Malaysia has given assurance to allow all the Bangladeshi workers staying illegally in the country to legalise their status under the current 'rehiring programme' which will continue till December 31.
Malaysian Immigration authorities have also said that they would not go for crackdown on illegal foreign workers, including the Bangladeshis, to facilitate them to register under the rehiring process.
The assurance came from the Director General of the Immigration Department Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali when government representatives from Bangladesh, India and Nepal met him on July 17 to request halting of the crackdown as well as allowing the illegal foreign workers to legalise their status.
A two-member Bangladesh delegation led by High Commissioner Md Shahidul Islam attended the meeting.
At the meeting, DG Immigration Mustafar Ali confirmed that all the illegal Bangladeshis living in Malaysia will get the opportunity to be legalised under the 'rehiring programme' which will continue till December 31, 2017, according to a press release of Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lampur issued on Tuesday.
The Malaysian government has also asked all the undocumented Bangladeshis there to take the opportunity and legalise their status under the programme.
About the crackdown, the high commission press release said the drive is part of a usual and continuous action undertaken by countries against irregular workers to maintain the law and order of that country.
The immigration authority also assured to facilitate free movement of illegal Bangladeshi workers to visit the Immigration office to register themselves in the 'rehiring programme' without any fear of arrest or crackdown. But the workers have to obtain letters from their employers first.
“This is undoubtedly a positive decision towards the Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia,” said a Bangladeshi diplomat.
According to sources in Malaysia, employers were given the opportunity to legalise the employment status of their illegal foreign workers under the Immigration Department's E-kad (enforcement card) programme which started on February 15 this year and ended on June 30.
On July 1, the immigration authorities launched a large-scale operation to flush out illegal immigrants in Malaysia. Police detained some 1035 foreign nationals, including 515 Bangladeshis.
Equipped with a biometric security system, the E-kad registration was free and valid for one year and it is functioning as a temporary confirmation of employment to replace valid travel documents from the respective embassies.
According to the Bangladesh High Commission, so far about one lakh Bangladeshis came under the E-kad process and another 2.93 lakh under the 'rehiring programme', which the DG of Immigration highly praised.
At the meeting, the DG of Malaysian Immigration informed the Bangladesh delegation that there is no scope to do any job in Malaysia with a tourist, professional or business visa from Bangladesh.
He suggested the Bangladeshis to come to Malaysia under the right categories of visa which will reduce the possibility of harassment at the airport.
The High Commission said around 26 Bangladeshis are now in different detention camps facing three months to one year jail terms.
According to Bangladesh High Commission officials, the workers who obtained the e-card will be able to stay and work until Feb 15, 2018. This means that those without a valid passport or permission to work may stay and work in Malaysia until Feb 15.
But the high commission has urged all Bangladeshis to obtain legal status as soon as possible by collecting their passports and completing the 'rehiring programme'.