Tepid response to new payment method for labour deposit

National 2 minutes, 28 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Labour Department has received lukewarm response to the new Foreign Worker Takaful Insurance Guarantee (JITPA) even though it costs less than paying the security labour deposit in cash.

Asiah Ibrahim, finance officer at the Labour Department, said many employers still prefer to pay in cash the security labour deposit for foreign workers, despite the insurance guarantee being a cheaper alternative.

In August, the government announced reduced rates of security labour deposit for foreign workers and introduced a new method for companies to pay the deposit through insurance guarantee.

JITPA was introduced to complement the two existing ways of deposit payment, which are via cash and banker’s guarantee.

Speaking on the sidelines of a roadshow on the foreign workers licence application in Tutong, Asiah said they hoped to see more employers switching to JITPA after it was made available in September.

She added, “It has only been a month (since the launch), so we hope to see the number increase in the coming months”.

Asiah said the department will step up its awareness roadshows to disseminate information paying the security labour deposit through insurance guarantee.

“Perhaps the disseminated information is not sufficient, so we take this opportunity (roadshow) to inform employers of the new method of payment and on how attractive JITPA is,” she said.

The roadshow will head to Temburong next on October 27 as part of their series of roadshows. Dates for roadshows in Belait and Brunei-Muara are yet to be confirmed.

Asiah said the changes aimed to reduce the burden of employers in paying the deposit as well as support the government’s efforts in creating a pro-business environment by improving Brunei’s ease of doing business.

The finance officer added that the Takaful Guarantee for Foreign Workers may also be used to pay salaries in cases of disputes or as per instruction by the labour commissioner.

Under the Labour Law (Chapter 93) and Employment Order 2009, any employer who recruit foreign workers is required to pay a deposit to the labour commissioner for the purpose of financing the cost of compensation to the government, such as the workers’ cost of living, housing, medical and repatriation to their country of origin should there be any disputes and/or when required by the commissioner.

Meanwhile, Assistant Labour Commissioner Hjh Norajimah Hj Aji reminded new employers or companies looking to hire foreign staff that they need to fulfil requirements before submitting their foreign workers licence application.

The foreign workers licence was put in place on October 1 after the foreign work labour quota was discontinued.

Hjh Norajimah said to apply for the licence, employers are required to register and advertise their vacancies with Local Employment and Workforce Development Agency, enclose the list of their local workers and enclose a letter of support or confirmation from government agencies.

She added that existing companies seeking additional licences can apply from January 2017, while the renewal of existing licences will be introduced in April 2017.

The Brunei Times