PUTRAJAYA: Employers of foreign domestic workers in Malaysia will be able to save more than 90 per cent of the recruitment cost from Jan 1, if the process is done online and without an agent.
Announcing this on Friday (Dec 15), Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi noted that usually, employers pay up to RM18,000 to agents to hire a maid, excluding the cost of the flight and passport.
With the changes, employers will only pay RM1,635 to the government through the Malaysian Immigration Department.
He also said certain fees will be reduced.
“The government has taken reduction measures including reducing the collateral to RM500 (S$165) from RM1,000, and processing fee to RM250 from RM500.
“This means the government takes proactive measure to reduce the cost of hiring a foreign maid via direct online hiring,” he said after chairing a Cabinet Committee Meeting on foreign workers and illegals.
The reduction of costs follows Prime Minister Najib Razak’s announcement during the 2018 Budget that the government will give employers a choice to recruit foreign maids directly from nine source countries without going through an agent.
However, the Deputy Prime Minister said on Friday that employers who wish to hire maids from Indonesia and the Philippines will have to apply from companies which are registered with their respective labour ministries.
“The governments of these two countries have decided that we cannot hire their citizens directly as maids. The only way is to apply from companies registered with their respective labour ministries,” said Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister.
"We have to comply with the laws of Indonesia and the Philippines and hope employers will apply through the companies and obtain the names of potential foreign housemaids for submission of online applications.
In addition, foreign maids will have to undergo additional health screenings from Jan 1.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said that the health screenings would be carried out before the maids leave the country of origin, a month after arrival in Malaysia, at the end of the first year, the end of the second year and every two years as long as she is employed in Malaysia.
"This additional health screening is necessary to ensure that reports made in the home country are the same here to prevent fraud.
"Additional health screening fees is RM190 for women and RM180 for men," he said.