The Deputy Prime Minister said usually, employers had to pay up to RM18,000, but now, they only have to pay RM1,635 to the Government through the Malaysian Immigration Department.
Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said the amount was the cost of hiring a maid and did not include costs of flight and passport.
“The Government has taken measures including reducing the collateral to RM500 from RM1,000, and processing free to RM250 from RM500.
“This means the Government takes proactive measures to reduce the cost of hiring a foreign maid via direct online hiring,” he said after chairing a Cabinet committee meeting on foreign workers and illegals here Friday (Dec 15).
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, when tabling Budget 2018, announced that the Government was giving employers a choice to recruit foreign maids directly from nine source countries without going through agents.
At the meeting, Dr Ahmad Zahid described a detailed method involving the hiring of foreign maids only from Indonesia and the Philippines following constraints and legislation of the two countries.
“As such, employers are not allowed to take foreign maids directly but need to go through companies registered with the Ministry of Manpower or Labour in the country concerned.
“We have to comply with the laws of Indonesia and the Philippines and hope employers will apply through the companies and obtain the names of potential maids for online submissions,” he said.
However, he said employers could take direct foreign maids from seven other source countries.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said the meeting also decided that foreign maids would have to undergo additional health screenings beginning Jan 1.
He said the health screenings would be carried out before the foreign maids left the country of origin, a month after arrival in Malaysia, at the end of the first and second year, and every two years as long as she was employed in Malaysia.
“This additional health screening is necessary to ensure that reports made in the home country are the same here to prevent fraud.
“Additional health screening fees are RM190 for women and RM180 for men,” he said.
He said the number of legal foreign workers in the country had decreased to 1.785 million as of Nov 30 compared with 2.135 million in 2015 – Bernama