Frequently Asked Questions
01
When should we register our foreign worker(s) for medical examination?
ANSWER
      The guidelines by the Immigration Department stipulate that employers must take appropriate steps to renew the work permits of their workers 3 months before their expiry.
      We would advise employers to place importance on this annual medical examination to avoid unnecessary inconvenience due to last minute registration. We also wish to caution employers that they may be subject to compound/fine by Immigration Department for late renewal.
02 Why is there a quota imposed on each doctor of the panel?
ANSWER
      The quota system was imposed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of the number of foreign workers to be examined under the health-screening program amongst doctors registered with Fomema.
      Each doctor is allowed to examine up to 500 foreign workers annually as directed by MOH. However, the MOH grants approval for exceeding the quota for exceptional cases, where there are insufficient doctors in the locality especially in remote areas, taking into consideration the number of registered doctors with Fomema and the number of foreign workers in the area. The MOH provides clear guidelines for the approval of such requests for an increase in quota to ensure that the employers in the affected areas are not inconvenienced.  Fomema implements the MOH's directive.
03 Why can't we choose the same doctor as in the previous year?
ANSWER
The reasons could be that:
  • the chosen doctor may have achieved the stipulated quota for the year;
  • the chosen doctor may not be in service with Fomema temporary; or
  • the doctor is no longer in practice.
    04 Can Fomema direct or instruct which doctor we should choose?
    ANSWER
          No. It is the responsibility of employers to choose the doctor for their foreign workers' for medical examination. To facilitate the selection by employers, detailed listings of the panel of registered doctors are publicly displayed at all Fomema branches or at http://www.fomema.com.my/html/docavail.php. We stress that, Fomema and its staff are not responsible for the selection. Disciplinary actions have been taken against those found doing so.
    05 Can we change the selected clinic?
    ANSWER
          If an employer provides a valid reason, Fomema can change the selected clinic. Otherwise an administrative fee of RM20 is levied for each change. The fee is a deterrent measure introduced to curb the abuse of our system. It also enhances the integrity and quality of medical examination and minimizes disruption to counter services.
    06 Why are reputable private hospitals not allowed to participate?
    ANSWER
          The decision to disallow private hospitals to carry out foreign workers' medical examination is a directive from the MOH. However, the MOH permits any registered doctor of a private hospital to carry out medical examination on foreign workers who are employed by the staff of that hospital.
    07 Why can't Fomema transmit the results immediately after we have paid the registration fees at Fomema branches?
    ANSWER
          At that point in time, there are no results to transmit. Foreign workers must undergo the required medical examination at the chosen doctor's clinic and x-ray centre before the doctor can submit the results to Fomema. We advise employers to start the process of medical examination early to avoid unforeseen circumstances or delay.
    08 Why do Fomema registered doctors and X-ray centres insist on us presenting the original passport?
    ANSWER
          It is crucial for the purpose of verification of the identity of the foreign workers under this mandatory health-screening program. Fomema has detected attempts by irresponsible parties/employers using substitutes to undergo medical examination on behalf of unhealthy workers. It is our standard operating procedure that doctors must not carry out the medical examination unless the identity of the foreign worker is ascertained.
    09 Can we use Fomema medical card or Immigration Card or our company's employee identification card for this purpose?
    ANSWER
          Only the original passport is the legal document for the purpose of identification under this mandatory annual health-screening program.
    10 Can we use the photocopy of the original passport for verification of identity?
    ANSWER
          No, it is not valid for the purpose of this crucial procedure of verification of identity.
    11 We are disappointed that your panel of doctors cannot expedite the medical examination and can only carry out a limited number of examinations.
    ANSWER
          We wish to explain that a doctor is physically only capable of carrying out a limited number of medical examinations per day. As a guide, a through medical examination based on our standard format of medical examination takes about 15 minutes to complete.
          Therefore, we advise employers to make an appointment with the doctor concerned to schedule the medical examination of their workers if they intend to bring a large number of workers.
    12 Our foreign worker's medical status at Fomema is shown as unsuitable while our doctor has personally confirmed to us that he has certified our worker as suitable. What is the explanation?
    ANSWER
          This can happen when either the x-ray findings or the laboratory's test results or both have shown abnormalities and these concerned have transmitted their findings accordingly. Despite the findings of abnormalities by X-ray clinic or laboratory, your chosen doctor had certified your worker SUITABLE. In such a situation of inconsistencies, our system of monitoring automatically detects them and upon our investigation (and based on criteria set by the MOH), the worker's status will be amended to UNSUITABLE. An example would be where the laboratory test detected the presence of hepatitis B antigen but the doctor chooses to transmit the certification as SUITABLE. This is the essence of the health-screening program under our system, to detect and prevent inconsistencies or likely abuses.
    13 Can Fomema change the status of our foreign workers to unsuitable?
    ANSWER
          Yes, if we have subsequent evidence that the worker has not met the criteria of SUITABLE certification even though the examining doctor had initially certified the foreign worker as suitable. This mainly arises from our auditing of the X-ray films by our X-ray Quality Control Centre, where the X-ray film was initially misread as 'normal'. In such a situation, Fomema will inform the employer, the doctor and the Immigration Department accordingly that the foreign worker's status has been amended to UNSUITABLE.
    14 Why does Fomema certify my workers unsuitable when our specialist doctor, after repeating the examinations, confirms that my workers are fit to work?
    ANSWER
          The medical examination under Fomema is a screening program and not definitely diagnostic in nature. The criteria used for certification of foreign workers' health status are determined by the MOH and Fomema adheres strictly to them.
          Doctors who are not as Fomema panel for the foreign workers' health-screening program may not have the criteria for certification for SUITABILITY FOR EMPLOYMENT IN THE COUNTRY. A doctor may have the opinion that the worker is fit to work at the time of medical examination despite having detected the likelihood of a communicable disease. Common examples are medical results of workers having indication of tuberculosis (PTB) or old tuberculosis (OTB) which may re-activate anytime after the medical examination. In such cases, the benefit of the doubt is given to the country and not the foreign worker. As such, under the criteria set by the MOH, the worker will be certified as UNSUITABLE FOR EMPLOYMENT where there is an indication of communicable diseases even though the diseases are not active at the time of medical examination.
    15 Can we also select the X-ray clinic of our choice?
    ANSWER
          When the employers choose the registered doctor, the X-ray facility has already been pre-assigned to that doctor as indicated in the Fomema 4-ply Foreign Worker Information form. The X-ray clinics are assigned to the doctors when they register with Fomema, based on criteria set by the MOH taking into account the independence of operation and the integrity necessary under this annual mandatory health-screening program.
    16 When will the medical status of my foreign workers be available at the Immigration Department?
    ANSWER
          Under normal circumstances, Fomema will be able to transmit the certification of the medical status to the Immigration Department Headquarters within 10 workings days from the date of examination by the doctor of your workers. (Please note that it is not from the date of registration with Fomema) .
    17

    Why is our workers' status not available at the Immigration Department when Fomema has confirmed to us that it (Fomema) has transmitted the medical status?

    ANSWER
          Fomema is required to transmit the medical status of foreign workers only to the Immigration Department Headquarters' database. The medical status is then re-transmitted from the Immigration Department Headquarters to the respective state Immigration Departments. Therefore, a time lapse of some duration may arise when connectivity is affected between the state level Immigration Department and the Headquarters. In such situations, you can always seek Fomema's assistance.
    18 We were told that our workers' medical status are no longer with the Immigration Department; please explain.
    ANSWER
          The medical status of foreign workers are only available for 3 months at the Immigration Department from the date of medical examination.
    19 We think the medical examination fee of RM180 and RM190 for male and female respectively is high.
    ANSWER
          The fee was determined by the Government in 1997 based on the requirements and standard format of medical examination as stipulated by the MOH. The fees have not changed since the inception of Fomema in 1997 and it is lower than the recommended fee by the Malaysian Medical Association for similar medical examination.
    20 Why must foreign workers undergo medical examinations annually?
    ANSWER
          The frequency of the medical examination under the mandatory screening program has been determined by the MOH. Furthermore, medical examination in principle is only valid for a limited period of time. Certain diseases may be in remission or inactive during the previous examination. These may relapse or reactivate subsequently. Also, some diseases may be freshly acquired.
    21 Why must we go through Fomema?
    ANSWER
          The Government has accepted and recognised Fomema as an independent agency to monitor and supervise the medical examination for this mandatory health-screening program. The system of monitoring and surveillance is tailored to ensure the quality and integrity of the medical examination and to prevent likely abuses by agents, employers, doctors and others in the medical examination of foreign workers. In addition, the Government is able to access timely, centralised and nationwide information on the foreign workers' health status for appropriate actions. It is a centralised process to facilitate and coordinate the renewal of work permits nationwide.

    New Appeal Process Effective 16th Feb 2009

    22 Who can submit an appeal regarding a foreign worker’s medical status ?
    ANSWER
         Only the employer can submit an appeal through the examining doctor.
    23 To whom should the appeal be submitted to?
    ANSWER
         Currently all appeals from employers are handled directly by Pantai Fomema. This will be changed soon to allow an employer to submit his/her appeal to the doctor who conducted the medical examination on the foreign worker.
    24 Why was the appeal process changed?
    ANSWER
         The appeal process has been changed to allow employers to submit their appeal to the examining doctor, on the basis that the examining doctor will be familiar with the case and thus will be in the best position to decide whether to accept or reject the appeal.
    25 When will the new appeal process be implemented?
    ANSWER
         This new appeal process will be implemented firstly in Malacca starting from 16.2.2009. Subsequently it would be implemented nationwide effective 16.3. 2009.
    26 My foreign worker has been found medically unsuitable. How long do I have to submit an appeal?
    ANSWER
         The appeal should be submitted in writing to the examining doctor within two weeks of the certification date or date of amendment of the status of the foreign worker
    27 How long does the appeal process take?
    ANSWER
         The appeal process may take up to four weeks from the time of submission of appeal.  If the employer does not submit the required investigations within four weeks of the submission of the appeal, the case will be closed.
    28 Is there any additional cost to submit and process the appeal?
    ANSWER
         This will depend on the circumstances of each case as decided by the examining doctor. The examining doctor may require the foreign worker to re-take the X-Ray, carry out laboratory tests or undergo a specialist assessment as required by the Ministry of Health. All costs relating to the appeal will be borne by the employer.
     
     
     
     
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