Hiring Foreign Workers in Malaysia: Job Sectors and New Policy

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Malaysia has been a popular destination for foreign workers due to its thriving economy and diverse job opportunities. The Malaysian government has implemented various policies and regulations to govern the hiring of foreign workers in the country.

In this article, we will explore the employment policy for foreign workers in Malaysia, including the sectors allowed to employ them and the key requirements for hiring. If you are an employer or considering hiring foreign workers in Malaysia, understanding these policies is crucial.

Employment Policy of Foreign Workers in Malaysia

To hire foreign workers in Malaysia, employers must comply with several regulations and guidelines set by the government. Here are the key aspects of the employment policy for foreign workers:

1. Work in Approved Sectors

Foreign workers are only allowed to work in specific sectors approved by the Malaysian government. These sectors include manufacturing, construction, plantation, agriculture, mining and quarrying, as well as services. It is important for employers to ensure that their business falls within one of these sectors before considering hiring foreign workers.

2. Subject to Quota Approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs

Employers must obtain quota approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs before hiring foreign workers. Quota approval ensures that there is a balance between the number of foreign and local workers in Malaysia. The Ministry carefully assesses the needs of each sector and grants quotas accordingly.

3. Age

Foreign workers should be between the ages of 18 and 45 to be eligible for employment in Malaysia. This requirement ensures that the workers are physically fit to perform the assigned tasks and contributes to maintaining a healthy workforce.

Read more: How to Apply Foreign Worker Quota in Malaysia?

4. Immigration Security Clearance

Before foreign workers can be employed, they must undergo immigration security clearance. This process involves background checks to ensure that the individuals do not have a criminal record or pose a threat to national security. Employers must prioritise the safety and security of their workforce and the country as a whole.

5. Health

Foreign workers must undergo medical screening to ensure that they are in good health before being employed in Malaysia. This requirement is essential to prevent the spread of contagious diseases and safeguard the overall well-being of the workers and the local population.

6. Source Country

The Malaysian government has approved certain source countries from which employers can hire foreign workers. These countries include:

  • Thailand;
  • Cambodia;
  • Nepal;
  • Myanmar;
  • Laos;
  • Vietnam;
  • Philippines;
  • Pakistan;
  • Sri Lanka;
  • Turkmenistan;
  • Uzbekistan;
  • Kazakhstan;
  • India (only construction, services, agriculture, and plantation);
  • Indonesia (except manufacturing for male workers);
  • Bangladesh (only plantation via G2G agreement).

Employers must ensure that they hire workers from these approved countries to comply with the regulations.

Read more: Employee Management System: Definition and Importance

6 Sectors Allowed to Employ Foreign Workers in Malaysia

Now that we have explored the employment policy for foreign workers, let’s take a closer look at the six sectors in Malaysia that are allowed to employ foreign workers:

1. Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector in Malaysia plays a vital role in the country’s economy. Industries such as electronics, textiles, and automotive rely on foreign workers to meet their labour needs. Foreign workers with technical skills and experience are highly sought after in this sector.

2. Construction

The construction industry is known for its high demand for foreign workers. From large infrastructure projects to residential and commercial buildings, foreign workers contribute significantly to the growth of this sector. Skilled and unskilled workers are employed to fulfil various roles in construction projects across the country.

3. Plantation

Malaysia is renowned for its palm oil production, and the plantation sector heavily relies on foreign workers. Plantation companies hire foreign workers to carry out tasks such as harvesting, planting, and maintaining crops. The physical nature of the work often requires a large workforce, making foreign workers an essential part of the industry.

Read more: Top Recruitment Methods to Find the Perfect Hire

4. Agricultural

Similar to the plantation sector, agriculture in Malaysia benefits from the contributions of foreign workers. The sector includes activities such as crop cultivation, livestock farming, and fishery. Foreign workers play a crucial role in ensuring that the agricultural sector remains productive and efficient.

5. Mining & Quarrying

Foreign workers also find employment opportunities in the mining and quarrying sector in Malaysia. The extraction of natural resources, including minerals and stones, requires a significant workforce. Foreign workers contribute to meeting the demands of this industry, enabling the growth and development of Malaysia’s natural resource sector.

6. Services

The services sector in Malaysia encompasses a wide range of industries, including hospitality, tourism, healthcare, and retail. Foreign workers often fill positions such as hotel staff, restaurant workers, healthcare assistants, and retail associates. Their contributions support the growth and expansion of the services sector, catering to the needs of both local and international consumers.

Hiring foreign workers in Malaysia is subject to specific policies and regulations to ensure that the workforce remains balanced and meets the needs of different sectors. Employers must adhere to the approved sectors, obtain quota approval, and comply with requirements regarding age, immigration security clearance, health, and source countries. By understanding and following these guidelines, employers can contribute to a diverse and productive workforce, driving the growth and development of Malaysia’s economy.

To streamline and simplify the hiring and management of both local and foreign workers, consider utilising StaffAny’s applicant tracking system. StaffAny offers a comprehensive solution that can help you efficiently manage your hiring process, track applicants, and find the right candidate in a timely manner. Start optimising your hiring process today and build a strong and diverse workforce for your organisation with StaffAny today!

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