The Malaysian government in the last four months deported around 2,500 undocumented Bangladeshi workers for not having valid work permits, said sources at the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“Every month we are issuing travel permits to 500 to 600 undocumented workers who have no valid work permit to stay in Malaysia,” an official at the mission told The Daily Star.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Thursday in the country's parliament said that a total of 32,803 illegal foreign workers had been deported between February 15 and June 13.
After checking the documents of 91,075 workers, some 27,369 were found to be staying in Malaysia without documents, reports Malaysian The Star, quoting the minister.
Zahid Hamid, also the Malaysian home minister, said 1,24,279 undocumented workers had been rehired under a rehiring programme.
The Bangladesh mission officials said some 30,000 undocumented Bangladeshis have been registered for the rehiring programme, which started in February. But this does not mean that they will be rehired, they added.
“Actually, we don't have any information on the number of rehired Bangladeshis. Until the Malaysian Immigration Department declares them legal to stay here, it cannot be confirmed that they are rehired,” said a mission official, wishing not be named.
The ongoing rehiring programme will end on June 30 and after that it will be possible to know the fates of the registered Bangladeshis, the official added.
Around 4,00,000 Bangladeshis are working legally in different sectors in Malaysia, but there is no exact number of the undocumented Bangladeshis there, said sources at the high commission.
Currently, Malaysia is not hiring any foreign workers after the government of the Southeast Asian country announced suspending recruitment of foreign workers from all countries, including Bangladesh, on February 19, a day after Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur signed a deal over hiring workers.
On February 18, Malaysian Human Resources Minister Richard Riot and Bangladesh Expatriates' Welfare Minister Nurul Islam signed a memorandum of understanding on recruiting 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers through G2G Plus mechanism over the next three years.
Zahid Hamidi, however, told Malaysian parliament that the suspension had caused a loss of some (Malaysian Ringgit) RM24 billion, reports The Star.
The country's Human Resources Ministry, the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) and several agencies were conducting a study to determine how many foreign workers the country needs in its different sectors, he said.
“The findings and recommendations will be submitted to the Special Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers which will decide on what best to do,” The Star quoted Zahid as saying.