Foreign worker recalibration programme to be reintroduced for one-year period, says home minister

The government has agreed to reintroduce the labour recalibration programme and create a more relaxed plan to employ foreign worker as a measure to fulfill the demand for foreign workers in the country.

Both programmes were among the matters agreed upon in the special foreign worker management meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that took place here today.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the labour recalibration programme that ended on Dec 31 last year will be continued for a year effective immediately.

“The programme is extended as it can offer jobs to foreign workers already in the country.

“We impose compounds on foreign workers who participate in the recalibration programme. Last year, we received over RM700 million in revenue through this programme,” he said at a media conference together with Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar following the special meeting.

On the implementation of the recalibration programme, he said that the labour sector in the country, especially in the 3D — dirty, dangerous and difficult — were hard to fill.

The previous recalibration programme was created to legalise existing illegal immigrants in the country so that they could be emplyed by qualified employers and was subjected to stringent conditions set by the government through the Immigration Department and the Labour Department of Peninsular Malaysia.

On the new relaxed foreign worker hiring programme, Saifuddin said employers will be allowed to hire foreign workers from 15 source countries without needing to go through pre-requisite hiring and quota qualifications.

He said he would head a series of visits together with the Human Resources Ministry and supervising agencies to the 15 source countries selected to discuss safety and welfare issues for the foreign workers.

The plan, however, is a temporary measure to fulfill the economic development needs and detailed information on the plan would be announced soon, he said.

“The government always ensures that foreign worker management in Malaysia is based on the country’s legal provisions and will ensure that the rights of foreign workers in the country are protected fairly,” he said.

Saifuddin added that the meeting agreed that the implementation of the Employment Act 1955, specifically Section 60k that was amended and gazetted on Jan 1 this year, relating to employer compliance, especially on minimum wage and Social Security Organisation (Socso) payments, will apply. — Bernama