The Malaysian government recently announced work permit extension for foreign workers for another year.
267,000 Bangladeshi workers, who were registered for work under various
construction companies in Malaysia, will get the opportunity of
extension, said officials of Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.
the Registration, Legalisation, Amnesty, Supervision, Enforcement and
Deportation programme (abbreviated in Bahasa Malaysia to 6P), illegal
foreign workers were required to register with the Home Ministry, obtain
temporary work permits and have their fingerprints recorded in a
Malaysian Home Ministry acting Secretary-General
Alwi Ibrahim announced the decision for more than 352,493 foreign
workers, registered under the 6P programme, for a year with immediate
The extension will apply only to those who had their temporary work permits under the 6P programme and were legally employed.
to Malaysian authorities, the Cabinet had agreed to the one-year
extension, allowing employers who have yet to send their foreign workers
home to prepare for their replacements.
Any employer who intends to
continue employing foreign workers during the extension period may
apply for the renewal of the temporary work permit at immigration
Who fail to avail the opportunity, will have to
go back home. The Malaysian government, according to sources, does not
want the foreigners to stay in Malaysia continuously for more than ten
years, as they could then request for permanent resident status.
workers, who fail to comply with the government instruction, are very
likely to face hard days, as the Malaysian government plans to tighten
its screw on foreign workers in coming days.
The Malaysian government
has already cracked down on illegal foreign workers and rounded up 347
illegal immigrants, including 77 Bangladeshis, in the Cameron Highlands
between November 22 and December 13.
Sources in KL told this
correspondent that the government of Malaysia took the decision for
extension after assessing impacts of a possible decrease in the
workforce on its economy.
Rafiq Hasan, a Bangladeshi contractor in
Malaysia, told this correspondent that visa for the Bangladeshi workers
was extended for a year.
Earlier, it was for three years. To
overcome a labour crisis in the construction industry, Malaysia extended
the validity of the visa for Bangladeshi workers.
But visa for workers of other countries has been kept valid for 10 years of their original contract.
total of 5 lakh 50 thousand foreign workers are now staying in
Malaysia. Of them 2 lakh 67 thousand workers were illegal. They were
given the opportunity to become valid through submission of necessary
papers by their employers.
The Malaysian government had originally
said foreign workers have to return to their countries but later it
decided to extend the work permits for one year to avoid the economic
impacts for losing more than 350,000 workers in key industries and also
to give employers additional time to find replacement.
workers in the service industry were issued two-year work permits and
foreign workers in the manufacturing, construction and farming
industries received three-year work permits under the 6P programme.
Malaysian Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers introduced the 6P
programme in August 2011 to reduce the number of immigrants who entered
the country illegally or who had overstayed their work permits.
contractor associations in Malaysia have recently urged the Malaysian
government to reconsider the migrant workers' status under the present
6P amnesty program.
In the wake of the expiration of the 3-year 6P
amnesty program that started in 2011, foreign workers will have to leave
the country by February 15, 2015. This would put Malaysia's domestic
construction sector in shortage of 100,000 labourers.
Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) has expressed appreciation over the
government decision's to extend the permit of the foreign workers
registered under 6P Programme for another year.
Matthew Tee said that the extension would no doubt lessen the burden
faced by the construction industry due to the shortage of foreign
According to Malaysian authorities, a total of 2.32 million
foreign workers and illegals were registered using the biometric system
under the 6P amnesty progamme when the deadline for registration ended
on August 31 last year.
The number comprised 1,016,908 legal workers
and 1,303,126 illegals. An equal number of foreigners are also working
in the country as the figure does not include those who refused to
register, and maids and refugees from Sabah and Sarawak, said officials
According to Malaysian Home Ministry, Indonesian made up
the highest number of foreign workers with 640,609 illegal workers and
405,312 legal workers in Malaysia followed by Bangladeshis numbering
267,803 illegal workers and 258,897 legal workers while Nepalese
constituting 221,617 legitimate workers and 33,437 illegal ones.
Without the extension, these workers would have to leave Malaysia.