PETALING JAYA: The government should reduce the fine for illegal immigrants who wish to return home under the Back for Good (B4G) programme.
“The response to B4G has been lukewarm because the compound of RM700 is seen to be too expensive for illegals.
“The requirements for illegals to get travelling documents for their countries are also seen to be a burdensome process for these foreign workers, ” said Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan.
He said the difficult process of recruiting legal foreign workers and high cost incurred to get the necessary approvals were seen to be the big contributing factors why illegal workers continue to come to Malaysia.
“The procedure for foreign worker recruitment should be simplified and transparent with appropriate deadlines for each step of the process.
“Governments of source countries need to facilitate their citizens who want to work overseas and not charge exorbitant fees, ” he said.
It was reported that the Selangor Immigration Department had warned the public to go directly to its officers to make applications under the B4G programme, instead of going through an intermediary.
On July 18, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the implementation of the B4G programme from Aug 1 to Dec 31 to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the country.
Apart from reducing the influx of illegal immigrants, the B4G programme also aims to save the cost of immigration depot management, as well as curb social ills, including the risk of infectious diseases.
The B4G programme only involves illegal immigrants in the peninsula.
Presma (Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association) president Ayoob Khan Muhamad Yakub said the government should conduct a full study following the B4G programme to understand the needs of all sectors.
“For instance, if a business requests 30 workers, the government should try and find a way to fill the demand of each sector, ” he said.
Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies president Datuk Foo Yong Hooi said the programme would allow the government a chance to get a better idea on how to formulate a policy to meet market demand.
Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers president Datuk Soh Thian Lai said illegal foreign workers should use this opportunity under B4G to return to their source countries.
“The authorities should conduct enforcement strictly so that more illegals will take up B4G, but it seems the take-up rates have not been encouraging since B4G started from Aug 1.
“Those who are currently detained at immigration depots are not eligible to participate in B4G, ” he said.
Illegal immigrants only need to obtain complete identification documents from their respective embassies or high commissions before handing them over to the immigration office for processing, where they need to pay a fine of RM700 and show the flight ticket for the journey back to their country of origin.
The last amnesty programme, called the 3+1 programme, ran from 2014 to August last year, with 840,000 illegal immigrants repatriated and RM400mil in compounds collected.
Soh also called on the government to implement a holistic review of foreign worker management policies, such as a single online processing and approval system that covers the entire cycle from recruitment to repatriation.
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