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Foreign worker intake deadline changes will leave manufacturers in the lurch, says FMM

KUALA LUMPUR (March 6): The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) expressed shock over the recent changes to foreign worker policy.

FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said in a statement on Wednesday that the abrupt decision to shorten the quota validity period for those who still have active quota balance with only one month’s notice and to revoke all active quotas after March 31, 2024 would be very detrimental as the sector has witnessed signs of business recovery in the second half of 2023 and is expected to pick up pace in the first half of 2024.

Soh said the sudden policy change will put many manufacturers in a difficult situation in fulfilling their manpower needs, especially those who have arranged their worker intake in phases according to their job order schedule.

He said many of those with active quota balance had either postponed the process of bringing in the workers earlier due to the weakening of the market or had spaced out the worker intake over the 18-month quota validity period to match their peak production period.

“Industries will now find themselves being unable to handle their job orders due to the inability to bring in workers as planned, which may lead to having to cancel job orders or be liable 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 limiting and were made 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 giving only one month for employers to get the calling visa issued would be an unrealistic 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.

07 Mar 2024