Ban lifted on going to Malaysia for work

Myanmar has lifted a six-month ban on sending workers to Malaysia, a senior labour official said, as the country struggles with influx of tens of thousands of returning migrants from neighbouring Thailand.

Myanmar migrant workers flocked in droves to the border area of Myawady Township during the past week to avoid the neighbouring kingdom’s June 23 executive decree that imposed harsher punishments on illegal migrant workers.

“We have now allowed the sending workers to Malaysia” U Myo Aung, permanent secretary of Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population told The Myanmar Times on Tuesday.

Officials from the ministry informed the Myanmar Oversea Employment Agencies Federation (MOEAF) on June 29 that it can send about 8000 workers who have already got the calling visa from the Malaysia employers and that it could process new applications for workers who want to go to Malaysia.

Ministry officials also promised to allow workers who are holding visit-passport (PV) to go to Malaysia without changing the job-passport (PJ).

The MOEAF said it also made arrangements with the Ministry of Home Affairs to waive the penalty of K40,000 on the workers who failed to change their PV passports to PJ passports on time.

“Now, I have to make the smart cards (labour card). I am among the second batch of workers going to Malaysia,” said Ko Min Ko, who had waited for about six months to go to Malaysia.

An official from the MOEAF told The Myanmar Times that now agencies are running to make the labour smart cards and to apply visas for the workers they will send in the coming weeks.

“We can send our workers next week. Some workers need to attend the training to be issued the certificates. During the workers’ ban, a lot of workers decided to go to other countries and some delayed their plans to work abroad,” the agency official said.

Myanmar banned the sending workers to Malaysia on December 6, 2016 after Kuala Lumpur accused Myanmar of perpetrating violence against the Muslim people in Rakhine in the western part of Myanmar.

The Malaysian government launched crackdown against illegal migrants and over hundreds of Myanmar migrant workers and a lot of foreigner migrants have been arrested, according to Malaysia-based Myanmar migrant activist groups.

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