PUTRAJAYA, Feb 28 — The Immigration Department (JIM) conducted a total of 2,528 operations from January 1 to February 23, arresting 14,361 undocumented migrants, said its director-general Datuk Ruslin Jusoh.

He said that during the same period, 139 employers were arrested for various offences under the Immigration Act 1959/63, including the offence of employing and harbouring undocumented migrants.

“Even though we are implementing the Migrant Repatriation Programme (PRM) from March 1, the Immigration Department will continue to crack down on undocumented foreigners.

“It should be noted that JIM is not only targeting undocumented migrants, but also employers. There are some employers who want to avoid the process of hiring foreign workers because they do not want to pay the levy. This is wrong because we have laws that must be followed,” he said in a special interview with Bernama.

The PRM, which will be implemented from March 1 to Dec 31, is a programme that allows undocumented migrants to voluntarily return to their country of origin after meeting the conditions set by JIM.

This includes valid travel documents and a return ticket.

This year, JIM will fully focus on the 220 ‘hotspots’ across Malaysia that have been identified to conduct integrated operations with other law enforcement agencies.

Among the measures the department has taken to curb the influx of foreigners are inspections of businesses that employ foreign labour, wholesale markets and educational institutions that accept international students.

JIM has also tightened controls and inspections at the country’s borders. Foreign visitors entering Malaysia are also required to present a return ticket to their country of origin.

As for the data of active foreign workers in Malaysia up to February 15, Ruslin said there are a total of 2,123,049 foreign workers in Malaysia, with the highest number coming from Bangladesh at 786,795, followed by Indonesia (496,083), Nepal (367,498), Myanmar (163,324) and India (119,706).

In addition to these countries, Malaysia also allows the entry of foreign workers from other countries, including Cambodia, Vietnam, Pakistan and Turkmenistan. — Bernama