DPM: Bosses, not workers have to pay foreign worker levy from Jan 1
Employers will be responsible for paying the levy of their foreign workers effective tomorrow, Jan 1, 2017, said Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He said this was enforced under the Employer Mandatory Commitment (EMC) and the employers would be disallowed from deducting the levy from the wages of their workers.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said the EMC was to ensure that employers were fully responsible for their workers from the time of their appointment to the time they returned to their countries.
He said in a statement that this change in policy would ensure that employers were more responsible in taking care of their workers and avert cases of foreign workers running way, changing sectors of work illegally, and overstaying and becoming illegal immigrants.
Ahmad Zahid said employers should also abide by the Guidelines on the Minimum Standard of Foreign Workers Accommodation whereby the workers would stay in accommodation provided by the employers.
The minister also said that the government would soon introduce a Letter of Undertaking that outlines the responsibilities and conditions that every employer of foreign workers would have to observe.
He said the government was also reviewing the rate of security deposit imposed on employers who brought in foreign workers.
"The existing rate was too low and ineffective as a preventive measure to ensure that employers sent back their foreign workers to their countries of origin upon termination of their contracts," he said.
Ahmad Zahid said the recruitment of foreign workers was a privilege granted to employers to meet the manpower needs of industries and help national economic growth.
However, he said, there were employers who were not responsible for the workers they brought in and violated the provisions in the law and regulations.
Ahmad Zahid said the government had received reports that employers did not pay wages in accordance with the minimum wage, restricted the movement of foreign workers and kept their passports.
"There were instances where foreign workers ran away and the employers washed their hands of the matter and left it to the Immigration Department, police and other agencies to locate and send back the workers," he said.
Such incidents gave room to irresponsible people to indulge in human trafficking," he added.