The coastguards detained 57 Bangladeshis trying to go to Malaysia illegally on a fishing trawler at Teknaf in Cox's Bazar yesterday afternoon.
The arrested were handed over to Teknaf police.
Mantu Kumar Biswas, labour counsellor of Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, told The Daily Star over the phone yesterday, “We have evidence that some Bangladeshis enter Malaysia to work through illegal channels while some work here illegally with tourist and student visas.”
He blamed unscrupulous recruiting and travel agencies for sending Bangladeshis to work in Malaysia with the wrong visas.
Malaysian media in recent times have reported cases in which Bangladeshis were detained at Kuala Lumpur International Airport for having fake labour visas.
Around 300 illegal Bangladeshis had been arrested since Tuesday when the Malaysian government began its crackdown on illegal workers.
According to the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, around 25,000 Bangladeshis are currently staying in Malaysia without any documents.
Expatriates' Welfare Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain said, “We cannot do anything for the illegal workers, who did not take the opportunity of amnesty offered before this crackdown.
“Since 2011, the Malaysian government had been asking illegal foreigners to register and become legal, but some of our people did not respond,” he told the reporters on Tuesday.
Malaysia had stopped hiring workers from Bangladesh between 2009 and 2012, allegedly for anomalies in recruitment.