NCCIM calls for greater urgency in foreign workers recruitment
KUALA LUMPUR: The National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM) would like “greater urgency and sensitivity to business needs” with a more efficient, coordinated and facilitative approach by all the approving parties involved in the various stages of foreign workers recruitment.
In a statement today, its president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said all processes should be conducted online via a single system to improve efficiency and shorten the waiting time between processes so that the mobilisation of workers could be expedited.
“Specifically, the business community seeks the co-ordinated support and facilitation of all government agencies, in particular the Immigration Department, to deploy more approving officers to the states with larger number of foreign worker applications during this period,” he said.
“Although the interview process is now more organised and efficient, a further bottleneck in the recruitment process now is the lengthy period for the calling visa approvals by the Immigration Department, particularly in the Klang Valley, which can take close to six weeks.
“Employers are unable to understand the situation as to why it takes such a long time when most of the information is already in the system. The service level at the Immigration Department is not in line with the sense of urgency of businesses,” he said.
The statement said the Human Resources Ministry (MOHR), via its one-stop centre, has approved close to 510,000 applications for foreign workers, with levy settled for close to 437,000. However, only about 76,000 workers, or 17 per cent of the levy paid quota, arrived as of last week.
These figures, with over RM742 million over levy paid by the employers, are both alarming and frustrating given that the business community is in desperate need of workers to support their operations and tide them over the current challenging environment, he said.
He also said insufficient flights are also holding up the arrival of workers and would like aviation authorities to increase flight frequencies from certain destinations.
In a seperate joint statement from Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) and nine other associations related to the construction sector, the 10 associations urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to “immediately intervene” to help the construction industry as the “lack of action” to resolve the problem is “appalling.”
“The key to ensure sufficient supply of workers is to simplify the foreign worker application process,” the joint statement said.
Contractors are currently being “pushed to the edge of the cliff” as they have to service higher interest rates and overcome other challenges within the sector like higher building materials cost and other issues.
The 10 associations are seeking the Prime Minister to revert the entire foreign worker entry process to the Construction Labour Exchange Centre Bhd (CLAB).
“CLAB should be allowed to handle foreign workers’ issues without the participation of the MOHR as this was already the original plan for the construction industry,” the joint statement said.
“The current registration and entry of foreign workers have been broken into many processes toaccommodate the many outsourced entities that have been created to perform each of theindividual recruitment steps.
“Although it may be argued the fees imposed by the outsourced entities are paid by the foreign construction workers, these fees add an unnecessary burden to them and will ultimately be passed on to employers and eventually to consumers,” the joint statement said.
The statement said clear guidelines on foreign workers recruitment and simplying this process will “drastically” reduce the number of illegal foreign workers.
No employer wants to engage undocumented workers if the process to engage legal workers is efficient and transparent. The current processes need to be streamlined,” the joint statement said.
“The government will still get the required revenue and this can be a win-win strategy for all stakeholders.