Bosses no longer have to pay foreign workers' levy

KUALA LUMPUR: The government yesterday announced that the levy on foreign workers will be borne by them and will no longer be paid by their Malaysian employers.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said the move would take effect immediately on new foreign workers as well as foreign workers seeking to renew their working passes, wage passes or social visit passes.

He said the ministry's move was to aid employers in reducing their financial burden, following the implementation of the minimum wage policy, which made it mandatory for them to increase their employees' wage.

"This move was aimed especially at small- and medium-sized enterprise employers," he said yesterday.

"The decision to make foreign employees pay their own levy will not burden them as the levy rate only cost them between RM34.16 and RM154.16 monthly," said Husni, adding that this was in comparison with the increased wages enjoyed across the board of between RM300 and RM500.

He reiterated that the implementation of the minimum wage policy had also entitled workers, including foreigners, to enjoy other perks such as increased overtime payments, which would bring their overall average pay to between RM1,200 and RM1,500.

The levy collection was introduced in 1992 and paid for by the employees themselves. The charges were imposed on the workers because of the expenses borne by the government for providing general facilities, namely healthcare, roads and other amenities enjoyed by the foreign workers with Malaysians.

In April 2009, the government reverted the levy. The decision was made to control wage payment for the increasing number of workers back then, which had increased by that time.

"However, through various measures to improve the system, mainly the Registration, Legalisation, Pardons, Monitoring, Enforcement and Deportation (6P) Programme, the management of these workers were revealed to be in order and well monitored."