Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Bosses group moots hiring refugees, undocumented migrants to tackle labour shortage

The Malaysian Employers Federation says short-term measures are needed until all issues concerning foreign labour recruitment can be resolved.

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The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) is urging the government to allow the recruitment of foreign workers from among refugees and undocumented migrants presently within the country to help tackle the labour shortage especially in sectors such as the plantations industry.

MEF president Syed Hussain Syed Husman said while the freeze on foreign worker recruitment was lifted in February, the application and approval process was not running smoothly, with no workers brought in so far.

“MEF is appealing to the government to allow other forms of labour to cover the shortage of foreign workers until they finally arrive in Malaysia,” he said.

“We can source for the required labour from among the refugees and undocumented foreign workers here and prisoners on minor crimes. These people with the special approval of the government can be deployed immediately to fill up the acute shortage until the new foreign workers finally arrive.”

Citing losses of more than RM30 billion in the plantations industry alone due to the shortage of harvesters, Syed Hussain said similar problems were occurring in other sectors such as manufacturing, tourism and construction.

“The Malaysian business community had spent a lot of time and resources to fill up the shortages but to no avail.

“Employers need the new workers urgently to assist in their recovery efforts and put their businesses on the right path,” he added.

In a statement, he said there were an estimated 168,000 refugees in the country holding UNHCR cards, more than 60% of whom he described as “potentially employable”.

“We need to look for quick solutions as short-term measures until all issues on foreign labour recruitment are resolved.”

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