Recently there has been a huge increase in overseas workers in semi-skilled jobs in Malaysia. However, as quoted by MalayMail, this amounted to less than 20 percent of semi-skilled employment. As reported by KRI (Khazanah Research Institute), overseas workers usually enter low-skilled jobs whereas Malaysians get into semi-skilled ones.
This report by KRI clearly indicates that Malaysians do not face a high likelihood of being replaced by overseas workers. Instead, those in low-skilled jobs could stand to lose.
KRI report further depicted that the lowest-skilled Malaysians were affected by the large presence of foreign workers. They even suffered job losses. Most of them live in rural areas.
A study shows the number of Malaysians employed in semi-skilled jobs increased by 1.3 million between 2010 and 2017. Those recruited in skilled jobs increased by only 713,000 despite possessing tertiary education. KPI report explains that it is plausible some tertiary educated individuals got into semi-skilled jobs instead.
According to KRI, recruitment of overseas workers is not correlated with the lower hiring of Malaysians. In fact, Immigration boosted economic activity, reduced production costs and increased overall demand for goods and services. Nevertheless, increase in the number of overseas workers has led to a 3.8 percent decrease in overall average wages. KRI points out those salaries of Malaysians grew in the same period.
Indonesians were the dominant group at 39.2 percent in 2015. This was followed by Nepalese at 23.5 per cent and Bangladeshis at 13.2 percent, as quoted by MalayMail. Moreover, including the undocumented foreign workers, the number is actually bigger than the Malaysian Chinese working population.
Khazanah Research Institute questioned whether the overseas workers are living decent lives. It even suggested that there should be a policy to support these foreign workers. Also, it showed its concern over how the utilisation of public spaces, goods and services is being affected.
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