For instance, Nepalese are often hired to work as the Gurkha security guards. Those from India are placed in Mamak (Indian-Muslim) restaurants, a popular 24 hours outlet in Malaysia. Indonesian men & Bangladeshi are very synonymous to construction sectors here. As for women from Indonesia & Philippine, they are often hired as domestic helpers like maid. Lastly Myanmar people, mostly refugees are employed to work as cook, waiter & waitresses in Chinese restaurant
Reasons to employ foreign workers:
(1) High productivity. Productivity is defined as output per worker. Although most of them do not receive formal education or complete secondary level, their productivity is comparable or even higher than the locals here who finished SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) which is equivalent to O-Level. All because they have high willingness to learn & most important they don’t complain unlike the locals. They are fast & efficient too. They are able to endure long working hours, as minimum as 12hours a day, 7 times a week. This is very obvious for Nepalese guards, Indian workers in Mamak restaurant, Myanmar workers in Chinese restaurant & Indonesian maids.
This resembles a working attitude that is enviable by locals. I know a Myanmar worker who told me that he works from 9am to 11pm in a restaurant near my place. While I was at my friend’s place, I can see that his maid works all day long. I asked her, are there so many chores even in a house?
From supply side economics, employing immigrants can help to raise output in Malaysian economy & also since there is no wage-push inflation, employers can always reduce their production costs in restaurants, factories & construction sites. Therefore AS curve will shift rightward (refer diagram above)
Reasons not to employ foreign workers:
(2) Increase in crime rate. Many of those crimes such as robbery, breaking in or snatch theft are done by Indonesians. They become construction workers in the day & could do something else at night. For the sake of minimising costs, firms blindly employing them without knowing their background. They could be criminals running away from their home country. Also, clashes among foreign workers are common in Malaysia. For instance, Bangladeshi against Indonesian workers
(3) Not contributing to local consumption. Most of these workers, although low paid but are provided with hostel as well as free lunch & dinner, normally at the place where they work. Therefore salaries earned, are normally saved or remitted to their home country. As such, we say that they don’t contribute much for local consumption, which is also a driving force of economy