PETALING JAYA: The Immigration Department is investigating employers' claims that its counter staff are no longer allowing company representatives to do foreign worker permit renewals, insisting instead that the company director has to be present.
Department deputy director-general Datuk Sakib Kusmi said he would check on the claims, but the department's directive was clear that the new ruling required a company representative to be present, not necessarily its director.
"However, the representative must produce a letter which confirms that he or she is an officer of the company.
"It does not have to be the director. Even other officers, including the human resources officer, can do the renewal," he told The Star yesterday.
Sakib vowed to get to the bottom of things if there were certain Immigration branches which did not comply with the directive.
"We will investigate the matter and check whether there are discrepancies regarding the counter services. Appropriate action will be taken if the claims are true," he said.
Sakib said there were cases where agents claimed to be from certain companies but were actually renewing the workers' permits for their personal gain.
"We identified some cases where irresponsible parties renewed the permits in the name of certain companies.
"However, when checked further, the companies involved had no knowledge of such arrangements," he said.
On the same matter, the department's foreign worker division director Farah Adura Hamidi clarified that employers' management representatives or any of the board of directors would still have to come in person to renew their foreign workers' work permits.
She said only small enterprises were allowed to send a representative from the management or human resources department.
"The employer's presence is necessary to confirm that their company actually exists.
"As such, employers need to give their full cooperation to the Government to manage foreign workers better," said Farah Adura in an interview with mStar Online.
She said companies could send a director if the primary employer was out of the country or unable to renew the permits.
Farah Adura said agents and middlemen were no longer allowed to do the renewals to avoid cases of fraud such as the loss of cash and foreign workers' passports.
She added that there had been cases where companies were unaware that others were taking advantage of their business to employ workers.
Report compiled by P.Aruna, Farik Zolkepli and Iwan Shu-Aswad Shuaib.