Restrictions on foreigners as company owners

|     Azlan Othman     |

THE Minister of Home Affairs, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong said the Immigration and National Registration Department (INRD) has underlined that activities of any foreign workers issued with the immigration pass is limited to the conditions specified in the pass.

For example, work passes are restricted to working only in this country, so in case such pass holders engaged in other activities it is considered to be in violation of the current immigration act.

The minister was responding to a query from Legislative Council (LegCo) member YB Pehin Orang Kaya Putera Maharaja Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Ghani bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Dewa Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Rahim at the 14th LegCo session yesterday, in relation to control by certain law enforcement in the INRD and the Labour Department for foreigners registered as the owner of the company and subsequently conducting business in Brunei Darussalam.

The minister said the government along with the INRD and the Labour Department will continue to cooperate with other government agencies such as the Registry of Companies and Business Names (ROCBN) and Manpower Policy and Planning Unit (MPPU) to rectify the matter.

Among the steps implemented include sharing information on foreigners issued with immigration passes between the INRD and the ROCBN regularly, and consistently to examine each application for registration of a company comprising foreign nationals.

If there is an application from a foreign national who is holding any immigration passes, the application will be rejected by the ROCBN; and the declaration by the applicant that he/she is not the holder of any immigration pass which has been used as one of the checklists in the company’s registration process at the ROCBN.

The minister added that action has also been taken on several applications from foreign directors filed with JobCentre Brunei for the process of obtaining the Foreign Worker Licence.

According to JobCentre Brunei, 80 foreign nationals holding immigration passes have their passes cancelled, while 10 are waiting for tickets to return to their country of origin, and 54 people are under further investigation.

In collaboration with the MPPU, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Finance, the Labour Department will introduce one new policy deals with the owner of foreign companies who wish to be the Director or hold key positions at management level and residing in this country, the minister added.

The policy is aimed to ensure foreigners are ultimately qualified through the ratification of certain criteria and will contribute to the economy and employment of locals.