: It is cheaper for employers to re-employ illegal immigrants under the Rehiring Programme than to get new workers legally, said Home Ministry (KDN) Secretary-General Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim.
He said under the programme which began today, employers were required to pay up to RM4,000 including levy for each foreign worker, compared to more than RM10,000 to get per new foreign worker legally.
"It must be understood that this cost involves several processes including dealing with the embassies.
"If the employer registers (the illegal workers), at least they know the workers and their abilities, compared to getting new foreign workers at high cost but not knowing if these workers can do the work or not," he told a media conference here today.
Under the programme, for each illegal foreign worker registered, the employer must pay a registration fee of RM800, a fine for having illegal workers (RM500), Temporary Special Visit Pass (RM60), processing fees (RM125) and service charge (RM400) as well as levies based on the employment sector.
Alwi said employers should not be afraid to come forward to register their illegal workers under the programme as they would not face any legal action although they had hired illegal foreign workers.
"They (the foreign workers) are already here and this programme is a move to ensure that they have valid documents, so we ask the employers to help the government address arising issues such as security," he said.
Asked to comment on the statement by the Malaysian Employers' Federation that there was no need to bring in 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers for the local market, Alwi said last year the ministry received 352,981 applications from employers for foreign workers.
He said on average, there were between 350,000 to 500,000 applications each year from employers to meet the needs of sectors not popular with locals like the plantation, manufacturing and construction sectors.
"I do not know if the statement was made without looking at the needs of industry, but we have the records. The busiest division in the KDN is the Foreign Workers Management Division which deals with about 400 individuals each day," he said.