Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Drop in number of foreign workers

The number of foreign workers employed in the country has dropped by almost 500,000 over the past three years, The Star newspaper reported.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, who disclosed this, said Immigration Department records showed that 1.59 million foreigners were issued work permits in various sectors last year, less than the 2.06 million in 2006.

“However, we are aware that this does not mean the number of illegally employed foreigners is also on the decline because unethical and irresponsible employers continue to engage these people without considering the negative implications.

“The oversupply of foreign workers must be addressed urgently and that is why the Government is in the midst of beefing up the management and monitoring of foreigners in the country,” he said.

In the report, Hishammuddin said that 100,000 foreigners were granted employment opportunities by the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers and Illegal Immigrants between October and December last year following appeals by certain industries.

“Last September, the Cabinet ordered the setting up of a special committee chaired by Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam to evaluate and approve applications which met conditions and guidelines so that the serious issue of worker shortages faced by the manufacturing sector could be resolved,” he said, adding that the committee was only a temporary set-up which had ceased to function as of December.