The Dewan Rakyat was today told that the human resources ministry had approved a total of 995,396 employment quota applications for foreign workers as of March 14.
Deputy Human Resources Minister Mustapha Sakmud said of the total, the levy for 84.7% of them had been paid by employers.
"Employers are given up to 18 months to bring in foreign workers to Malaysia after paying the levy," he said during the question-and-answer session in the Dewan Rakyat.
He was responding to a question from Chow Kon Yeow (PH-Batu Kawan) who asked for a list of all ongoing negotiations, completed negotiations, and those still in process, with potential countries to supply labour to the country, as well as the number of workers expected to be brought in and the length of time needed to overcome the current labour shortage.
Mustapha said most of the approved quota applications were for workers in the manufacturing sector, followed by construction, services, plantations, agriculture, mining and quarrying.
He said so far, Malaysia has established labour cooperation for the recruitment and employment of foreign workers through memorandums of understanding (MoU) with 10 source countries.
However, only eight MoUs are still in force with Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Pakistan, Vietnam, Nepal and Cambodia, he said, adding that the MoUs with India and Sri Lanka had expired.
He said the MoU with the government of India was finalised on March 13 and expected to be signed before the end of the first quarter.