Malaysia starts ‘flushing out’ illegal immigrants

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Malaysia illegal workersMalaysia on September 1 launched a large-scale immigration operation to swiftly deport nearly half a million illegal foreign workers. It is the largest crackdown ever on low-wage migrant labourers who mainly  work at plantations and factories.

Malaysia has the highest number of foreign workers in Southeast Asia, who make up more than 16 per cent of total workforce in a nation of 29 million people. Up to 2 million are estimated to be illegal in the country, most of them Indonesians, and others being Bangladeshis, Myanmar nationals, Vietnamese, Filipinos, Indian, Sri Lankan and Nepalese.

The Immigration Department said it plans to arrest and deport up to 500,000 illegal immigrants and arrest about 45,000 employers of such workers. About 1,000 migrant workers were arrested across the country on September 1. The operation will go on over 3 months.

The often-illiterate workers can find themselves caught between potentially unscrupulous employment agencies and the risk of being apprehended by immigration authorities. This leaves them vulnerable to not being paid and mistreatment.

Malaysia has long relied on foreign labour to fill low-paying jobs that local people don’t want, mostly in the plantation, construction and manufacturing sectors. For example, projects such as the Petronas Towers, the new administrative capital of Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur’s international airport were partly built by labourers from Indonesia and Bangladesh.

With the country’s economy now slowing down, authorities feel “it’s the right time to shed the excess illegal foreign workers.”

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Malaysia on September 1 launched a large-scale immigration operation to swiftly deport nearly half a million illegal foreign workers. It is the largest crackdown ever on low-wage migrant labourers who mainly  work at plantations and factories.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Malaysia illegal workersMalaysia on September 1 launched a large-scale immigration operation to swiftly deport nearly half a million illegal foreign workers. It is the largest crackdown ever on low-wage migrant labourers who mainly  work at plantations and factories.

Malaysia has the highest number of foreign workers in Southeast Asia, who make up more than 16 per cent of total workforce in a nation of 29 million people. Up to 2 million are estimated to be illegal in the country, most of them Indonesians, and others being Bangladeshis, Myanmar nationals, Vietnamese, Filipinos, Indian, Sri Lankan and Nepalese.

The Immigration Department said it plans to arrest and deport up to 500,000 illegal immigrants and arrest about 45,000 employers of such workers. About 1,000 migrant workers were arrested across the country on September 1. The operation will go on over 3 months.

The often-illiterate workers can find themselves caught between potentially unscrupulous employment agencies and the risk of being apprehended by immigration authorities. This leaves them vulnerable to not being paid and mistreatment.

Malaysia has long relied on foreign labour to fill low-paying jobs that local people don’t want, mostly in the plantation, construction and manufacturing sectors. For example, projects such as the Petronas Towers, the new administrative capital of Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur’s international airport were partly built by labourers from Indonesia and Bangladesh.

With the country’s economy now slowing down, authorities feel “it’s the right time to shed the excess illegal foreign workers.”

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