Malaysia to Launch Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants on July 1

Posted June 9th, 2011 at 6:15 am (UTC-5)
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Malaysian officials say they are set to go ahead on July 1 with an amnesty program aimed at an estimated 2 million illegal immigrants in the country.

Deputy Home Minister Lee Chee Leong announced the starting date Thursday, saying the government will impose a temporary freeze on the recruitment of new foreign workers at that time.

The amnesty, approved by the cabinet this week, is being billed as the largest ever undertaken by Malaysia, which has become a magnet for legal and illegal foreign workers from countries including Indonesia, India and Burma.

The government says there are 1.9 million foreign workers in the country legally and an estimated 2 million more who are undocumented.

Under the amnesty, those who come forward will be documented and tracked through biometric data as they seek legal employment. Those who fail to find jobs will be sent home.