Following the completion of the two-year rehiring program for expats by the end of June, the Malaysian government has now implemented a voluntary deportation program for illegally-staying foreign nationals in the country, according to a report by Philstar Global.
The said program will last only until August 30, and that’s why the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has appealed to some 400,000 Filipinos who do not have legal immigration status in the country to avail of the deportation services offered by the Malaysian government.
Philippine Embassy Urges Filipinos in Malaysia to Avail Voluntary Deportation
To this development, Philippine Ambassador to Kuala Lumpur Charles Jose reassured Filipinos that the embassy will provide ample assistance to those who would opt to avail of the deportation services offered by their host government.
Furthermore, undocumented migrants who would avail of the government’s deportation program would no longer be serving jail time or be held liable to compounded charges. According to Jose, those who would undergo voluntary deportation would only have to pay a fixed discounted fine of MYR 300, as well as a MYR 100 exit fee.
The Malaysian government’s rehiring program, which allowed undocumented migrants to file for valid permits and to regularize their immigration status, ended last June 30.
Prior this, only 8,000 Filipinos or about 2 per cent of the total undocumented Filipinos in the country took part in the rehiring program offered by the government at the time.
Ambassador Jose said, “The Embassy has been proactive in assisting and looking after the welfare of Filipinos working and residing in Malaysia, regardless of their immigration status.”
That being the case, Jose appealed to all his kababayans to take the voluntary deportation offer before the end of this month. Those who do not have valid travel documents may go to the Philippine Embassy for assistance on this matter, added the Philippine envoy.
The Embassy will also issue an endorsement letter to those who will take the deportation offer, which has to be submitted to the Immigration Department. Documents will only be processed once a letter of endorsement has been provided and after penalty fines and exit fees have been paid at the Immigration Department.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reminded all concerned Filipinos in Malaysia that they have to return to the Philippines within the time frame set by the Immigration Department, and process their return arrangements within five days after the issuance of their exit pass.
Similar to what has been recently going on in the Middle East, national governments are extending help to foreign nationals in the form of expediting the processing of their immigration status in the country. And while this may take a toll on some of our OFWs’ livelihood, it’s much better to iron things out — especially when it comes to legal documentation in a foreign country. After all, these governments do recognize the migrant workers’ vital role in the economic growth of their country, and would only wish to extend help where it is greatly needed.