Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) wait outside before boarding a flight | REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Filipinos are advised to carry their legal documents at all times following the end of Malaysia’s amnesty program for undocumented workers on Thursday (August 30).
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on its website issued an advisory following an announcement that Malaysian authorities will launch a nationwide immigration crackdown as early as Friday (August 31) and that the Voluntary Deportation Program will no longer be extended.
“We are reminding our kababayans in Malaysia, particularly those without legal immigration status, that the amnesty program ends today (August 30). In view of this, we request our kababayans to exercise due prudence and to ensure they carry their legal documents at all times,” said Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Charles Jose.
Ambassador Jose assured that the Embassy is ready to provide assistance to Filipinos who will be affected by the crackdown.
Since the amnesty program was announced in 2016, Jose said the embassy has assisted a total of 5,844 Filipinos, though the number is only less than 1 percent of the estimated 400,000 undocumented Filipinos working and staying in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Malacañang encourages Filipino illegal immigrants in Malaysia to return home to the Philippines rather than being detained.
“Hinihikayat natin ang ating mga mamamayan na umuwi na kayo dito sa Pilipinas dahil alam po natin na pag nahuli kayo at illegal kayo, may kulong sa pagiging illegal migrant diyan sa Malaysia” – Marje Pelayo