How do you apply for a Foreign Worker License?

Department of Labour reduces time to approve license for foreign workers

The nature of business is ever-changing – but an essential factor in keeping the cogs moving is the need to recruit and retain employees.

In Brunei, the Department of Labour revamped the recruitment regulations last year in efforts to streamline and reduce the processing time for foreign workers.

The former “foreign quota” for recruiting foreign nationalities has been replaced with the Lesen Pekerja Asing (LPA) also known the as Foreign Worker’s License – and its issuance shortened from 41 days to 7 working days (14 for construction).

The reduction comes from Labour’s consolidation of the Foreign Workers Recruitment License under Section 112 of the Employment Order 2009 and the Work Pass Recommendation (BUR500/555).

When combining the LPA with all the all other steps – which we’ve outlined below – the process of getting a foreign employee takes three to four weeks.*

JobCentre Brunei: Clearance letter

Companies are first required to register their company as well as advertise any vacancies with the JobCentre Brunei (JCB) in order to allow any qualified locals the opportunity to fill in the position before it is offered to a foreign employee.

While companies are free to advertise vacancies through their own channels, they will also need to advertise vacant positions on JCB’s online platform www.jobcentre.gov.bn for a minimum of 2 weeks. JCB will then provide a list of interested and qualified candidates to be assessed and interviewed by the company themselves.

JCB will conduct its due diligence in making sure companies give local job candidates a fair shot at the vacancy, such as reviewing a sample of rejected local candidates.

If there aren’t any suitable locals to fill the vacancy, JCB will issue a clearance letter to the company – which is then taken to Labour to process a LPA application.

Relevant government agencies: Supporting letters

Where applicable, the company must seek approvals or supporting letters from relevant government agencies or statutory bodies – typically tied to their business activity.

For example, the relevant authority for LPA applications for foreign doctors or physicians would be overseen by the Ministry of Health.

Once all the prerequisites have been fulfilled and the checklist of required documents are complete, companies can proceed to apply for an LPA.

Getting support from an employment agency

If you’re applying for LPA for the first time (or for additional workers) – companies should engage a licensed employment agency. The agency will ensure companies have all the necessary documentation (which you can view here).

A list of licensed employment agencies can be obtained here.

After submission, the Department of Labour will review and process the application, taking 7 working days (14 working days for construction sector) before issuing the LPA.

Employers must then provide a security deposit for their foreign employee for the duration of their employment in the country. This should be in the form of cash/cheque, banker’s guarantee or Takaful Contribution for Foreign Workers (JITPA).

Employers also need to comply other national requirements including insurance coverage of the worker (medical and workmen’s compensation), working visas (from immigration) and successful completion of a medical examination done upon arrival into the country. The Department of Labour also has immigration and insurance counters to meet these requests at their headquarters.

For more information visit the Department of Labour website, email [email protected] or contact +6732383006. Walk-in inquiries can also be made the Department of Labour located at Jalan Menteri Besar, Bandar Seri Begawan, BS3910.

*Including JCB’s two weeks advert period, Labour’s LPA of seven days as processing the security deposit and visa.