Undocumented Bangladeshis living in Peninsular Malaysia will get a chance to be regularised and recruited under a new programme.
The Labour Recalibration Plan would allow employers in construction, manufacturing, plantation, and agriculture sectors to legally employ undocumented foreign workers, Malaysian media reports, quoting the home ministry as saying on Thursday.
Only the employers will apply for direct immigration mentioning the names of their illegal employees via a designated email, says the Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia in its posts on social media.
The Malaysia government took the initiative to validate the migrants from 15 countries, including Bangladesh, it says.
Another initiative titled Repatriation Recalibration Plan will let undocumented migrants be regularised and return home voluntarily.
The authorities began implementing the plans yesterday and the windows would remain open until June 30, 2021, according to media reports.
"The government is expected to make RM 95 million from compounds and other payments that undocumented migrants and employers will pay," reported The Star, quoting Malaysia Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin.
Migrant worker Abdul Kuddus said many Bangladeshi undocumented workers face different difficulties in and outside their workplaces in the Southeast Asian country.
"You can't move freely and you can't even sleep well when you are undocumented," he said.
Kuddus, who is currently stuck at home because of the pandemic, said he was an undocumented worker before he got regularised under an amnesty programme in 2016.
During crackdowns on undocumented foreign workers by Malaysian police, they flee their workplaces and sometimes have to spend nights in the woods, he added.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, Malaysia has hired about 10.57 lakh Bangladeshi workers since 1978.
The exact number of Bangladeshis living without legal papers in Malaysia is unknown.
Asked, Zahirul Islam, labour welfare counsellor at Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, could not tell how many of them are expected to avail the latest opportunities.
Last year, about 53,000 Bangladeshi undocumented workers obtained legal status and returned home under Malaysian government's Back for Good programme, said the labour welfare official.
Zahirul said the high commission was yet to formally receive the programme details from the Malaysian authorities.
Malaysian Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin was quoted as saying on Thursday that under the latest Repatriation Recalibration Plan, the migrants can volunteer to return to their homeland, subject to certain conditions.
The migrants and employers who wish to participate in either programme are to deal directly with the Immigration Department and the Peninsular Malaysia Labour Department, the minister added.