Malaysia is one of Asia's biggest employers of foreign labour. But recently, cases of deaths, abuse and forced labour have come to light. What is going on? Who is protecting these migrant workers?
Many expressed surprise over Thursday’s statement by Deputy Prime Minister Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, saying they had no inkling this move was on the drawing board.
“We have been totally dependent on manpower supply and employment agents… now this has to be announced,” one of them told Malay Mail.
Last week, Ahmad Zahid announced that employers would no longer need to be physically present at Immigration departments when submitting applications to hire workers.
“This move can be done online,” he said after officiating the Home Ministry’s monthly gathering.
He said this was to make it easier for employers to get foreign workers while ensuring both employers and employees were not shortchanged or cheated by unscrupulous middlemen.
“The decision on compulsory online application was made in the best interest of all involved,” the Minister had said.
However, no website was provided immediately and confusion came about when the news went viral.
While many lauded the DPM’s move to rid the foreign workers industry of rogue agents, they expressed concern over online registration.
One employer said checks online as to how to go about the applications online proved futile as the Immigration Department’s website did not have any information on the application process.
“The last update on the foreign workers section of the website was on the implementation of the Immigration Security Clearance (ISC) for future foreign workers before visa issuance which was dated May 4, 2015,” the employer told Malay Mail.
Another employer surfed the Home Ministry’s website which has information on foreign workers, and had to be read thoroughly to understand what needed to be done.
Calls to the Home Ministry’s hotline number (03-80008000) were answered but redirected to the Immigration’s foreign workers section (03-88801594) which went unanswered.
On Friday, Malay Mail went to the Immigration Department’s Federal Territories office along Jalan Sri Hartamas, near the Jalan Duta government complex, to enquire about the application process and were surprised by the response given by Immigration officers.
“Employers seeking to begin the process of applying to hire foreign workers have to first download the checklist of required documents from the Home Ministry’s website,” said an officer on duty.
“Once the necessary documents have been prepared, applicants would have to proceed to the Immigration headquarters in Putrajaya to submit the documents and wait to be contacted.
“This process can only be done at the Putrajaya headquarters.”
When queried further about applying online, the officer said the process explained was the way to go about getting things done.
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