KANGAR: Illegal foreign workers stand to get back their old jobs including in sectors they were not supposed to work in if they legalise themselves after voluntarily returning home during the amnesty programme.
Home Minister Datuk Azmi Khalid said the Government wanted them to work but only if they legalised themselves as this was the only way for them to stay protected while earning a living in the country.
“We will also allow them to pay their levies a month after they return as legalised workers. Now they must pay before entering the country,” Azmi told a press conference yesterday.
He said Malaysia wanted to protect them, as many mistreated workers had no avenues to address their plight.
“Leave on your own free will, come back legalised and you can work in all job sectors.”
Azmi said the Government would not encourage employing fresh foreign workers as they were giving priority to legalising those who had left during the amnesty period.
“The illegals must negotiate with their agents and employers on how to come back as legalised workers,” he said.
In the latest voluntarily departure list, 350,000 left since the amnesty was granted, 87% of them Indonesians followed by Indians, Bangladeshis, Myanmars, Filipinos, Pakistanis and Nepalese and the figure was expected to rise to 400,000 soon.
In Kuala Lumpur, Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn said it would only take two days to legalise the workers at the 14 centres set up by the Indonesian government in its country.
“Indonesia, with whom we have an agreement, has agreed to speed up the process whereby these illegal workers can be legalised within two days at any of the centres.
“Our officers through the Labour Department will continue to contact employers especially factory and small- and medium-sized enterprises owners to advise them to get their illegal workers to go to these centres as soon as possible.
“I’m confident that if the employers work together, we can overcome this problem,” he said after opening the Chinese New Year calligraphy contest at Mutiara Complex in Jalan Ipoh here yesterday.
Malaysian officials, he said, would also be placed at the 14 centres, which included those in Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya and Pontianak, to ensure that the process ran smoothly. The centres had started operations about a month ago, he said.
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