(File pix) Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said it is the government’s policy to give priority to local workers and reduce the number of foreign workers in the country.

PUTRAJAYA: It is the government’s policy to give priority to local workers and reduce the number of foreign workers in the country.

Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said this was proven by the fact that there was a decrease in the number of foreign workers in the past two years.

"In 2016, there were 1.8 million foreign workers in the country and in 2017, the number has reduced to 1.7 million.

"This clearly shows that we are giving priority to local workers instead of foreign workers," he told the New Straits Times at the Home Ministry’s monthly assembly here today.

When asked if there was any target number of foreign workers this year, Mustafar said that would be determined by the Human Resources Ministry.

"The department has no power to decide on the total number of foreigners in the country. We are only in charge in terms of operations and ensuring safety," he said, adding that the majority of foreign workers in the country were Indonesians.

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