Malaysia to lift restriction on hiring of migrant workers


Malaysian government is lifting a limit on the hiring of migrant workers, said the Human Resources Ministry late on Thursday, after it made an announcement last month that the hiring of foreign labour would be limited only to the construction, agriculture and plantation sectors, to give more employment opportunities for locals affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“However, there were some employers who claimed to still need a number of foreign workers and urged the government to withdraw the freeze on recruitment of new foreign workers,” Human Resources Minister Saravanan Murugan said in a statement on Thursday.

He urged employers to prioritise filling job vacancies with local workers before considering re-employing foreign workers who are still in Malaysia with a valid work permit. The foreign workers, if rehired, must work in the same sectors they were previously employed in.

Datuk Seri Saravananalso said that employers should ensure that the foreign workers to be rehired have been tested and proven negative of COVID-19.

Malaysia hosts about 2.1 million documented foreign workers, according to government estimates.

The ministry said more than 67,000 local workers and over 4,700 foreign workers had lost their jobs as of last month.

Unemployment rose after the government imposed strict curbs on movement and businesses for most of the second quarter to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

These restrictions have been gradually eased since May, as the number of new infections fell. (Source: The Straits Times)