Saturday, March 22, 2008

Barbers in work permit poser (NST)

2008/03/21 (NST Online)
Barbers in work permit poser
By : Evangeline Majawat and Kristina George

KUALA LUMPUR: The war between local and Indian barbers took a surprise turn yesterday when authorities denied any knowledge of work permit restrictions on foreigners.

This was revealed by Immigration Department foreign labour division director Abdul Rahman Othman, who said there have been no instructions to stop work permit renewals for Indian barbers.

The Penang Barbers' Association had on Wednesday, announced that they received a letter from the Prime Minister's Department stating that the government would no longer renew work permits of foreign barbers.

"I have not heard anything about this letter," Abdul Rahman said.

"Currently, those in the service sector, including barbers, are granted work permits which allow them to work in the country for five years."
The work permit , which has to be renewed annually, will not be extended after the five years are up.

Abdul Rahman said he was aware of the grouses of some local barbers who claimed that their livelihood had been affected by the Indian barbers.

Late last year, a delegation of 50 barbers from Penang and the Klang Valley held a meeting with representatives from the Home Affairs Ministry and Immigration Department.

Abdul Rahman said nothing was resolved at the meeting as delegates started bickering among themselves.

Some were strongly against the Indian barbers while others were supportive of them saying that everyone shared equal opportunities.

"We told them to discuss the matter among themselves before coming back to us," he said, adding that they have yet to hear from the local barbers.

He said an estimated 1,000 Indian nationals were working as barbers in the country.

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