PETALING JAYA: Companies chosen to carry out the latest amnesty for illegal foreign workers admit the programme is off to a slow start.
But they expect numbers to pick up in the months ahead of the Dec 31 deadline, despite criticisms of the costly RM1,200 administrative fee to register each worker.
To date, 2,500 employers have registered to legalise 5,922 Indonesians with International Marketing and Net Resources Sdn Bhd (Iman), which is mandated by the Government to handle amnesty for Indonesians.
Ezreeq Mohd Nor, Iman marketing and Communications manager, said they had targeted to register between 500,000 and one million Indonesians working illegally.
He said registrations were slow when the Rehiring and Relocation Programme started on Feb 15 and attributed this to poor publicity.
“There’s hasn’t been a huge campaign but numbers are increasing this week,” he said when met at Iman’s headquarters in Wangsa Maju.
Bukti Megah Sdn Bhd, which runs the one-stop centre to legalise workers from Myanmar, has so far received 232 applications from 138 companies.
The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) said many employers and foreign workers had bitter experiences of being cheated by agents under the previous 6P programme (2011 to 2014) and were not confident with the latest amnesty initiative.
Secretary-general N. Gopal Kishnam said the Government should drop the RM1,200 fee which is imposed in addition to a levy for each worker.
Gopal said there was an estimated four million undocumented workers in Malaysia and the process of legalising and repatriating them should not be driven by profits by private companies.
“The Government should make the process less expensive. The levy imposed by the Government should be sufficient,” he said.
Ezreeq said to date no employers had complained about the RM1,200 registration fee and said unlike 6P, no agents were used by his company.
“Employers and workers can be assured they will not be cheated,” he said.
MyEG, which is among a consortium of three companies tasked with registering illegal workers from other countries, argued the RM1,200 was justified.
A spokesman for the company said the charges were not only for online registration of employers and workers but other management services.
These include the verification of the data provided, biometric and photos of both employer and worker, liaising with local authorities and embassies, medical checks and issuance of various documents.
She said the fee was also inclusive of “monitoring if foreign workers turn rogue again since they already have a previous record of being an illegal” and deporting those who don’t qualify for amnesty.
MyEG also provides a dedicated mobile SIM card, which is activated for one year, with unlimited free messaging to their hotline for each foreigner registered.
She said there was also a call centre manned by foreigners of various nationalities to manage worker issues, including unpaid wages and abuse.