Huge Backlog in Approval of Employment Pass for Foreigners A Sign of Losing Immigration Autonomy?

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Press Statement By Michael Kong:

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Many foreigners who are currently residing in Malaysia are currently facing issues with the renewal of their work pass. Many employers are caught in a difficult situation of long wait for their employees’ work permits to be extended. With many of them having an expired pass, they are effectively considered illegal foreign workers if they decide to continue to work at this juncture.

There is currently a huge backlog in terms of the approval for foreign general workers’ AP quota with many applications having to wait anything from 6-8 months!

In the past years, our State Immigration Department has been able to exercise its immigration autonomy by issuing Temporary Employment Visit Pass without having to deal with the Labour Department. This has helped the many employers to get their workers to work pending the formal approval for their applications.

However, since early this year, the State Immigration Department has stopped such policy.

My investigation has revealed that the state immigration’s authority have been taken away from them. Now applicants have to apply for an Approval Letter for AP from the Labour Department before the employers can apply for the work permits for their workers.

The Labour Department will usually organise a meeting (chaired by the State Secretary or the Deputy State Secretary) for the purposes of deciding on all these applications. Without the State Secretary or his Deputy, everything jams up and no meeting can take place. The question is that such meetings only took place on one (1) occasion over the past one (1) year, thus resulting in the current huge backlog.

On top of this inefficiency and the predicament caused to our local Sarawakian employers, the current GPS government is effectively surrendering its immigration autonomy to a department of the Federal Government in terms of employment of foreign workers.

So much talk by GPS about the fight for autonomy, yet it is practically surrendering the existing autonomy which it has had all these years.

The current GPS politicians and ministers should go down to the ground and speak to the industry players to understand the plight of the people and to try solve the issues that many of these foreign workers and their employers are experiencing.

Michael Kong Feng Nian
Special Assistant to YB Chong Chieng Jen