Friday, August 14, 2009

Many employers yet to legalise foreign workers

KOTA KINABALU: Many employers are still not taking steps to get proper documentation for their illegal workers.

The Immigration Department believes more than 100,000 foreigners are working in the state illegally because their employers refuse to pay the documentation fee.

Since last month, 931 illegal immigrants have gone to the Immigration Department to pay their levy and apply for work permits and passports from their countries of origin.

The government recently decided to give employers a reprieve by allowing them to pay their workers' levy as well as apply for work passes from the Immigration Department and passports from their country of origin.

On top of that, a 50 per cent discount was offered across the board to all employers in a bid to encourage them to come forward with their illegal workers between last month and Oct 31.

State Immigration director Datuk Baharon Talib yesterday said the response was far from satisfactory and noted that most of the culprits were those running small businesses.

"Many major companies that employ large number of foreigners have responded to our call for them to legalise the status of their workers but not those who employ only a few workers, particularly in the agricultural and construction sectors.

In August last year, 312,837 foreigners were registered as illegal immigrants with the Immigration Department and their employers were given the opportunity to apply for proper documents within three months.

From that total, about 175,000 followed up by paying for the levy, applying for work permits and getting their passports while the rest remained unaccounted for. - NST.

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