Monday, August 24, 2015

Something worrying about Malaysia's online application for migrant workers?

Online application, approved in 48 hours? Well, there is of course the question as to whether it is Zahid Hamidi's brother's company that have been awarded the contract to run this online management system?

The other worry is that how will the government evaluate and approve so fast...and who really are the 'employers', does it also include the 'contractor for labour'? 'Contractor for labour' do not have businesses and work that require workers - but rather are 'manpower suppliers' to the employers that need workers, who continue earning monies even after the worker starts working in the workplaces that require these workers. This 'third party' should be eliminated - and direct employer-employee relationship should be restored with the workplace owner/operator and the workers that work for him.

The previous system was better, and it also protected local workers, and was best for employers...

1 - Employer intending to employ migrant workers have to first prove that they have made every possible effort to employ local workers - and this effort had failed, giving them no choice but to resort to employing migrant workers.

2 - In this application, employers would have to specifically state the migrant workers they require - eg. welders, cooks, harvesters, etc.. and they also must indicate that the need is for 3-5 years. 

3 - Employers then will usually go to the country of origin, conduct interviews and skills assessment of the applicants, and thereafter make an offer of employment to the said migrant worker. Of course, wages offered will differ...(When only a standard wage is offered to all workers, this will be most suspicious...)

4 - Thereafter, the employer will supply the authorities with the names of the migrant workers, the job that they will be doing, and also the employment agreement. The government authority will then provide the approval required.

5 - Then the migrant worker is brought to Malaysia - and will the employee of the said employer. There is certainty for both worker and employer - and this was good.

Now, how does Zahid Hamidi think that this process will be done in 48 hours? 

Will there be a change in 'requirements'? Will not employers simply have to state how many workers, and the the said numbers be supplied to the said employer? 

This system is not a good system - Employers do not want just the required number of workers > they want suitable employees with the required skills, capacity and experience. 

Let employment matters be between employer and their workers - without the interference of third parties like contractors for labour, labour suppliers or recruitment companies. Let it be between employer and worker, and if the employer wants to use third parties as agents, so be it - but the law will still see that party as employer's agents - and employers shall be in law liable for all actions and omissions of their agents...

The problem that some employers are facing is that they cannot go chose and employ the workers they want - and be the direct employer of these workers...

When they go to the government for permission to employ their own employers, it is alleged that there is a lot more delay and obstacles... Employers are 'deterred' from making their own application - and are wrongly directed to 'deal with labour suppliers and/or contractor for labour' who the government has given permission to bring in hundreds(even thousands) of migrants...

Employers were bound with defined term employment agreements which really should be for 3-5 years at least - so they will not 'simply' bring workers in. They would want to interview, determine skills and capacity, and choose their own workers - for which they are willing to be responsible for the duration of the contract period. So, why don't the Malaysian government allow this to happen - instead of creating new, and sometimes unnecessary 'third parties' into the process... 

Laws could simply be enacted ensuring that employers are liable for all expenses in the recruiting process..

Employers must submit online applications for foreign workers - Zahid Hamidi

Employers must submit online applications for foreign workers - Zahid Hamidi
AHMAD ZAHID: We have carried out trials and found the (online) system to be more effective. -Filepix
PUTRAJAYA: Soon, applications for foreign workers will not involve agents, but the employers must submit their applications online, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said the online management system of foreign workers would be introduced soon to reduce the time needed to bring them into the country.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also home minister, said the conventional application where the employers were required to go to the ministry's One-Stop Approval Centre took between three and six months.

"However, the online applications will be approved within 48 hours after the application meets the conditions set by the ministry. We have carried out trials and found the system to be more effective.

"The single-window synchronisation system was created so that there is no overlapping and cross-communication between the ministries," he said.

Ahmad Zahid said this after chairing the first Cabinet Committee Meeting on Foreign Workers and Illegal Immigrants, following his appointment as deputy prime minister in the Cabinet reshuffle on July 28.

Asked if the process would be monitored by the home ministry, he said: "Employers will fill up the online forms and the government will look into how many foreign workers are needed.

"After that, the ministry concerned will liaise with the source country which has the list of registered workers to provide the number of workers requested, as well as several pre-conditions such as data and the foreign worker's biometrics which must be complied with, before the delivery process is undertaken."

On agents who were registered with the ministry, Ahmad Zahid said once the online application system was introduced, the employers would cut their costs as the government provided this service free of charge.

Besides online applications, Ahmad Zahid said the two-hour meeting also decided on two other matters relating to foreign workers - to meet the needs of the industry and boost national economic growth.

He said employers would now be required to provide the foreign workers with accommodation based on minimum standards set by the government.

He added that the provision of accommodation by the employers would be made a pre-condition for the approval of applications by employers who intended to bring in foreign workers.

"Centralised housing will be provided with basic amenities like dining area, toilets, prayer centres for different religions for humanitarian reasons, as well as to reduce the risk of social problems and crime."

The deputy prime minister said a pilot housing project had been carried out in Pengerang, Johor to accommodate 10,000 foreign workers in one housing area.

However, he stressed that priority and social safety nets would be given to local workers to be trained as professional and semi-professional employees in certain sectors.

"This is because foreign workers are only performing jobs which the locals are not interested in, as they are deemed as dirty, dangerous and difficult work," he said.

Ahmad Zahid added the meeting also decided that employers observed the principle of strict liability in their intake for foreign workers to ensure they were fully accountable for workers in their employ."Accountability begins at the application stage, to salaries and until the foreign worker is returned to his country of origin.

"The employer must also be accountable if the return to the country of origin exceeds the duration (of stay) and if the foreign worker moves to another employer," he said.

He said employers who did not fulfill the conditions would face a penalty, subject to the offence committed.

Meanwhile, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot, who also attended the meeting said the centralised housing provided for foreign workers must comply with the condition of 4.5-square-metre rooms and a toilet for every five foreign workers
. - Astro Awani, 19/8/2015

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