Malaysia Lifts Ban on Migrant Workers, Reopens Langkawi for Foreign Tourists

The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Friday (10/22), said his country would allow foreign workers to return to the country after nearly 16 months the country was closed to foreign workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Malaysia will also allow some tourists to visit the tourist areas of Langkawi Island.

Agreements reached by the government’s pandemic task force on foreign workers have been eagerly awaited by vital sectors, such as oil palm plantations and rubber glove manufacturing, which rely on migrant workers.

“The Special Committee for Pandemic Management today agreed on a proposed standard operating procedure for the entry of foreign workers into Malaysia, especially to meet the needs of the plantation sector,” Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement, as quoted from the statement. Reuters.

Malaysia relies on about two million legal migrant workers to manufacture everything from gloves to iPhone parts.

Last month, the government said it would prioritize the return of 32,000 workers to the plantation sector to ease a labor crisis that has hit production in the world’s second-largest palm oil producer.

The rubber glove industry has also appealed to the government to allow foreign workers to return to meet growing demand this year and next.

From mid-November, Malaysia will also allow foreign tourists to visit Langkawi, the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Travelers must show negative COVID-19 results and vaccination certificates and have travel insurance for $80,000, he said. [ah/rs]

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