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Malaysia – Government stops issuing work permits for lower than minimum salary jobs

03 January 2014

The Malaysian government has stopped issuing work permits for jobs that do not meet the new minimum salary rate. The Government has set a minimum monthly salary of MYR 900 (USD 273) although some Nepali migrant workers were found to be receiving a monthly salary of only MYR 650 (USD 198).  

The Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) announced that employers will now have to submit an original copy of ‘notary verified letter’ specifying the minimum wage to get both the pre-and final-work approval from their national government. “The decision has legally ensured the rights of Nepali migrants to get the minimum salary set by the Malaysian government,” said DoFE Director General Rabindra Mohan Bhattarai. 

The Malaysian Government had initially announced a minimum monthly salary of MYR 800-900 for foreign workers, depending on the nature of work. The decision was later revised, fixing the minimum salary at MYR 900 for migrants working in all provinces. 

Malaysian media, citing the Malaysian Ministry of Finance, reported that Nepali migrants had remitted MYR 1.90 billion (USD 587 million) from Malaysia in 2012. Nepal is the third largest recipient of Malaysian remittance after Indonesia and Bangladesh. 

Under the new regulation, however, foreign workers also have to pay a levy ranging from MYR 410-1,850 per year (USD 124- 562) depending on the sector they work. They have to pay MYR 410 (USD 124) for the plantation sector, MYR 500 (USD 152) for agriculture, MYR 1,250 (USD 380) for manufacturing and MYR 1,850 (USD 562) for service sector per year. “Unlike in the past, migrant workers now stand to lose a large portion of their salary in the form of levy to the Malaysian government,” said an official.

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