Saturday, March 3, 2012

Refugees fear mass deportation

Patrick Lee | February 22, 2012
They fear being caught up in the impending crackdown on illegal workers.

PETALING JAYA: Refugees and asylum seekers have been allegedly sacked by their bosses with the introduction of the 6P amnesty programme, and they fear an impending crackdown.

Myanmarese asylum seeker Patrick Sang claimed that local employers didn’t want to go through the trouble of registering this group with the Immigration Department.

“Since the news of the major crackdowns and accompanying measures, many of the refugees and asylum seekers and their families have been fired by their bosses.”

“They lost their jobs…because employers didn’t register them under the 6P programme,” he told reporters today at Tenaganita’s office.

Sang was referring to the government’s 6P amnesty programme which started last June to legalise illegal foreign workers.

Thus far, only 379,020 illegal foreign workers have been legalised by the Immigration Department.

One million undocumented individuals, however, have either no work permits or have seen them rejected thus far.

A total of 94,856 migrants have been deported to their home countries since the programme’s inception.

Refugees and asylum seekers at risk

Some have speculated that the programme, which has been extended to April 10, will see a crackdown on migrant workers who have not yet been legalised by the government.

Refugees and asylum seekers are especially at risk, as they are not recognised as such in Malaysia. Instead, they are classified by the government as undocumented individuals.

They are especially concerned with the federal government boasting a four-million-enforcement-agent deployment against illegals after programme’s deadline.

This, according to Sang, was a very real fear for asylum seekers like him who face detention and deportation.
“It seem like there’s going to be huge crackdown (after April 10). Why don’t they just postpone the crackdown? If they want to exercise it, do it after all the refugees and asylum seekers are recognised.”

“If the registration for the refugee does not take place before April 10, all the refugees and asylum seekers are going to be in big trouble.”

“It heightens our fear. (If they register us) we don’t have to live with this fear daily,” he said.

Even a registration in March for nearly 100,000 refugees would be too late, Sang added. He said that it would take two or three months to fully register and legalise an individual.

Tenaganita executive director Irene Fernandez called for an immediate halt on the impending crackdown on migrants and refugees.

She also asked for migrant and refugee detainees to be released, as well as the government to stop deporting them.

Criticising the 6P programme, Fernandez said that a systematic plan was needed to address the “structural flaws” in the country’s migration system.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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