Focus View
Prosecute employers hiring illegals
FocusM team | 07 Jul 2017 00:30
Employers have only themselves to blame if they face a shortage of foreign workers following the most recent crackdown on illegal workers. 

Many are lamenting that their businesses are severely affected. The fact is, these employers simply defied the government’s June 30 deadline to get permits for their illegal workers. 

In fact, in recent years, there have been many similar deadlines which were ignored. Not surprisingly, the errant employers are, as usual, asking for an extension of the deadline.  

There are an estimated 600,000 foreign nationals working illegally who are eligible to apply for work permits or the enforcement-card (E-Kad). But only 155,000 had done so by June 30. The E-Kad allows the workers to sort out their travel documents and apply for work permits by February next year.  

The Immigration Department is right in sticking to the deadline. Hours after the deadline had passed, it arrested hundreds of illegal workers around the country. Many illegals stayed away from work, disrupting businesses. Ironically, no employer was arrested.  

The department should also come down hard on errant employers. They should be charged under the Immigration Act where the maximum penalty is a RM10,000 fine per illegal immigrant and five years’ jail. They can also be charged under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act where their assets can be frozen.

The Immigration Department is still offering illegal workers a way out via its 3+1 Voluntary Surrender Programme by extending the deadline to Dec 31. It allows those facing deportation to return home without being charged in court. They will be fined RM300, charged RM100 for a one-way air ticket and deported within 14 days of volunteering.  

Let’s hope this offer is taken up by the illegals. It gives them a second chance to do the right thing without relying on irresponsible employers. 

Employers who hire illegals are nothing but rogues themselves. They refuse to pay levies, taxes and often exploit their workers. This enables them to make big profits at the expense of the country. 

And when these illegals are no longer needed and discarded by their employers, they resort to crime and other illegal activities to survive.  

So, unless the Immigration Department trains its guns on errant employers who are the root of the problem, its efforts to rid the country of illegals will fail.