KUALA LUMPUR: Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (SAMENTA) has urged the government to allow international graduates to work to ease the chronic talent crunch within the industry, especially in the engineering and technical fields.
In a statement today, SAMENTA national president Datuk William Ng said the number of international students in engineering and technical studies is less than 20,000.
“Even if a quarter of them (were to) graduate each year and 10 per cent choose to stay and work, that is less than 700 engineers and technicians we can absorb. It is preposterous, therefore, to say that this will disrupt job opportunities for locals.
“On the contrary, having this immediate pool of additional talents will help convince foreign and domestic investors to stay and expand their operations – in turn enlarging the economic and employment pie for Malaysians,“ he said.
Ng said SAMENTA estimated that Penang alone is short of 50,000 engineers and technicians, and this has limited growth in the semiconductor, manufacturing, and logistics industries.
“If the cabinet approves this long-standing call by the industry to allow post-graduation employment for international students in economically critical sectors and job specialisations, Malaysia will be joining some advanced economies such as Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United Kingdom in allowing graduating international students to work and contribute to their economies.
“These same advanced economies are poaching our talents daily, and if we are to remain competitive, we too must consider attracting and retaining top talents in Malaysia – starting with graduating international students,“ he added.
He said post-graduation employment visas are typically short-termed, non-renewable and are specific to identified industries and jobs, so the fear that allowing them (employment) will distort the job market or displace local talents is unfounded. – Bernama