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Difficulties in hiring foreign workers - Koon Yew Yin

Koon Yew Yin
Publish date: Thu, 20 Apr 2023, 11:47 AM
Koon Yew Yin
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An official blog in i3investor to publish sharing by Mr. Koon Yew Yin.

All materials published here are prepared by Mr. Koon Yew Yin

A few days ago, the MACC dragnet on the Human Resources Ministry widened with at least two senior aides to Minister V Sivakumar arrested. Sivakumar himself has been questioned by the MACC on its probe into the migrant worker approvals. He has reportedly suspended the two aides arrested and a third aide over the case.

When I was the Secretary General of the Master Builders Association about 50 years ago, all our members had difficulties in hiring foreign workers. Currently all the members are still complaining about the long process of hiring foreign workers. Malaysia is very short of workers in every industry. We need more workers to help us improve our economy.

Rules and policies of hiring foreign workers in Malaysia:

Sectors that are allowed to hire foreign workers in Malaysia

Can only work in manufacturing, construction, agriculture, plantation, and services (cooks, cleaning, island resort, hotel, golf caddy, cargo handling) sectors.


18 to 45 years old at the time of application.


1. Must be certified under the PASS Immigration and Security Clearance (ISC) at the applicant’s country [1]; and

2. Must be certified as fit and healthy by approved medical centers in the applicant’s country[2].

Individuals who are prohibited from entering this country[3]

1. Unable to show that he is capable of supporting himself and his family, he has definite employment or is likely to become a pauper;

2. Suffering from a mental disorder or is suffering from contagious/ infectious disease;

3. Refuse to submit medical examination;

4. Have been convicted of a crime or is connected with the conviction;

5. Prostitutes or person living and receiving the proceeds from prostitution;

6. Attempt to bring into Malaysia prostitutes/ other individuals for prostitution/ immoral purpose;

7. Vagrant or habitual beggars;

8. Entry into Malaysia is deemed unlawful under any written law;

9. Advocate for violence and destabilizing the government and its public officials or who teaches and advocates the destruction of property;

10. Any individuals who are affiliated or is a member of any organization advocating the above principles/ belief;

11. Deemed to be undesirable by the Minister;

12. Deemed undesirable by the Director-General as a result of repatriation of the individuals by the individuals’ country;

13. Do not possess valid travel documents or not in possession of those documents;

14. Family and dependants of prohibited individuals; and

15. Pass or permit has been cancelled by the Director-General.

Levy Payment Rates

1. Manufacturing – RM1,850.00

2. Construction – RM1,850.00

3. Plantation – RM640.00

4. Agricultural – RM640.00

5. Services – RM1,850.00

Nationalities that are allowed to work in Malaysia

1. Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.

2. Only male Filipino workers are allowed to work in Malaysia.

3. Indian workers are allowed to work in all sectors except manufacturing sector.

4. Male Indonesian workers are allowed to work in all sectors except in the manufacturing sector.

Procedure of hiring foreign workers in Malaysia:

Pre Arrival :

1. Obtain quota of foreign workers from the Ministry of Home Affairs, One Stop Centre (OSC);

2. Obtain the individual ISC results from the ISC results of the applicant’s country;

3. Apply to the Immigration Department for a Visa with Reference (VDR) approval via immigration counter or online[4].

Post Arrival :

1. Foreign workers can enter Malaysia via authorized entry points using issued VDR by the immigration office and entry visa issued by the Malaysian Attaches Offices in their respective country;

2. Upon arrival, the employer has 24 hours to complete the clearance process of their foreign worker;

3. Apply for a Visit Pass (Temporary Employment)[VP(TE)]. VP(TE) will only be issued once the individual obtains a medical certificate (FOMEMA) from a certified clinic/ hospital. It must be done within 30 days upon entering Malaysia[5]. Failure to do so will bar the individual from staying and working in Malaysia.

As you can see the rules and policies of hiring foreign workers in Malaysia are so troublesome. As a result, civil servants in the Human Resource Ministry are open to corruptions.

The new Government should simplify the rules and policies so that more foreign worker can come in to work and improve our economy.

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