Malaysia to fingerprint illegal workers in amnesty | Global News

Malaysia to fingerprint illegal workers in amnesty

/ 07:07 PM June 22, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR—Malaysia Wednesday announced it will fingerprint illegal immigrants who come forward under an amnesty program from next month.

The program, which will begin July 11, will allow some of the immigrants to gain employment legally and others to leave the country without facing such harsh punishment as caning.

Authorities estimate there are some two million illegal immigrants working in Malaysia, one of Asia’s largest importers of foreign labor.


Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said those working in Malaysia illegally will have two weeks to register without facing any repercussions.


“There will be no action taken against them (if they surrender within two weeks),” he told reporters after chairing a special Cabinet meeting on foreign workers.

The penalty for overstaying is a jail sentence, and caning for men.

Officials say taking fingerprints will allow the government to keep tabs on foreigners if they attempt to enter the country in the future under a different name.

The amnesty will also protect them from unscrupulous agents who might help them travel and work illegally for a substantial fee, officials say.

Many of those who work in Malaysia are from neighboring Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

They supply the workforce needed in Malaysia’s agricultural, construction, manufacturing, services sectors and homes as maids.


Muhyiddin said not all of the illegal workers will be deported, adding that migrants who are needed by the local industries will be given documents to work legally.

The deputy minister could not say how many were expected to surrender, or how many job positions would need to be filled. The whole exercise is expected to take up to six months.

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Some 1.9 million foreigners work in Malaysia legally, mainly in labor-intensive jobs shunned by locals.

TAGS: illegal immigrants, Malaysia, Overseas employment

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