PUTRAJAYA: Employers who obtain conditional approval from the Human Resources Ministry (KSM) to employ foreign workers under the Foreign Worker Employment Relaxation Plan need to settle the levy payment at the Immigration Department before identifying foreign workers in the source country.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said it was one of the procedures set to employ foreign workers under the plan which is effective from January to March 31.

"With the conditional approval document, the employer can make a levy payment at the Malaysian Immigration Department. Employers can then identify foreign workers in the source country to undergo health screening as a pre-condition before departure to Malaysia," he said in a statement today.

Through the plan, employers are allowed to employ foreign workers from 15 source countries based on the employer's actual ability and needs and are exempted from going through employment eligibility pre-conditions and quota eligibility.

The Foreign Worker Management Special Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Jan 10, agreed to create a Relaxation of Employment of Foreign Workers Plan as a measure to meet the needs of foreign workers, in addition to re-implementing the Labour Recalibration Programme.

Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar today said the government will implement the Foreign Worker Employment Relaxation Plan programme for five critical sectors and sub-sectors, namely manufacturing, construction, plantations, agriculture and services (restaurants only).

Saifuddin said after the levy payment process, employers need to complete Visa With Reference (VDR) applications, Single Entry Visa applications abroad, the immigration process at the international entrance, health screening of foreign workers in the country and the issuance of temporary employment visit passes (PLKS).

"After the issuance of the PLKS, employers will be given a maximum period of six months to comply with pre-conditions that were exempted at the initial stage such as compliance with labour laws and quota eligibility criteria under KSM as well as minimum employment requirements under the Regulatory Agency," he said.

In order to ensure compliance with the pre-conditions within the stipulated period, Saifuddin said the Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) in collaboration with KSM will strengthen the enforcement of inspectorate in the management of foreign workers.

"If the employer violates any of the rules and laws in force, the employer may be subject to action in accordance with the relevant acts.

"This integrated element of inspectorate enforcement is to balance the security element in our interest to increase the national economic growth rate," he said.

Regarding the Labour Recalibration programme which was reintroduced for a year, Saifuddin said applications for the programme can be made through the website of the Malaysian Immigration Department at the link www.imi.gov.my.

Saifuddin said a visit to the three main source countries namely Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nepal will be held in the near future to discuss the safety of foreign workers as well as consult the Relaxation Plan for the Employment of Foreign Workers and the Labour Recalibration Programme.