MANILA – The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs urged around 400,000 undocumented Filipinos living in Malaysia on Friday to join the voluntary deportation program offered by the Malaysian government before it ends on Aug. 30.
The DFA made the appeal in view of Malaysia’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants after suspending its foreign workers’ recruitment program on June 30.
“We appeal to our undocumented kababayan (citizens) in Malaysia to take this opportunity to be able to return to their loved ones in the Philippines without jail time or fines,” said the Philippine Ambassador to Kuala Lumpur Charles Jose in a statement.
Jose said the embassy will assist its nationals to join the voluntary repatriation program. They must pay RM300 ($75) and a RM100 exit fee.
“From January 2016 to June 2018, the Philippine Embassy has assisted roughly 50,000 Filipinos under this program by way of issuance of travel documents and the payment of exit fees and one-way airfare to the Philippines,” Jose pointed out.
On June 30, the Malaysian government suspended its recruitment program which allowed qualified undocumented foreign workers to apply for work permits and regularize their immigration status in the country.
Only 8,000 Filipinos, 2 percent of the estimated number of undocumented foreign workers in Malaysia, applied for the recruitment program, so many remain in the country without papers.
Around 10 million Filipinos are migrant workers abroad and send their remittances back home.