The Department of Labour (DoL) wishes to draw the attention of all employers to a matter of great importance. We have observed a concerning trend where some employers are applying for short-term work permit (30 days or less) that do not require the printing of work permit, medical screening of workers, and payment of associated fees. Subsequently, some of these employers seek extension for these permits beyond 30 days limit, a practice not supported by the online system. This trend places us in a difficult position, particularly when some employers allege us of being unresponsive to their needs. We are given to understand that some employers opt for short-term permits (to save costs associated with other types of work permit) despite knowing they have an option for long duration work permit.
We strongly encourage employers to plan well in advance and apply for work permits that align with the actual duration of employment required. This proactive and responsible approach will help avoid the need to seek last-minute extensions and potential disruptions to work arrangements. By planning appropriately, employers can help us render better services, which is our primary objective. Please understand that our intention is not to hinder or refuse assistance to employers; it is that we have to abide by the existing rules associated with each type of work permit and adhere to the limits set by the online system.
Furthermore, we have instances where some employers request us to apply online for foreign workers on their behalf. These employers must understand that the responsibility to apply online including signing on the undertaking letter lies with them, while our duty is to verify and approve their applications. Combining both functions would present a conflict-of-interest situation for our staff and are legally incorrect and impractical. They must understand that we have a limited number of officers handling work permit approvals, and assuming such extra role would hinder the approval process for numerous others in the queue and affect public service.
We appreciate your responsible actions as employers, which will be crucial for improving our services and effort to improve the management of foreign workers.
Thank you for your understanding and collaboration.
Chief Labour Administrator
Department of Labour, MoICE