Verification rate lags as RTK 2.0 deadline approaches

PUTRAJAYA: Only 48% of the one million-odd illegal foreign workers registered for employment under the Second Labour Recalibration Programme (RTK 2.0) has been verified, despite the looming deadline for employers to do so in less than two weeks’ time.

RTK 2.0 is a special employment plan launched by the Malaysian government on Jan 23 last year to “legalise” illegal foreign workers in the country in various sectors.

Immigration authorities are calling for employers to settle the process soon, given that the deadline is March 31.

The have also warned those who failed to turn up for the process the second time will have their applications cancelled.

“Some did not turn up for their first appointment and we will contact them again to remind them to have the verification done.

“But if they still fail to appear, their application will be cancelled,” said Immigration Department director-general Datuk Ruslin Jusoh.

He said that employers must follow through the process of legalising their foreign workers and failure to do so would land them and their unregistered employees in trouble with the law.Ruslin said that as of March 10, only 48% or 527,295 of the 1,105,061 foreign workers registered with the RTK 2.0 programme had been verified.

He said employers were given another three months to complete the verification process after the programme ended on Dec 31 last year.

“The three months given is sufficient for employers to finalise the process. Employers should not wait until the last minute to complete the legalisation of their foreign workers,” Ruslin said in an interview.

The deadline for employers to complete the verification processis March 31 and the government had said that it would not extend it.

Authorities had earlier warned that there would be no leniency for employers who fail to follow up with the registration process of their illegal foreign workers and that immigration laws would be evoked and action would be taken against the employers and employees who were not legalised by March 31.

The RTK 2.0 programme has allowed employers to register via online, but they still have to attend in person with their foreign workers at the Immigration offices for the screening and verification process using biometrics.

Ruslin said a large chunk of the foreign workers registered were by employers in the construction sector at 51%, followed by services (24%), agriculture (8%), manufacturing (8%) and plantation (6%).

The majority of foreign workers involved in the RTK 2.0 are Bangladeshis, Indonesians, Indians, Pakistanis and Myanmar nationals.

The first RTK was carried out between November 2020 and June 2022. A total of 418,528 had registered for the first RTK.

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