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By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Mar 3: Illegal immigrants in Sarawak are given a way out of their predicament through a new recalibration programme implemented by the state government.
Sarawak Immigration director Datuk Ken Leben said the recalibration programme provides a route for illegal immigrants to return to their home countries or work in the state.
He said that the state government will start to implement the recalibration programme for illegal immigrants from March 15 until June 30.
The recalibration of illegal immigrants consisted of two components which are return recalibration programme and employment recalibration programme.
“For the return recalibration programme, it allows illegal immigrants in Sarawak to return to their home country voluntarily subject to the conditions stipulated by the state government.
“The conditions include those who have violated the law under Section 15 (1) (C) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 which is overstaying in Sarawak, the second offence is those who have violated Section 6 (1) (C) which is having no valid documents and misuse the entry pass which is violating Section 39 (B).
“The three offences qualify the illegal immigrant to be sent back to their home countries,” he told reporters during a press conference today.
Ken said illegal immigrants who violated the first two offences under Section 15 (1) (C) and Section 6 (1) (C) of the Immigration Act will be fined RM500 before they are deported.
He added foreign immigrants who misused their entry pass will be compounded RM300.
As for the employment recalibration programme, Ken explained that it is a special programme whereby foreign immigrants in Sarawak will be reassessed by employers to be employed according to the conditions stipulated.
He said foreign immigrants who overstayed and misused their entry passes are qualified to apply for the employment recalibration programme.
Among the sectors that can hire foreign workers in Sarawak include construction, manufacturing, agriculture, plantation while there are three sub-sectors in Sarawak whereby foreign workers may be employed namely services, mining and quarrying as well as housekeeping or maid services.
Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had chaired a meeting on foreign workers.
Uggah disclosed that the state government has allowed local employers to hire foreign workers effective March 1.
Uggah who is also the Second Finance Minister pointed out that the Immigration autonomy for bringing in foreign labour lies with the state government.
He explained that the decision to allow employers to hire foreign workers was made based on many applications from the industries which required the use of foreign labour.
He noted a total of 27,000 permits for foreign workers from various sectors of the economy such as agriculture, plantation, construction, manufacturing, and services have been approved.
Uggah pointed out that the acquisition of foreign labour will be subjected to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC). —DayakDaily