IPOH, Nov 7 — Recruitment agencies in Malaysia are not allowed to assign outsourcing companies to recruit foreign workers, said Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar.
He said that foreign workers can only be brought in by the recruitment agencies that are approved by the Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM).
“If an employer requires foreign workers, they must go through the proper channels and obtain the necessary approval from JTKSM as well as meet the stipulated quota.
“And importantly, the foreign workers can only be hired for the jobs stated initially and not for other purposes or placed in a different industry. This is wrong,” he told a press conference at the Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) Deepavali celebration held at Impiana Hotel here.
Sivakumar also issued a strict warning to all employers and recruitment agencies to stop bringing in foreign workers without providing work for them.
He said that stern action will be taken against those who do so.
“I have said this many times before and given strict warnings. Yet, two days ago, I ordered the ministry to conduct operations nationwide to stop such incidents from happening in our country.
“Because I don’t want to see any forced labour in our country as it can create a lot of problems,” he added.
Earlier, Migration for Development and Equality (MIDEQ) co-investigator Anita Ghimire revealed that some migrant workers are recruited by outsourcing companies in Malaysia rather than a company that requires their services — although the migrants went through the process legally as individuals.
She said that the outsourcing companies will then ask them to work informally for other companies.
Ghimire said it is important to note that there is no way for the workers to know that they have been recruited by an outsourcing company until they arrive in Malaysia.
“Only workers who have been employed in Malaysia for a few years can use their networks to identify if it is an outsourcing company or not,” she added.
Ghimire went on to explain that when there is ambiguity or incorrect information, the company will compel the workers to sign a different contract from what the recruiter gave them, and they have no choice but to accept it since they are already here.
According to a report by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) titled “Assessment of Causes and Contributing Factors to Migrant Workers Becoming Undocumented in Malaysia”, migrant workers often leave their employers for a variety of reasons including abuse.
Their work permits are tied to their employer so when they opt to change employers, their work permit is invalidated, causing them to become undocumented.
MIDEQ is an organisation that aims to convert knowledge and ideas into policies and practices that may improve the lives of migrants, their families, and communities.
The MIDEQ Nepal-Malaysia research focused on migration issues around gender inequalities, migrant perception, knowledge and decision-making, and the facilitation of intermediaries.