Malaysia offers amnesty to illegal BD workers to return home by Dec 31
Published : Friday, 19 July, 2019 at 12:00 AM Count : 688
The illegal foreign workers in Malaysia including the Bangladeshis are likely to get legal documents to return to their respective countries by paying only RM700 voluntarily as fine from August 1 to December 31 this year.
Malaysian Home Minister Haji Muhyiddin Bin Haji Mohd Yassin on Thursday gave an announcement of another amnesty programme for the illegal immigrants in a bid to repatriate undocumented foreigners by the end of this year.
Muhyiddin Yassin termed the new programme as "Programme Back for Good", which is set to run from August 1 to December 31 this year.
With the announcement of the programme, around three lakh illegal Bangladeshi migrants reportedly working there after completion of valid working periods would be able to return to the country and get further chance to enter the country with valid documents and job, according to the Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry and experts in this sector.
At present, there are some 10 lakh Bangladeshis working in Malaysia. Of them, around six lakh were irregular and had applied for regularisation during the more than two-year long rehiring programme from early 2016 to August 2018.
Of the six lakh applicants, three lakh workers were legalised and others were not due to problems with their paperwork, Israfil Alam, a Member of Parliament and chairman of Bangladesh National Parliamentarians' Caucus on Migration and Development, told the daily Observer.
After expiry of the deadline in August last year, the Malaysian government declared that they were not going for anymore legalisation. But, finally it gave another chance for the illegal migrants without deporting them through Police action.
According the statistics of the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET), a total of 370,350 Bangladeshis have migrated to Malaysia with valid employment documents in last 10 and a half years. Of them, only 173 persons have got job in the country in last six months.
The rests 370,177 persons have got job there in last 10 years. Of them, 175,927 persons had gone in 2018 while 99,787 in 2017, 40,126 in 2016, 30,483 in 2015, 5,134 in 2014, 3,853 in 2013, 804 in 2012, 919 in 2011 and 12,402 persons in 2009.
After raising allegations of sending huge migrants illegally showing fake documents in 2007 and 2008, the Malaysian authority suspended hiring Bangladeshi migrants 20019. As a result, the migration of Bangladeshi workers declined in the country in the following years.
However, a huge number of Bangladeshi migrants have become illegal after expiry of their valid service period and changing jobs without valid permission.
After giving announcement of further amnesty, Malaysian Home Minister Haji Muhyiddin said that they are giving the illegal foreign workers a chance to come voluntarily and pay a fine of only RM700 each.
"They will also need to obtain proper travel documents, like their passports and special travel passes from their embassies, as well as arrange their own transportation back to their home countries within seven days," he said at a press conference at the Immigration Department headquarters in Putrajaya on Thursday.
He said the programme would be conducted solely by the Immigration Department, and no middlemen or agents would be involved. "It is only available in Peninsular Malaysia," he said.
When asked about why yet another amnesty programme was launched despite warnings of there being no second chances after last amnesty programme, he said he did think about not doing it.
"I am reluctant to be frank to hold another amnesty programme. While the previous programmes were effective, the number of illegal immigrants in the country is still large. Even I don't know how many. So we urge them to take this chance to go back to their own countries. Don't come back," he said, adding that those repatriated would be blacklisted.
He also said that there would be no extension to the programme like in the past.
He said the government would not entertain issues like undocumented workers not being paid by their employers and not having money to go home.
"They are here illegally. We are not going to help settle their salary disputes," he said.
The last amnesty programme, called '3+1 amnesty programme' ran from 2014 to August last year with 840,000 illegal immigrants repatriated and RM400m in fines collected. During the period, around three lakh Bangladeshis availed this legalisation opportunity.