No more reprieve for illegal immigrants in Sabah


PETALING JAYA: There will be no extension to the recently concluded regularisation exercise for undocumented Indonesian and Filipino workers and dependents in Sabah.

Sabah Immigration Department director Datuk Musa Sulaiman (pic) said nothing could be done for those who missed the June 30 deadline.

“They are now subject to Immi­gration action,” he said when contacted in Kota Kinabalu.

More than 120,000 undocumented Filipino and Indonesian workers in Sabah were registered during the three-month programme, which began in April.

The bulk of the 123,575 workers and dependents registered were Indonesians at 95,226, with Filipinos accounting for 28,349.

The regularisation programme was for employers to legalise their Indonesian and Filipino workers in the plantation and agriculture sectors and dependents, provided their embassies issue them with passports and birth certificates.

“The statistics show that the programme was a success,” Musa said.

He said the next step would be for the employers concerned to submit the passports of their foreign workers and dependents to the department for screening by Sept 30.

Once the employers paid all the necessary fees, he said the foreign workers would be issued with temporary work passes, with dependents getting social visit passes.

Philippine Ambassador to Malay­sia Charles C. Jose, in an interview with The Star last week, said the embassy sent a special team to visit plantations with the highest number of Filipino workers to issue them passports and papers so that they could be registered under the programme.

Estimating between 400,000 and 500,000 illegal Filipino workers in Sabah, the envoy said some 14,249 Filipinos had been assisted so far.

Jose also said that the embassy received pleas from plantation owners asking their Filipino workers to be issued with passports.


   

Across The Star Online