Register foreign employees to avoid action – immigration

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TAWAU: Employers are advised to take the opportunity to register their employees under the 5Ps (Registration, Amnesty, Monitoring, Enforcement and Repatriation) programme from July 18 until August 1 before enforcement action is taken.

State Immigration Department director Mohammad Mentek said apart from the illegal immigrants, employers also could not escape from action if found guilty of employing illegal immigrants.

He said after the registration period on August 1, the department would launch a two-month amnesty programme to give leeway to illegal immigrants to exit the country without any action being taken.

“And after that we will enforce the law and take stern action on illegal immigrants and employers who violated the amnesty programme.”

Mohammad said focus was given to employers in the state because monitoring and study found that most illegal immigrants stayed and worked in big plantations.

Because of this, he said he had directed immigration officers at every district to contact plantation sector employers to take advantage by registering their workers who had no documentations.

“We also received requests from certain employers for us to go to the plantations in order to conduct the workers’ registration,” he said, adding the department has a strategy to attract hardcore employers into giving cooperation.

“So we hope employers will not regret after the registration and amnesty period as we will take stern enforcement action on those who are stubborn,” he said.

Mohammad also said the opportunity for employers to recruit foreign workers was wide open.

“We are not freezing the recruitment of foreign workers. That is why we have opened counters at every registration centres to receive the quota of workers from employers,” he said.

Nonetheless, Mohammad said those illegal immigrant workers were required to return to their country of origin and would be considered for reemployment in Sabah after three months of stay in their country of origin.

He said based on the analysis which was carried out by the department, most of the illegal foreign workers worked in large plantations, and it would a big loss to the country as they worked without paying a levy.

He said certain plantation sectors in Sabah had 11,000 workers, and of the total, 4,500 were illegals.

“This is just one example that I am giving. So, imagine how many illegals we have in 1.4 million hectares of plantation in Sabah. Now we give them (employers and illegals) the chance to register themselves.

Mohammad said employers must not wait until the last minute to register their illegal workers to avoid problems, including congested counters.

He said no action would be taken against employers and illegals during the two-week registration process at nine registration centres in the state.

“Again I want to emphasize here, only those who are required to register themselves should turn up. Holders of IMM13 and Census Card Federal Special Task Force of Sabah and Labuan Federal Territory need not come and register.

“Those who are holding Temporary Replacement Certificates from the Chief Minister’s office and green identitification cards, except those which have expired, also need not come to register,” he said.

According to Mohammad, it is compulsory for those who entered the country illegally, entered legally but overstayed and those who abused their documents, to register.

“I urge illegal immigrant workers to grab the opportunity given by the Malaysian government to register so they could return in an orderly manner to their respective countries.

He said after the registration period, the illegals who had registered themselves were given two months, the legalising period, to deal with their respective embassies over their return to their own countries without action being taken against them.

He said the Indonesian Embassy had agreed to place their representatives at all the registration centres and the Embassy of the Philippines had agreed to send their representatives to Sabah next week.

As of yesterday, 2,593 illegal immigrants had registered at nine registration centers in the state with Sandakan recording the highest at 615 people followed by Lahad Datu (570) and Tawau (348).

The director was satisfied with the registration process in the state even though there were some technical problems at the Tawau registration centre on the first day of registration.

About 4,000 illegal immigrants were expected to register yesterday.