Over 300,000 illegal immigrants working in ‘non-permitted sectors’

A total 327,991 illegal immigrants have been found working in non-permitted sectors, according to a Phase 1 report of the Comprehensive Settlement Programme for Illegal Immigrants (6P Programme).

Under the present policy, foreign workers were allowed to work only in the manufacturing, plantation, agriculture, construction sectors and 15 types of employment in the services sector.

However, the majority were found to be working in mining, car workshops, fast food restaurants, stalls, as fishermen, newspaper vendors and car washers.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysian Immigration Department intelligence and monitoring revealed that there were also illegals who were self-employed while some had become employers themselves.

“Although the scenario had been identified since long ago, it is difficult to handle, because of various factors, among which are the abuse of passes and work permits, and falsifying of documents and identities,” he said in a
statement in Putrajaya.

“As such, the implementation of the 6P programme is important, because other than tackling issues relating to illegal immigrant workers who are already in the country, it enables the government to get accurate data on the actual
problem,” he said.

He said the ministry would forward the appeal of some employers’ associations and individual employers to allow illegal workers, working in sectors banned to them, to be legalised.

Hishammuddin said the cabinet viewed seriously the aspiration of the 6P Programme in stabilising the management of foreign nationals in the country, when the 6P programme report was tabled in last week’s meeting.

“The 6P programme is a pioneer effort towards creating a data system and comprehensive information by determining the actual number of illegal immigrant workers in the country and, at the same time, recording their biometric data,” he said.

Hishammuddin said cabinet also agreed that the second phase of the 6P Programme be implemented after the date and implemetation mechanism was finalised at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers and Illegal Immigrants on Oct 3.

Among the matters which would be decided by the committee was the status of the illegal immigrants who were working in sectors outside of the existing Foreign Workers Employment Policy, he said.

– Bernama