Immigration Department Malaysia will start issuing Enforcement Card (E-Card) to employers who register their illegal foreign workers from February 15.
Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said the registration can be done at Immigration offices in the peninsula and state Immigration office. This program is implemented only in peninsular Malaysia and does not include Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, Sun Daily Malaysia reports.
This is the last chance for all employers who have hired foreign workers without work permits to register their employees, Mustafar said during a press conference. The program to register the illegal migrants ends on June 30.
Post the deadline, if the department or Government gets hold of illegal workers they will be deported back and necessary action will be taken against the employers. It is also required for employers to be present along with the employees when applying for E-card, while warning employers against applying through middlemen or agents.
The registration is free and the card will be given to illegal workers two days after the application. The Immigration Department said, both employers and employees are required to be alert and not apply for the E-card through anyone else, except them since there are several cases of people having taken advantage of such programs and sometime even charged RM7,000 for a fake document.
The government’s decision to register all employers who hired foreign workers to address labour shortages in several key sectors such as manufacturing, construction, farming, agriculture and services. Foreign workers hired illegally from only these fifteen countries being are eligible for an E-card, they are: Bangladesh, Philippines, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
For enhances safety measures, the E-card provided includes a QR code, where applicant details are scanned into the Immigration’s myIMS system.
Announcing this initiative by the Government to introduce E-card earlier this year, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said, this card will give these illegal foreign workers one-year extension in the country, and would act as a temporary validation for workers before they get appropriate legal documents from their respective countries or embassies.
Commenting on this E-card initiative as being rather “tricky”, Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan believes this is “just Immigration Department’s channel to obtain information about illegal foreign workers and does not benefit employers. Even if they (E-Card holders) can be hired, it is just for one year. By February 2018, they will still be without (work) permits and become illegals again and asked to leave (Malaysia),” another report stated.
Illegals without employers however cannot apply for an E-card, unlike the Illegal Immigrants Rehiring Programme (implemented in the past) which was a legalisation process. Shamsuddin Bardan further said, “The programme was aimed at collecting data on illegals by compelling their employers to apply for the E-Card for them. Only if the government was sincere in helping employers and reduce the number of illegal workers it should re-start the Illegal Immigrants Rehiring Programme. The long-term solution is to bring back the Illegal Immigrants Rehiring Programme; get rid of the middlemen and open up applications to hire foreign workers. This is what employers want.”
Mustafar also said illegal foreign workers with refugee cards issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) were not eligible for an E-card application, MYSinchew.com reports.
The Immigration Department is all set to handle over a million illegal foreign worker applications for E-cards. It has been anticipated that between 400,000 and 600,000 illegal foreign workers would be applying for the same.
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