04/04/2024 04:06 PM

PUTRAJAYA, April 4 (Bernama) -- The Home Ministry has extended the deadline for the application for Visa with Reference (VDR) approval letter at the Immigration Department to April 21 from March 31, 2024.

Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said this extension takes into account the active quota of 132,000 individuals who have not yet applied for VDR, as well as technical glitches that occurred in the Foreign Workers Centralised Management System (FWCMS) on March 21, 22, 23, 27, 28 and 29.

"This extension will provide genuine employers with the opportunity to quickly settle the process of obtaining this VDR approval letter," he told a press conference here today.

Saifuddin Nasution said the influx trend of the quota approved for the past five years has not exceeded 80 per cent of the total approved quota.

Therefore, it is expected that around 105,600 foreign workers will be granted VDR approval letters out of the 132,000 quota holders who have not yet applied for VDR approval.

"This extension will benefit employers, especially in critical sectors such as plantation.

"In this regard, employers are urged to make the best use of the extension period provided to obtain VDR approval, and this reminder is crucial to avoid high traffic in the system at the last minute as recently experienced," he said.

However, he said the deadline for the entry of foreign workers in the formal sector remains as May 31, 2024, in line with market sentiments that require immediate labour to avoid 'delayed benefits' situations.

Saifuddin Nasution also said the government has agreed to terminate the services of the Malaysian Visa Application Handling Agency (APPVM), starting with Bangladesh on Jan 1, 2024.

The termination for other countries including two non-source countries, namely Singapore and Hong Kong, will be carried out on May 31, 2024, he said.

The termination of APPVM for China will be carried out on Dec 31, 2024. The primary objective of this termination is to enhance the efficiency of the foreign worker recruitment process by reducing the bureaucratic layers that employers have to navigate.

"Additionally, employers will no longer be burdened with costs payable to APPVM.

"As I have emphasised before, the government is guided by four principles: reducing migration costs, expediting the management process of foreign workers, ensuring the welfare of foreign workers, and safeguarding the interests of employers," he said.

Saifuddin Nasution said that based on these principles, the government has granted ID access to employers to apply for visas for foreign worker categories, where the visa application process now depends entirely on employers.

He said Immigration Department records show that only three to four days are required to complete the visa application process.

He said that after the termination of APPVM services in Bangladesh, the Immigration Department approved 23,859 visa applications in Bangladesh from Jan 1 to April 3, 2024.

"The approval process can be carried out smoothly. This indicates that APPVM services outside the country are unnecessary."


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