Myanmar to bring home 10,000 illegal workers from Malaysia

The government is negotiating for the return of some 10,000 illegal Myanmar workers in Malaysia, including 3000 who are hoping to return after serving prison time.

U Soe Han, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the ministry has asked the Malaysian ambassador for his government to show leniency to the workers who are ready to be repatriated.

“We have requested reduced fines, in particular, and to allow them to be deported to their home country,” he said. “We will know this week,” he said.

The Malaysian Foreign Ministry has compiled a list of some 7000 undocumented Myanmar nationals in Malaysia and 3000 who are in prison for being undocumented aliens.

As of July 9, some 7142 migrant workers who had been in Malaysia with official documents had been brought back to the country, the government said.

Aid groups said there are an estimated 500,000 documented and illegal Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia.

Myanmar has been working for the repatriation of tens of thousands of its migrant workers who lost their jobs in host countries due to COVID-19.

Thailand is the main destination of Myanmar migrant workers. The International Office of Migration said an estimated 2.3 million Myanmar nationals work in Thailand.

Myanmar has an estimated 4 million people working abroad. In 2019, about 305,000 people left the country to look for work.

While it was determined to bring its migrant workers home, the government has imposed strict protocols on those who are returning from abroad to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including a 14-day quarantine.

Out of 149 new COVID-19 patients in the country, 143 were returnees.

Among the latest Myanmar citizens to test positive for the disease was one returning from the United Kingdom and three who returned from India, said the Health and Sports Ministry.

Myanmar has 331 cases, six deaths and 261 recoveries from COVID-19.

Written by Htoo Thant
Source: Myanmar Times
Published on 13 July 2020

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