MELAKA: The state government has raised concerns over the repatriation of undocumented migrants under the government’s recalibration programme.
Melaka Unity, Human Resources And Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Wira AR Ismail Othman said he had brought up the issue of illegal immigrants in the state during a meeting with the relevant government departments on Tuesday (Aug 3).
"Claims of middlemen using forged documents, including Covid-19 test certificates, in a bid to leave the country should also be looked into," he said Wednesday (Aug 4).
Ismail said many of these migrants were technologically illiterate and faced difficulties going online to get Covid-19 vaccination appointment slots through the Online Appointment System (OAS).
"This is when the middlemen take advantage of these foreigners," he said.
It is learnt that the Immigration Department had previously acted against the middlemen helping foreign workers to register for the programme without the proper procedure.
The middlemen would charge from RM1,000 to RM1,500 per person to help them register for the programme without using the OAS.
The labour recalibration and repatriation plans were introduced on Nov 16, 2020, as an initiative to reduce the number of
undocumented foreigners in the country.
The plan has been extended until the end of this year and the Immigration Department has discouraged the use of middlemen or agent services.
Ismail said the migrants must have valid travel papers issued by their respective embassies and tickets to their home country as well as produce a polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) screening test slip, which should be valid for 72 hours from the time of their flight.
"We must know whether the documents produced at Immigration checkpoints are genuine," he said.
Ismail said migrants crossing borders, allegedly with fake documents, could also be a source of Covid-19 infections.
Ismail said he also brought up allegations of migrants being involved in farming activities in villages here during the meeting.
He also has asked the state Immigration Department to check on the claims that several illegal immigrants are still being employed in the state.
Ismail added that close to 21,000 documented foreign workers in the state had been vaccinated to date.
"Our concern is on how to get the illegals vaccinated," he added.