Foreign workers recruitment start here

KUALA LUMPUR: Employers stand to save up to RM10,000 when employing new domestic maids once they are allowed to do so directly, without having to go through maid agencies.

 In the 2018 Budget tabling today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that employers can now opt to engage maids directly from nine source countries.

 

 Malaysian Maid Employers Association (MAMA) president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein said this is a positive development as the existing cost could be more than halved.

 

“For example, if one were to hire an Indonesian maid through an agency, employers have to pay between RM14,000 to RM18,000 which include levies, visas, permits, medical costs and more.

 

“From the total, around RM10,000 goes to the agent for training, temporary accommodations, flight tickets and the ‘middlemen’ in Indonesia.

 

“Through the initiatives announced by the government, employers can bypass all these and deal directly with maids at the source countries. I hope this initiative is retained,” he said.

 

Apart from having the option to hire the maids directly, the government had also announced that employers can apply for visas for their maids from the Immigration Department online, at existing levy and processing fee rates.

 

Engku Ahmad Fauzi said the move would speed up matters for employers with regards to registration, as well as reducing the cost of employing maids.

 

“Currently, employers have to go to the Immigration Department themselves or use an agent to register their foreign worker. This is very inconvenient for those who are busy as the registration process can take more than a day.

 

“I am grateful to the government and hope that employers will be more responsible with their maids as they can now no longer pass the blame to the agents if any problems occur,” he said.

KUALA LUMPUR: Progressive levy hikes based on the number of foreign workers hired will be implemented from 2019, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said this will allow more employment of locals and systematically reduce the hiring of foreign workers.

"To encourage the hiring of local workers and control the number of foreign workers, the proposal to increase levy rates progressively has been considered and agreed," he said in a statement after chairing the Cabinet committee meeting on foreign workers and illegal immigrants in Parliament yesterday.

Ahmad Zahid said the decision, which was made after consulting stakeholders, would also encourage a working environment that is more conducive and competitive.

"The new levy model and rates proposal was presented by the Human Resources Ministry," he said, adding that it was one of the eight meeting papers presented yesterday.

"According to statistics as of July 31, there were 1.75 million legal foreign workers compared to 2.13 million in 2015."

He said the government has also agreed to increase the frequency of health screening for foreign workers.

"This is to prevent the increase of infectious diseases cases in the country.

"Beginning January, it will be compulsory for all foreign workers to do the existing health screening and additional screenings."

Currently, all foreign workers are required to do a health screening prior to leaving their country of origin, a second within a month of arriving in Malaysia, a third at the end of the first year in Malaysia and one more at the end of the second year of residing in Malaysia.

"The additional screenings must be done once every two months in the fourth, sixth, eight and tenth year, which is in line with the maximum 10 years of employment," he said.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) today lauded the introduction of online registration systems for foreign workers, enforced since April 1, saying there are huge benefits for those who utilise the systems.

“We have always supported online processing and advocate for the computerisation of the entire foreign workers recruitment process, from application to yearly renewals until check-out and repatriation,” FMM told the New Straits Times today.

The government recently set up online systems for employers to recruit foreign workers, namely the Foreign Worker Application System (SPPA), Integrated Foreign Workers Management system (ePPAx) and also the MYXpats system for expatriates.

FMM said online application systems provide greater convenience and time-saving, compared to the earlier system. This was because employers could now apply from their offices instead of having to be physically present at immigration offices.

“We do not have to line up in early hours of the morning to get the queue numbers and employers only need be physically present to collect their approvals,” it said.

It said costs should also be reduced as agents are no longer required to submit documents, queue or collect approvals on behalf of the employers.

“There is greater confidentiality to company’s information as compared to hard copies (documents submission) which could be easily duplicated,” FMM said.

FMM said the systems also alleviated the administrative burden of the authorities as each company would need to digitalise their information into the online system which would then be readily accessible throughout different government levels for approvals.

“It is not only green but also saves time, resources, papers and photocopy cost.

“We hope employers are able to track the progress of their online applications at every stage and all documents and information uploaded would be kept safe,” FMM said.

It was reported that all employers applying to hire foreign workers were required to submit necessary documents via online applications, except for foreign domestic helpers from April 1.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is also Home Minister, said the ruling was applicable for applications for foreign workers from all source countries.

He said the measure was taken to ensure employers were not cheated by employment agents and paying extra costs, besides preventing the agents from taking advantage of foreign workers that were in dire straits.

PETALING JAYA: The Home Ministry is currently investigating some of the 14 immigration state branches which have issued e-Kad to illegal foreign workers who have not gone through the Rehiring Programme.

Its deputy minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said it was wrong to issue the cards — that allows them to be identified to the authorities — unless the employee undergoes the programme.

\"This is wrong, (and) those who have obtained their e-Kad through this manner, return it. If they\'re caught either by the immigration or the police, their e-Kad is invalid unless they have gone through the programme,\" he told reporters here after visiting Western Digital (M) Sdn Bhd with some officers from the ministry and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority.

When asked if there may have been confusion when issuing the e-Kad, he said: \"The instructions from KDN (home ministry) are very clear — e-Kad is a subset of the Rehiring Programme and cannot be issued without going through it.\"

On how the E-Kad had been obtained by the illegal workers, he said: \"The Rehiring Programme is done at the Immigration offices. When an illegal foreign worker comes with their employer, they (the employer) will have to pay some charges, including a levy to the government and then, an e-Kad will be issued to the employee.

\"But, it\'s been identified that some immigration branches have issued the e-Kad without going through the programme,\" he said.

He declined to state how many e-Kad have been issued when pressed further.

On a separate note, he urged that all applications for foreign workers be done through online systems available on two portals — ePPax, a centralised foreign worker management system, and sppa, which is meant for hiring employees from Bangladesh only.

This is because the ePPax system is used generally, or business-to-business, while sppa is a government-to-government (between Malaysia and Bangladesh) initiative.

\"I hope that employers will not be confused on the matter as we have conducted engagements through the media and employers\' association,\" he said.

The ePPax website is www.eppax.gov.my and sppa\'s is portal.sppa.com.my.

\"When an employer enters his application in the portals, it does not mean they will get a worker\'s permit immediately. There is a second procedure to call the applicants for them to prove through an interview that they do need the (foreign) employees. We, at the Home Ministry, also want to make sure the application is legitimate.

\"Upon confirmation of the application, the approval letter and sticker for foreign workers will be issued,\" he added.