MANILA – Filipinos based in Malaysia are urged to complete their immigration documentation and always carry proper identification, such as passports, following the Malaysia government's announcement of a crackdown on undocumented foreign nationals beginning January 21.
“We would like to remind our nationals to make sure that their immigration or work documents are in order, and to carry with them proper documents, notably work permit or passport with valid visa, to avoid inconvenience in case of immigration checks,” Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya said.
Employers and agents are also asked to hand over any passport and other identification documents to their Filipino employees for the workers' safety and protection.
Those who have no status in Malaysia are urged to make arrangements for their voluntary return to the Philippines. Those who will leave voluntarily will not be prosecuted but will have to pay the overstay fine.
Meanwhile, those who will be caught will be kept in detention while undergoing deportation proceedings, and will be subjected to biometric fingerprint registration to ensure that they would not be able to return to Malaysia under a different name.
Likewise, the embassy reiterated its appeal to those who wish to work in Malaysia to ensure that they have approved work permits or similar papers before they come over or start their work in the country.
The Malaysian Home Ministry announced on January 10 that it will be launching a massive crackdown on undocumented foreign nationals in an operation dubbed “Ops Bersepadu”.
Aside from Filipinos, the crackdown is expected to affect nationals from Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, India, and Bangladesh.
The Malaysian government has recently banned foreign workers from working in fast food restaurants to prioritize the hiring of locals.
Foreigners, including Filipinos, who travel to Malaysia as tourists, cannot work there legally. They should verify job offers in Malaysia with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) in Manila or the Embassy’s Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) before coming to Malaysia for a job.