Sikie: S’wak govt allows recruitment of foreign workers only for jobs requiring skills unavailable in State

Sikie delivering his winding-up speech at the DUN sitting today (Nov 29, 2022). Screenshot taken from Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) Facebook livestream

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By Yee Mei

KUCHING, Nov 29: The Sarawak government allows the recruitment and employment of foreign workers comprising expatriates, skilled and semi-skilled workers, and general workers to work in the State on the condition that only jobs with skills not available in Sarawak are offered to foreign workers.

Minister in the Premier of Sarawak’s Department Datuk John Sikie Tayai said this when delivering his winding-up speech in response to Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.

“Therefore, employers need to advertise vacancies in the MyFutureJobs portal managed by the Social Security Organisation (Socso), local newspapers, and radio stations to give opportunities to locals first before the employer’s application to hire foreign workers can be considered,” he said.

Regarding the age limit for manual labour in Sarawak, he said it is in accordance with the position’s category. For example, the age limit for unskilled workers (general workers) is 18 and above and not over 45 for the first entry and for skilled workers, the minimum age is 18.

“For expatriates screened by the Sarawak Immigration Department, the minimum age of 27 is a basic guideline for the Localisation Committee to consider an application for an Expatriate Employment Pass. However, the committee may consider applicants under 27 years of age who are highly skilled and talented and fit the growing industry in Sarawak,” he said.

Sikie also said that to overcome constraints in recruiting workers from outside Sarawak, the State government has also opened access to source countries other than Indonesia according to the suitability and needs of the relevant local industry sector.

“The Sarawak government, Sarawak Department of Labour, and Sarawak Immigration Department have held workshops, meetings, and discussions to streamline foreign workers’ recruitment and employment procedures.

“Among them is improving the process and procedure of applying for an employment pass for expatriates by shortening the application process from 90 days to 45 working days, provided that the documents sent are complete and orderly,” he said.

Sikie pointed out, among the things the Sarawak government has done to improve the process and procedure for applying to employ foreign workers is establishing a one-stop committee to consider fast-track applications and discussing with the Immigration Department to allow employers to bring in workers while at the same time, the Approval in Principle (AP) is submitted to the Sarawak Labour Department.

“The Sarawak government is also working to develop an integrated system to manage the affairs of foreign workers in Sarawak. One of its features is the job portal platform, where there is ‘job matching’ between employers and local job seekers. At the same time, the Sarawak government has access to information and data related to the employment and industry needs in Sarawak.

“The Sarawak Department of Labour has also made improvements to the SOP (standard operating procedure) where since the Covid-19 pandemic hit our country, the department has allowed employers to apply for a Letter of Approval in Principle (AP) via email or post other than the employer attending in person to apply at the nearest Labour Office (PTK).

“Employers also now do not need to deal physically with PTK to collect Non-Resident Employee Employment Licences where these licences can be downloaded directly through the Licence Repository e-NRE System,” he said. — DayakDaily