Thursday, October 10, 2013

Undocumented Myanmar workers in Malaysia allowed to return home without being charged

Myanmar Labour Minister said he has reached an agreement with Malaysian authorities for the undocumented Myanmar workers in Malaysia to be allowed to return home without being charged.

Mr. Aye Myint, Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security, and other senior officials went to Malaysia between September 9 and 12 to discuss the issue of illegal Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia. They held a press conference on their arrival in Yangon on September 12.

“Our main concern is the undocumented Myanmar workers. For those who want to work there legally, we will issue official documents to them. Next, we have negotiated for the runaway workers who are no longer needed by their employers, and the kids at the [detention] centres not to be charged under the Malaysian laws,” said Aye Myint at the press conference.

There are over 1000 Myanmar migrant workers who are waiting to return home. Previously, each undocumented worker was charged 400 Malaysia Ringgits under the Malaysian law.

Meanwhile, Myanmar migrant workers who will return home will be required to undergo verification tests that involve using bio-metric system to confirm if they are actual Myanmar nationals, according to the minister.

“Fingerprints of all the ten fingers will be taken from those who will return to Myanmar. Iris scans will also be carried out. It is important to confirm that they are Myanmar nationals. After we have collected the data in this way, they will be sent to the Immigration Department in Myanmar, and verifications will be made. Then, they will be able to come back home,” said Minister Aye Myint.

There are over 250,000 Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia. Among them, over 110,000 are undocumented workers, and some 8000 of them are holding UNHCR refugee cards, Aye Myint said.

Since the bouts of violent attacks on Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia a few months ago, hundreds of Myanmar nationals have been returning home every month.