Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail today said around 400,000 migrant workers have been brought into the country this year to ease labour shortages in the five critical economic sectors of construction, manufacturing, plantation, agriculture, and services industries.
Saifuddin said this was below the government’s approval for 518,000 such workers for first half of the year, the relaxation of local requirements to employ migrant labour, and the legalisation of undocumented workers already in the country.
“If you look at the numbers in the approved quota and those registered under the recalibration (programme), we are confident that we can meet the need for workforce… even if we do not reach the target in the first quarter, it may happen in the second quarter,” he said.
Saifuddin said that the government had already approved a quota for 1,136,000 foreign workers, but only 400,000 were brought in due to factors such as employers hiring workers in stages due to financial constraints.
“Other than that, there is also bureaucracy in the source country. So, this deficit is not a problem on the part of our government as we have already simplified matters in terms of policy,” he said.
Saifuddin added that the illegal immigrant Labour Recalibration Programme 2.0 involved some 680,000 foreign workers.
The recalibration programme was started in January this year in a bid to supplement the country’s labour force, which had weakened throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.