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Direct domestic workers recruitment, govt must get it right

October 28, 2017

Writer calls for government to avoid disconnect that usually takes place between policy and implementation after proposal for direct recruitment from 9 countries.

FMT LETTERS

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By Joseph Paul

The government’s decision to allow employers to hire domestic workers directly without using the services of recruitment agencies is a welcome move.

However, there is usually a disconnect between policy and implementation, which should be addressed.

Firstly, the procedures involved in direct hiring of domestic workers should be absolutely clear, transparent and user friendly for any potential employer who wants to use the direct hire method.

Secondly, the immigration department should not resort to outsourcing the hiring process to selected agencies.

This questionable practice is rampant in the case of undocumented migrant workers who surrender themselves to return home.

Any migrant worker who approaches the immigration department is referred to a panel of companies so that the worker ends up paying twice as much, or more than what is stated officially by the immigration department.

Thirdly, this policy change should be accompanied by changes in legislation and policies to protect the domestic worker from unscrupulous employers.

Civil society organisations such as Tenaganita have for long advocated such legislation. The policy change to allow direct hiring further accentuates the need for such legislation.

Finally, it must be realised that foreign domestic workers are not the final answer to Malaysians’ need for domestic workers.

The government should not neglect its duty to provide safe affordable facilities in every district, for child care and for the care of the sick and elderly, because the demand for domestic workers is primarily for these purposes.

Unless this vital need is addressed by the government, no amount of tinkering with the procedures for hiring foreign domestic workers will provide a satisfactory solution for potential employers and equitable to the domestic workers.

Joseph Paul is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

NGO lauds direct hiring of domestic workers in 9 countries


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