OFW’s warned of immigration crackdown in Malaysia
The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has reminded Filipinos in Malaysia to complete their immigration documentation and always carry identification documents in light of an announced Malaysian government crackdown on undocumented foreign nationals starting Jan. 21.
“We would like to remind our nationals to make sure that their immigration or work documents are in order, and to carry with them proper documents, notably work permits or passports with valid visas, to avoid inconvenience in case of immigration checks,” Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya said.
He also asked employers and agents to hand over any passport and other identification documents to their Filipino employees for the latter’s safety and protection.
Those who have no status in Malaysia are urged to make arrangements for their voluntary return to the Philippines.
Malaysian authorities have indicated that those who will leave voluntarily will not be prosecuted but will only have to pay the overstay fine.
Those who will be caught will be kept in detention while undergoing deportation proceedings, and will be subjected to biometric fingerprint registration to ensure that they would not be able to return to Malaysia under a different name.
The Embassy also reiterated its appeal to those who wished to work in Malaysia to make sure that they have approved work permits or similar papers before they come over or start their work in the country.
The Malaysian Home Ministry announced on Jan. 10 that it will be launching a massive crackdown on undocumented foreign nationals in an operation dubbed “Ops Bersepadu.”
Expected to be affected by the crackdown are nationals from Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, India, Bangladesh and the Philippines.
The Malaysian government recently banned foreign workers from working in fastfood restaurants to prioritize the hiring of locals.
Foreigners, including Filipinos, who travel to Malaysia as tourists, cannot work there legally. They should verify job offers in Malaysia with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) in Manila or the Embassy’s Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) before coming to Malaysia for a job, the ambassador said.
The Embassy has been receiving and acting on complaints from Filipinos about individuals who promise to convert their Social Visit Passes into work visas in exchange for money. A number of Filipinos have become victims of this form of illegal recruitment and fraud.
The Embassy has been closely coordinating with Malaysian Immigration authorities to assist affected Filipinos ever since Malaysia announced an initial crackdown against undocumented foreign workers starting Sept. 1 last year.
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