Govt to stop employing expatriates below RM5,000

An independent committee is being set up to consider the removal of employment for expatriates under Category 3


The government is considering to stop employing expatriates that are paid below RM5,000 to provide more job opportunities for local talents.

Minister of Human Resources M Kulasegaran said the government is looking to retain employment passes for Category 1 jobs, which are jobs that are paid above RM10,000 a month.

Category 2 refers to jobs paying between RM5,000 to RM10,000, while Category 3 is for jobs paid below RM5,000.

Kulasegaran said an independent committee is being set up to consider the removal of employment for expatriates under Category 3, stressing the jobs can be filled by locals.

“We will look at removing Category 2 eventually, I think the local workforce is more than sufficient to fill up positions in both those categories,” “Expats in these categories are reducing anyway, so it is the government’s view that especially Category 3 should be done away with as soon as possible,” he added.

Currently, there are 117,000 expats in Malaysia to date, with 2,158 expats under Category 3, 26,003 in Category 2 and 13,362 in Category 1.

In January, the minister said the government is looking to review the current threshold of between RM3,000 and RM5,000 for expatriates in order to reduce dependency on foreign skilled labour.

Kulasegaran noted that, while expats complement and fill the gaps within the workforce, Malaysians’ job security should be prioritised.

“Through investments and knowledge transfer, expats help increase sectoral standards, attract foreign direct investment, and ensure a diverse and inclusive spirit in our thriving marketplace.

“But we have to create the right environment so Malaysians can reach their full potential and become a part of this strong talent pool,” Kulasegaran said.

He added that the government is currently in discussions with stakeholders to review the current wage threshold for expats. Kulasegaran said this after the launch of the Malaysia Expatriate Talent Service Centre (MYXpats Centre) yesterday.

The MyXpats Centre is expected to hasten processes for immigration-related passes for eligible expatriates to work in Malaysia.

The centre is a joint initiative with the Immigration Department of Malaysia, and will have nine agencies working together under one roof.

The nine agencies are Central Bank of Malaysia, East Coast Economic Region Development Council, Iskandar Regional Development Authority, Malaysia Digital Economy Corp, Malaysia Investment Development Authority, Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre, Public Service Department, Securities Commission and Talent Corp Malaysia Bhd.

Meanwhile, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman said previously, the process took weeks and required expats to go to different offices to submit their applications for employment passes.

“The process has been narrowed down to five working days, we understand it was very time consuming in the past but we are hoping with this centre, the application process can be more seamless,” Mohd Azis said to reporters at the MYXpats launch in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He added that the introduction of online payment for the immigration pass fee through the expatriate services division will be made available from May 2019.

This, Mohd Azis said will ensure a more safer method of payment and will avoid the risk of corruption.

“Now, expats can pay online which also makes it much more transparent and accountable. They will be able to do it from anywhere,” Azis said.

The government, he said, plans to open two more centres in Penang and Johor by 2020. “It will be a sub-office type because that is where the majority of expats are and is quite populated. We will consider other areas eventually,” he said.