Tuesday 23 Jul 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (March 6): The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) said it was caught by surprise on the latest changes to foreign worker policy.

In a statement on Wednesday, FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said the sudden decision to cut short the quota validity period for those still having active quota balance with just one month’s notice and to cancel all active quotas after March 31, 2024 would be most damaging as the sector has shown signs of business recovery in the second half of 2023 and is anticipated to gain momentum in the first half of 2024.

Soh said the sudden policy change will leave many manufacturers in the lurch in meeting their manpower requirements, especially those who have planned their worker intake in stages according to their job order schedule.

He said many of those with active quota balance had either delayed the process of bringing in the workers earlier due to the softening of the market or had staggered the worker intake over the 18-month quota validity period to coincide with their peak production period.

“Industries will now find themselves being unable to cope with their job orders due to the inability to bring in workers as planned, which may lead to having to cancel job orders or be subjected to financial penalties for late delivery or failure to meet confirmed orders.

“The industry finds that the timelines announced under the policy change where employers have to apply for the Calling Visa/Visa Dengan Rujukan (VDR) by March 31, 2024 and ensure entry of the workers by May 31, 2024 as very restrictive and were decided hastily without any consultation and understanding of the actual time frame it takes in reality for employers to mobilise the workers,” he said.

Soh said that allowing only one month for employers to get the calling visa issued would be a near impossible timeline as there is a long process involved, starting with the job order approval at the source country, worker interview and selection, passport issuance and medical check-up before the employer can apply for the Calling Visa.

“The process on average can easily take up to more than 2.5 months,” he said.

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