The government today announced it has put on hold the recruitment of workers from all source countries until it ascertains the actual manpower needs of industries.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the suspension would also enable the government to review the revised two-category levy on foreign workers.
He also said that the government would focus on the foreign worker rehiring programme and step up enforcement to ensure that no more foreigners entered the country as workers.
"Foreign workers without valid documents or have overstayed in the country will be arrested and sent back to their country of origin," he said at a casual meeting with soldiers at the Muara Tuang Camp, Sarawak.
He said enforcement against illegal foreign workers would be stepped up and implemented on a large scale in the country.
Zahid, who is also the home minister, said it was hoped that Malaysians, especially youths, would respond to the government call for local people to take up the jobs now held by foreigners and become the mainstay of the nation's workforce to drive national economic growth.
"The suspension will be in force until the government is satisfied with the manpower needs of the industries," he said.
More than 1,000 soldiers attended the gathering with Zahid, the first event of the deputy prime minister on his working visit to Sarawak beginning today.
Tomorrow, he is scheduled to attend a Prisons Day event in Padang Merdeka, Kuching, and conclude his visit.