Nepali embassy in M’sia urges illegal workers to join 3-plus-1 scheme

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 19, 2018-

The Malaysian government has extended the deadline for illegal migrants to either leave the country or apply for legal status through rehiring programme until June 30, 2018. The previous deadline for Voluntary Deportation Programme or “3-plus-1” scheme had expired on December 31, 2017. 

Malaysian immigration department estimates there are 600,000 illegal migrants in the country. The 3-plus-1 programme was introduced to give illegal migrants the opportunity to either apply for legal status or return to their countries without facing any legal actions. 

The programme will benefit thousands of Nepalis believed to be living in Malaysia without legal status, said Kumar Kharel, the deputy chief of mission at the Nepali Embassy in Malaysia.  

“We welcome the consideration shown by the Malaysian government and strongly urge Nepali migrants with illegal status to take benefit from this programme,” he said.

Malaysia is one of the popular destinations for Nepali migrant workers, with the country employing an estimated 485,000 Nepalis currently. 

There is no data on the number of illegal Nepali migrants in the Southeast Asian country, but the embassy officials believe their number is considerable.

Only 1,400 Nepalis had joined the deportation programme first time round. When the Malaysian authorities launched a crackdown on illegal migrants in July last year, more than 150 undocumented Nepalis were arrested in the first week of the operation alone.

“Overstaying one’s visa in a quest to earn more money is the most common way by which migrant workers become illegal. They don’t understand the risk they are running into when their status is illegal. The authority could jail them if they are caught and if they do manage to find a job with their illegal status, there is no guarantee of decent pay. There is a high chance of labour exploitation for illegal migrants, so it is best for them to return home before their visas are expired and not take chances,” Kharel said.   

The Malaysian authorities have hired eight companies to assist illegal  migrants with the 3-plus-1 programme.

The Nepali embassy has requested illegal citizens to contact any of the companies to discuss their options and take the decision accordingly.

There is a rehiring programme for those wishing to continue their stay in the country by acquiring legal status. However, it is mandatory that the applicants have valid passports. 

“For people who do not have valid passports, the embassy will help them by issuing travel documents,” Kharel said.

Published: 19-01-2018 08:00

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