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Government Extends Freeze on Foreign Worker Applications

Quota application are set to be freezed until end of 2024

The Malaysian government, under the leadership of Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, has announced the continuation of the freeze on foreign worker applications. This decision, disclosed during a recent press conference, reinforces the government’s commitment to regulating the influx of foreign labor into the country.

According to Saifuddin, the current policy aims to maintain a balance in the labor force, ensuring that the number of foreign workers does not exceed 15% of the projected 17.1 million labor force outlined by the Ministry of Economy. With the existing figures indicating a trajectory towards reaching this ceiling by the end of the year, the freeze on foreign worker applications remains crucial.

This freeze, initially implemented in March 2023, has persisted despite appeals from the private sector to reconsider, citing significant losses attributed to labor shortages. However, the government’s stance remains firm, emphasizing the adequacy of the existing quota to meet workforce demands.

In addition to this decision, Saifuddin addressed the extension granted to the China Communication Construction Company, the contractor for the RM50 billion East Coast Rail Link project, allowing the import of its approved quota of foreign labor. This extension, essential for the seamless progress of the project nearing 70% completion, underscores the government’s commitment to facilitating high-impact initiatives.

The government’s steadfast approach to managing foreign labor underscores its strategic focus on balancing economic growth with the interests of local workers and businesses. As Malaysia navigates the complexities of its labor market, maintaining a prudent approach to foreign worker intake remains a cornerstone of its policy framework.