Govt to review salary threshold for expatriates

By LYDIA NATHAN / Pic By TMR File

THE Human Resources Ministry is expected to set up an independent committee to review the current threshold for bringing in professional foreigners or expatriates working in Malaysia.

Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran (picture) said the committee will carry out a study to see if an expatriate could only apply for jobs with monthly salaries of RM5,000 and above.

Currently, the threshold salary for expatriates under Category III semi-skilled is RM3,000 per month.

Kula said jobs under the Category III with monthly salaries between RM3,000 and RM5,000 should only be filled by locals.

“This category can be easily filled by Malaysians. Why do we want expatriates to fill them up?” he told reporters after visiting Talent Corp Malaysia Bhd (TalentCorp) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Kulasegaran said his ministry has always placed the needs of Malaysians first, but also welcomed foreign investors and global expertise.

He said the committee will consist of government departments, non-profit organisations and other related bodies.

He added that there has been a downward trend in the employment of foreign skilled workers in 2018 due to stricter and tighter regulations by the ministry.

“There are about 71,000 expatriates that have been approved in the country but not all are employed at the moment.

“There are still many Malaysians working overseas which are about one million and it is important to bring them back so they can contribute to our country,” Kulasegaran said.

Meanwhile, Kulasegaran said the number of applications under the Returning Expert Programme saw a 20% increase after Pakatan Harapan came into power.

He said the trend showed positive indication of Malaysian professionals living abroad towards the country’s economy and the new government administration.

“Normally, the number of applications received are around 400 to 500 but this year, we expect it to reach up to 1,000,” he said.