According to Malaysian Digest, director-general of immigration Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali has urged employers to immediately register their illegal foreign workers to obtain the temporary enforcement card (E-card) or face severe enforcement action.

He added that the period for registration of these workers would end on 30 June.

Mustafar said only 97,469 E-cards had been issued between 15 Feb and 31 May this year, and that only 17,182 employers had made the necessary applications at the Immigration Department.

Speaking to Bernama, he commented: “This is far from the target. We know that between 400,000 and 500,000 illegal foreign workers have yet to have their proper papers, have overstayed, violated employment terms and such. These people have to turn up at the Immigration offices.

“I am warning employers. The Immigration Department has given sufficient time and the period for the registration will not be extended,” he said.

Mustafar further said that from 1 July, the immigration authorities would go after foreign workers without the E-card and take severe action against the employers who failed to register these employees.

Furthermore, a team had been set up at the department to carry out enforcement and act against the employers.

“We will check on and investigate companies which employ foreign workers. The trend is for employers to engage illegal foreign workers because they can be paid wages far lower than that paid to Malaysians,” said Mustafar.

The E-card programme is aimed at meeting the demand for foreign workers from employers to address labour shortages in several key economic sectors in Peninsular Malaysia. The card is valid up to 15 Feb next year.

Mustafar said 24,068 illegal immigrants had been deported in operations carried out from early this year up to 1 June .

He also said that 566 employers and 19,968 illegal foreign workers were detained in 6,478 operations carried out nationwide during the same period.

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