PETALING JAYA: Malaysians must ensure that they apply for a visa appropriate to the purpose of their visit before travelling abroad, says the Foreign Ministry.
In a statement on Tuesday, it said those planning to work abroad must go through legal channels and comply with procedures stipulated by the destination country, including obtaining a valid working permit or visa.
The ministry said this in response to reports published by The Star on Tuesday, which stated that there were 5,000 Malaysians working illegally in South Korea.
"The ministry advises Malaysians not to be lured by job offers abroad prior to obtaining a valid working permit or visa," it said.
Malaysians are also advised to forward their enquires to the respective Malaysian diplomatic mission abroad, which details are available online at www.kln.gov.my.
The Star reported that an estimated 5,000 Malaysians are working and staying illegally in South Korea.
Lured by job advertisements and lucrative salary offers, they had paid recruitment agents thousands of ringgit in fees and entered the country on tourist visas.
Star Media Group's Bahasa Malaysia news portal mStar Online sent a team to South Korea to look into their plight and found many of these Malaysians stranded and destitute.
Their problems, first highlighted by mStar Online in a series of special reports in association with The Korea Herald in January, ranged from suffering permanent disability after workplace accidents to being left broke and homeless when they were fired by their employers.