KUCHING, July 28: The Sarawak government has approved 755 applications for permanent resident (PR) status in the state this year.
Immigration Malaysia director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said a total of 1,361 applications were received as at June 21, but 606 were rejected.
Out of the 606 rejections, 573 of them were turned down for reasons such as (a) the police did not return the immigration referral form (BRI); (b) social visit pass was not renewed, extended or expired; (c) applicant had died or divorced; and (d) applicant chose to migrate elsewhere.
The remaining 33 were not approved as the applicants were Malaysians from the peninsula and Sabah.
Getting a PR has been a long-standing issue for many foreign spouses married to Sarawakians. They wanted to stay and work in the state, but they failed to secure the PR status for years. Without a PR, they have to apply for a social or spouse visa, and the problem with that is (a) they have to renew them annually in order to stay in Sarawak, and (b) they are not allowed to be gainfully employed.
Meanwhile, Mustafar said the Immigration Department recorded 59,664 legal foreign workers in the state so far this year. In terms of illegal ones, 1,030 were nabbed under `Ops Mega 3.0’ in the state so far this year.
Nationwide, from July 14-21, a total of 4,261 illegal immigrants and 82 employers were collared in 1,506 operations. Most of the illegal immigrants were from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and the Philippines.
“We started `Ops Mega 3.0’, a voluntary surrender programme, to enable all illegal immigrants in the country to return to their countries of origin voluntarily. They have until Aug 30 to surrender,” said Mustafar.
He admitted that some Malaysians were not willing to take up certain jobs in the country, whereas foreigners were willing to do so.
“But there are many stubborn employers who prefer and are willing to take the risk in employing illegal workers because it is cheap and less hassle,” he said.
Then there are many tourists who came with social visit passes but found work in service sectors such as massage parlours, prostitution and others the moment they entered the country.
Similar thing also happened with foreign students. They are registered with private universities or colleges to study, but they abused their student visa by working instead of studying. — DayakDaily