More than 300,000 illegal foreign workers employed in prohibited sectors

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 21 Sep 2011

PETALING JAYA: More than 300,000 illegal foreign workers are employed in sectors that are prohibited by the Government.

Under the Foreign Workers Employment Policy, foreigners are only allowed to work in five sectors, which are manufacturing, plantations, agriculture, construction and 15 types of jobs in the service sector.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said 327,991 illegal foreign workers were not employed in the permitted sectors.

“A significant number of them work in prohibited sectors like mining,” he said in a press statement yesterday, adding that they also hold jobs in car repair shops and fast-food restaurants or work as fishermen and newspaper vendors.

Hishammuddin said the Cabinet committee on foreign workers and illegal immigrants would decide on the status of these illegal foreign workers at its meeting on Oct 3.

He said the ministry would also consider requests from employers to allow their illegal workers in the prohibited sectors to be part of the legalisation process under the 6P programme.

He said associations as well as employers who had hired illegal immigrants in these sectors had appealed to the Government for special permission.

“They also want them to be allowed to continue working until the associations and employers re-strategise their businesses,” he added.

The Immigration Department via the 6P programme also discovered that there were some illegal foreign workers who were self-employed or were employers themselves.

“Although this problem has been identified for a long time, it is difficult to tackle it because of the abuse of work permits and the falsification of documents,” said Hishammuddin.

He said the ministry was confident that it would be able to obtain data as well as detailed information on foreign workers in the country after the completion of the amnesty phase.

The data will be handed over to the Human Resources Ministry and other agencies like the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister's Department for a detailed study on the actual foreign worker requirement in the country.

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