit factor as those who wish to work in Malaysia must be below 45 and they are allowed to work until the age of 55.

He said under the Labour Recalibration Programme, RM106 million had been collected as of Oct 20, with revenue collection at RM4.15 million, which included recalibration fees, levy payments, work passes, and visa processing fees.

The highest number of registration came from the construction sector with 122,075 applications, followed by the manufacturing sector (65,484), and agriculture (12,003).

Hamzah said the Labour Recalibration Programme would be implemented until Dec 31 and it is opened to all sectors except those for which worker recruitment had earlier been frozen.