The government’s planned crackdown on migrant workers not only victimises vulnerable groups, but raises questions over whether the government is colluding with fraudulent outsourcing agents.
According to Tenaganita executive director Irene Fernandez, this is because at least 5,000 migrants have paid agents to partake in the 6P amnesty programme but remain undocumented.
She said that since the introduction of 6P in 2011, Tenaganita has received hundreds of reports that such outsourcing companies had created “shell companies” and placed work permit applications under these companies.
However, these shell companies do not provide employment, and the workers do not receive any documents despite paying thousands of ringgit to the outsourcing companies.
“To date, Tenaganita has filed cases involving 55 outsourcing agencies affecting more than 5,000 workers with the police, immigration, the Home Ministry and the Human Resources Ministry…
“If the home minister continues with the proposed crackdown, then the government is not only supporting fraud and abuse of migrants, but is in collusion with agents to operate a system of labour trafficking where outsourcing agents can employ workers without permits and make them work under conditions of forced labour,” she said.
Fernandez said that of the cases Tenaganita has filed with the authorities, not one case has been investigated and no one has been charged.
She said that automatic deportation also does not take into account the “tacit agreement” between employers and the ministry that employers and agents can hold the workers’ passports.
This is despite the act being in contravention with the Passports Act 1955.
“Through this situation, enforcement officers have been able to extort money from migrants who fear for their lives…
“Employers continue to exploit migrants whose passports they hold by threatening to report them to enforcement agencies,” she said.
Refugees also at risk
She added that also put refugees at risk in the imminent crackdown, some of whom have also been forced to register under the 6P programme by their employers, but remain undocumented due to their refugee status.
“What actions will be taken by the state to prevent registered and unregistered refugees from arrest, detention and deportation?” she asked.
The 6P registration was open for three months ending Oct 2011.
According to The Star, 1.3 million undocumented migrant workers registered in that period but many did not turn up for further processing.
Immigration Department director-general Alias Ahmad (left) said that 500,000 workers had been legalised through the 6P, 330,000 repartriated while the remainder did not turn up.
“We have given them more than a year to take up the offer. It is now time for full enforcement,” he was quoted by The Star as saying.
Up to 336 companies were appointed by the Home Ministry as agents for the 6P programme.
Immigration charges RM300 to process and legalise each worker, plus RM100 for special visa fee. They will then be deported without being punished.
If the workers choose to stay, they can apply for a work permit which costs RM2,000 to RM3,500 depending on the industry. – Malaysiakini