Jan 17, 2017

Putrajaya offering temporary foreign worker cards to illegal workers


Putrajaya offering temporary foreign worker cards to illegal workers
Ahmad Zahid said if illegal workers continued to be employed unlawfully, the government will lose out on levy collections, while putting the workers at risk as they do not qualify for insurance coverage. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 17 — The government will be offering temporary foreign worker cards to undocumented workers to absorb them into the workforce legally, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced today.

However, the initiative is only for those who are already employed, he said.

“But one thing that I want to state in the press conference today is about an important decision made that is rather important to the Cabinet Committee today, in addition to what's been stated there (press statement), is regarding the permission given by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) to this Cabinet Committee to issue documents to illegal foreign workers who have employers.

“They will be given the temporary foreign workers’ card because they are workers without documents from their home countries, meaning they don't have passports and the countries don't recognise the workers are their citizens. So the AGC is of the opinion that the current laws permit that they work,” he told a press conference today.

Zahid added that the initiative, however, would be carefully scrutinised so that it is only based on need.

Zahid said that the move is important because if illegal workers continue to be employed unlawfully, the government will lose out on levy collections, while putting the workers at risk as they do not qualify for insurance coverage.

The temporary foreign workers’ card will serve as an identification card, besides the temporary foreign work permit (PLKS).

“If they don't have documents, meaning they are illegal workers, levy won't be paid. Similarly, they won't have insurance coverage, and they cannot get social benefit in case of accidents and all that.

“That's why a system as this firstly is to fulfill the needs of employers who have hired undocumented foreign workers and secondly, production in the services sector and manufacturing sector can be increased.” he said.

He said the move would also address the lack of foreign workers in the country, which he noted had affected the country’s output badly.

“I want to say last year, only 1.86 million foreign workers were given the PLKS or temporary permit for foreign workers, compared to 2.135 million in 2015. This is a reduction of about 300,000 workers last year, but the impact onthe economy was too huge, including reduction in export and productivity and many in the services sector didn't have jobs,” he added.

Ahmad Zahid said that the country is in need of 2.3 million foreign workers, but only has about 1.86 million at present.

He also said that the government would not haphazardly hire foreigners and would always prioritise the needs of the local workforce.

“After 2020 till 2050, we want only about 15 percent of our overall sectors to have foreign workers. Meanwhile, 85 per cent must be made up of local workers, including in 3D jobs,” he added, referring to “dirty, dangerous and demeaning” jobs.

Original source: themalaymail

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