Malaysia eases its immigration policy

Malaysia has softened its immigration policy to help ease a labour shortage of its own making, offering work permits to foreign labourers who have entered the country on tourist visas.

    Hundreds of Indonesians have returned to Malaysia as tourists since January

    More than 100,000 workers from neighbouring Indonesia alone have entered the country on tourist visas since January, an immigration department source has said.

    That was when Malaysia was gearing up for a massive crackdown on illegal labour.

    The crackdown followed an immigration amnesty, during which about 400,000 illegal foreign workers quit Malaysia in return for freedom from prosecution as illegal immigrants, but the exodus caused some acute shortages of unskilled labour.

    Mass return

    Many of those who left under the amnesty, mostly Indonesians, simply returned under a tourist visa to reclaim their old jobs.

    "For now, they can register with us and they will be accepted as legal workers so long as their fingerprints are in our system," Home Affairs Minister Azmi Khalid told reporters.

    Malaysia's immigration department also offered on Wednesday work permits to illegal workers who had overstayed their tourist visas, although only to people who left under the amnesty and returned.

    "I want to make clear however that only those who had registered their return during the amnesty will be given the privilege," Azmi said.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The Coming War on China

    The Coming War on China

    Journalist John Pilger on how the world's greatest military power, the US, may well be on the road to war with China.