PETALING JAYA: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is ready to help the Government implement its move to absorb refugees into the foreign labour workforce.
Describing the move as timely and judicious, UNHCR representative to Malaysia Volker Turk hoped that it would be done by the end of the year.
On Tuesday, Home Minister Datuk Azmi Khalid said the Government had decided to absorb some 40,000 refugees recognised by UNHCR into the foreign labour workforce to reduce the number of foreign workers brought into Malaysia.
Turk said the move demonstrates strong humanitarian commitment on the part of the Government.
We welcome it very much. Its a practical implementation and a very wise step forward, he said from Beijing where he had attended an international workshop on refugee issues.
He added that the move would not only help to reduce the labour shortage but would also be in the interest of security.
Turk said there might be thousands more refugees in the country who were still unregistered with the UNHCR.