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Four Sectors Exempted from Overseas Recruitment Ban as Labour Shortages Hit Home

MALAYSIA:  Four sectors are now exempt from the government’s overall ban on the recruitment of foreign workers - manufacturing, plantation work, construction and furniture-making.[1] The move comes after representatives of the four industries lobbied for a change in light of critical labour shortages.

Although there are now expectations that the ban will be lifted in other sectors of the Malaysian economy, it is believed this will be implemented on a case-by-case basis, with companies required to demonstrate that suitable local workers cannot be found.

The recruitment ban was imposed in March 2016. This saw the government react to criticism that it had agreed to the introduction of 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers to the country’s labour market by blocking the recruitment of all non-Malaysian staff.

A subsequent survey by the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers indicated that 84% of manufacturers in the country were suffering from a shortage of workers as a result of the ban, with some 50% of respondents expressing doubts they could fulfil existing orders.[2]


[1]  Immigration Department of Malaysia official website

[2]  Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers website

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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