Illegal foreign workers find themselves in a bind

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 01 Jul 2017

PORT KLANG: Many illegal foreign workers are now caught in a bind as the offer for them to obtain the E-Card ended yesterday.

Some claim that they were stranded because their irresponsible employers had left them to fend for themselves.

Launched on Feb 15, the E-Card is for employers who wish to “rehire” the illegal foreigners on their payroll legally, and is not for new applications to hire foreign workers.

“I cannot register because I ran away from my previous employer when he did not pay my salary for two months,” said Nazala Monim, a Bangladeshi who was initially an estate worker, when met here yesterday.

“Then I worked at a restaurant for six months, and now, the boss brought me and few others here on Thursday to register.

“But when my application was rejected, he left with the others,” the 38-year-old said as he loitered at the Immigration Department office here since then in the hope that someone would help him.

Another worker from Indonesia, known only as Rahmat, said he had been camping outside the office with hundreds of others for the past two days, hoping for an employer to take him in and help him register.

“I came here without any document about six months ago,” said the 41-year-old odd-job worker.

Selangor Immigration director Omran Omar said 50% of employers whose migrant workers were rejected for the E-Card were reluctant to put them under the 3+1 programme (Pulang Sukarela or return to home country voluntarily) so these workers could be deported.

“This is a serious problem and it is outright irresponsible for employers to leave their migrant workers behind. It is an offence and they can be brought to court.

“We will not tolerate such acts,” Omran told reporters at a media briefing here yesterday.

“As of June 29, a total of 1,278 applications from migrant workers were rejected, while over 40,395 applications from 4,800 employers in the plantation, agriculture, industrial, construction and service industries were approved.

“Only 30,533 E-Cards have been issued after payments were made,” he said, adding that migrant workers from Bangladesh made up the most number of applicants at 26,874, followed by Indonesia (12,812) and Myanmar (658).

He also said a large-scale statewide operation to weed out errant employers and illegal workers would start today.

“This time, we are targeting irresponsible employers who failed to register illegal workers,” he added.

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