Malaysia – Visa fee increase waived for thousands of Myanmar workers

More than 2,400 Myanmar workers who are in the middle of processing their visas will get their visa fees waived due to an ongoing dispute between Myanmar and Malaysia over the visa fee. These 2,400 workers will have their applications processed under a previous payment schedule which had less expensive fees, according to the Myanmar Ministry of Labour.

Malaysia has long been a destination for migrant workers from Myanmar due to higher wages. However, the Myanmar Times reports that Myanmar recruitment agencies have now been boycotting Malaysia after the visa process was outsourced in December 2015 to a one-stop service centre which resulted in a hike in fee from USD 6 to USD 57. The two countries have been disputing the fee increase.

Deputy Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security U Htin Aung said the increase will be waived for 2,485 Myanmar workers already in the pipeline to move to Malaysia.

“Our ministry had been negotiating with Malaysia about this when the Overseas Employment Agencies Federation decided to protest,” Aung said. “I would like to say that our ministry is not able to interrupt another country’s policies. But as the result of negotiations, we agreed that the current group of 2,485 labourers will get the $6 visas.”

Aung said the fee waiver was applicable only this once and, in the future, workers will have to pay the higher amount.

The visa fee dispute centers around the new one stop service centre implemented in December 2015.

“This new visa system is only about profiting one company owed by a Myanmar businessman,” U Kyaw Kyaw Sint, vice president of the MOEAF (Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation), said. “There is no change for Malaysia in terms of how much money it’s getting from the arrangement, it will still receive just USD 6. This new system should be abolished by the new government.”


Source: Staffing Industry

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