Employers alone will have to bear a 10,000-ringgit (US$2,414) annual levy for continuing the employment of skilled foreign workers, according to the latest decision by the Malaysian government.

The charges will be applied to cases of skilled foreign workers who have been employed in the country for 10 years and wish to extend their period of employment for up to three additional years, the Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia) reported.

It was previously proposed that 80% of the 10,000-ringgit annual charge would be borne by the workers while the remaining 20% would be met by the employer. The new regulation is set to come into effect from next month.

According to the Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, employers will now have to pay 100% of the 10,000 ringgit levy per worker per year for a three-year extension to their work permit.

Businessman Liew Chee Ming from Ipoh, Perak, said the 10,000 ringgit levy would dramatically push up the cost of doing business, hurting small and medium-sized enterprises the most.

Alternatively, employers would be allowed to send their experienced workers back to their home countries and reapply for permission for the individuals to re-enter Malaysia to avoid the levy, the government counter-proposed.