Foreign worker issue needs intervention

Source: The Star Online

Technically, there is full employment for Malaysians and there is definitely a shortage of labour.

A group of foreign workers waiting for their documents to be processed. Pic taken from The Star Online.

A group of foreign workers waiting for their documents to be processed. Pic taken from The Star Online.

THE announcement by the Immigration Department on Tuesday that it would freeze the assets and bank accounts of employers hiring illegal foreign workers has been described as costly and complicated for the business community.

This description indicates the severity and unpopularity of this latest decision among business owners. Among the key economic sectors to be affected most by this decision could be plantations, construction, service and manufacturing.

To be enforced next month, this Immigration Department decision has stirred up a huge furore among almost all trade groups, including the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers and the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM).

It seems like a hasty and harsh move threatening to shatter the private sector that has helped the country to build up its economy.

Business operators feel that it is the country’s economy that stands to lose if the decision is not reversed.

“There is a necessity for foreign workers in our country, but the system to hire legal workers is costly and complicated,” said lawyer Michael Chai, deputy secretary general II of the ACCCIM. Read more

Firms question Immigration’s authority to freeze assets over illegal hires

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Migrant workers are led to have their documents inspected during an immigration raid in Kuala Lumpur. — AFP pic

Migrant workers are led to have their documents inspected during an immigration raid in Kuala Lumpur. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — The Immigration Department is not empowered to freeze the assets of employers who hire illegal foreign workers without a court order, the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has argued.

MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said Section 56 of the Immigration Act 1963 only covers offences and punishments that should be imposed by the court upon conviction, and that freezing a firm’s assets before then was premature.

“This presupposes that the punishment is imposed by the court and not the Immigration Department,” he was quoted saying by local daily The Star.

He cited as example the same law’s Section 56(1) (d), where “anyone harbouring any person whom he knows or has reasonable grounds for believing to have acted in contravention of the Act such as not having a visa, passport or work permit, could be fined upon conviction in court not exceeding RM10,000 or jailed not more than five years”. Read more

Immigration Dept to start freezing assets of employers who protect illegal foreign workers

Source: The Star Online

A group of foreign workers waiting for their documents to be processed. Pic taken from The Star Online.

A group of foreign workers waiting for their documents to be processed. Pic taken from The Star Online.

SEPANG: The Immigration Department will start freezing the assets of employers who hire and protect illegal foreign workers from next month.

Its Director-General Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said that there is a provision under Section 56(1) of the Immigration Act to freeze assets and bank accounts of employers, however, it has not been fully enforced.

“We don’t want the public to get shocked when we finally take this measure come October this year. It’s not a new thing.

“We hope the media can relay the message to the public so that we can create awareness, as well as inform employers of the consequences they face when they protect their illegal foreign workers,” he said at a press conference here on Tuesday. Read more

NGOs want govt to have comprehensive policy of migrant labour

Source: The Star Online

A group of foreign workers waiting for their documents to be processed. Pic taken from The Star Online.

A group of foreign workers waiting for their documents to be processed. Pic taken from The Star Online.

PETALING JAYA: A coalition of NGOs working on migrant rights have urged the government to come up with a comprehensive policy on labour migration.

The Right to Redress Coalition (R2R) said there were many contentious issues associated with labour migration in Malaysia, and they were not problems that can be ignored.

R2R member Rani Rasiah said that given the significance of migrant workers to the economy, and their numbers, it is not a problem we can afford to ignore.

She estimates that migrant workers make up one third of the workforce, and 20% of our population.

More than half the migrant workforce in the country is undocumented, she added.

“Certain economic sectors have become so dependent on migrant workers that there’s a fear of collapse if they are withdrawn,” said Rani who is with the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM).   Read more