Malaysia launches Migrant Repatriation Program

PUTRAJAYA: The Migrant Repatriation Program will be implemented from today until December 31, with the aim of allowing illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin voluntarily.

The Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, said the move would simultaneously reduce the number of illegal immigrants in Malaysia, in addition to balancing the security element and generating the country’s economy.

Through this program, exemption from prosecution is given to PATIs who present themselves to return to their country of origin. As of 12 noon today, a total of 848 PATIs have registered to participate in the Migrant Repatriation program.

The registration and implementation of the Migrant Repatriation Program is fully regulated by the Malaysian Immigration Department with further details of the implementation mechanism by the Department. All parties should note that the implementation of this program does not involve any third party.

“If there are those who want to use the services of an agent, forget it. The government will not entertain any application from third parties or agents,” he stressed in a press conference here today.

Saifuddin Nasution said, PATIs who participate in the Migrant Repatriation program will not be investigated or taken action by the Immigration Department even if they enter Malaysia without a valid passport, overstay in the country or violate the conditions of the visit pass previously issued to them.

He said, in planning the management of the country’s foreign workers, the government acts based on four main components that focus on lowering the cost of foreign worker migration, speeding up the entry process, ensuring the welfare of workers and the interests of employers are preserved.

He said, through the Committee Meeting with the Minister of Home Affairs and the Minister of Human Resources on the Management of Foreign Workers 10th Bill. 1/2024 held on 16 January, the two ministries together with the relevant Regulatory Agency (AKS) have re-evaluated the actual needs of the industry read together with the projection of the country’s workforce needs and the current scenario, further considering the need for foreign worker employment quotas.

The Cabinet on February 15 was satisfied that the remaining employment quota for foreign workers in the formal sector who are still active and have paid the levy but have not yet been issued a Visa With Reference (VDR) on March 31 this year will be canceled with the quota levy payment returned to the employer.

“Therefore, the deadline for the entry of new formal sector foreign workers with the VDR is 31 May this year and no further entry of formal sector foreign workers from the active quota is allowed from 1 June 2024,” he said.

Following that, he urged all employers related to the issue to speed up the entry of approved foreign workers and at the same time ensure compliance with the conditions and labor laws set.

Saifuddin assured that the KDN will implement a levy return policy that is more employer and industry friendly to ensure that the return process runs smoothly.

“The government made significant improvements to the levy return policy and process, including reducing the return processing time period from 53 to 28 days for applications at the approval stage of the Director General of Immigration and 77 to 38 days for applications at the approval stage of the Secretary General of KDN.

“Employers are allowed to claim a refund of the foreign worker levy payment after the six-month period of validity of the Conditional Approval Letter with the entire remaining quota of foreign workers handed over to the government,” he said.

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