Kuala Lumpur – The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) views with great concern the low approval rate of foreign worker applications as per the recent news reports quoting YB Minister of Human Resources on the approval status following the opening of the foreign worker submission process on February 15, 2022. Based on the data presented, the manufacturing sector has recorded the highest number of applications and the 0.55% approval rate is most troubling given the industry’s dire need of workers to support their business recovery and expansion with the anticipated pick up in sales including external demand.
It was also cited in the news reports that there were applications that were unable to be processed due to incomplete documents and information as well as companies exceeding their quota. FMM welcomes the fact that the applications process is now completely online as this would ensure a more efficient and transparent application process with minimal human intervention. Nevertheless, it is important for the authorities to provide employers with a clear, consistent and transparent process flow of the application process including the guidelines; criteria; documentation and terms and conditions to ensure a smooth and expeditious application process. This is particularly crucial given that the entire application process has now migrated to the Foreign Worker Centralised Management System (FWCMS) where previously the FWCMS was only used for the application of the calling visa. Employers may not be entirely clear with the new application process flow and requirements thus leading to some of the teething issues as cited in the media reports.
In addition, FMM would like to reiterate that it is very important that the reasons for any rejection or non processing be clearly communicated in order for employers to quickly rectify the application where necessary. Employers should also be allowed to continue with the application process at the point of where the application got stuck and not be required to restart the process from the beginning as a lot of precious time has been spent and would be lost if they have to restart the entire process.
FMM has also requested that the current 30-day mandatory advertisement period under the MyFutureJobs be shortened given that the legitimacy of the need to recruit foreign workers is well established as employers would not opt to employ foreign workers if they are able to fill their vacancies with local workers. On the 7-day quarantine period for foreign workers which we understand is still applicable, FMM has suggested for companies to be allowed to take the workers to their accommodation facility to carry out the quarantine period as well as all the necessary tests and medical check-up that need to be done instead of at the government approved quarantine centres which are mainly located in the Klang Valley area only. This would shorten the waiting period for employers to process the work permits for the workers.
In conclusion, FMM hopes for greater clarity and consistency in the process flow of the application process towards expediting approvals and entry of the workers in supporting the industry’s manpower needs as any further delays in getting workers would seriously hamper our industry’s business sustainability and recovery journey.