Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Saturday, January 03, 2015, Poush 20, 1421, Robiul Awal 11, 1436 Hijr

BD workers to get a year of extension in Malaysia
Published : Saturday, 3 January, 2015,  Time : 10:48 AM,  View Count : 112
Jibon Islam
The Malaysian government recently announced work permit extension for foreign workers for another year.
About 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.
Under 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 biometric system.
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 effect.
The extension will apply only to those who had their temporary work permits under the 6P programme and were legally employed.
According 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 offices immediately.
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.
Foreign 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.  
A 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.
Foreign 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.
The 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.
Four 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.
The Master 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.
MBAM President Matthew Tee said that the extension would no doubt lessen the burden faced by the construction industry due to the shortage of foreign workers.
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 in Malaysia.
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.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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