The Immigration Department will conduct an immediate enforcement operation at the stroke of midnight to catch illegal immigrants, following the E-Kad (enforcement card) registration deadline, reports The Star Online, Malaysia.
During a check on the final day of the registration at the department’s headquarters here on Friday, Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali expressed his frustration at the “last minute culture” by employers of foreign workers.
"As you can see, there’s a huge crowd of employers and workers rushing to register for the E-Kad, not just at this location but also at other Immigration offices in the country," said Mustafar.
He added that the department had announced in February that it had a target of 400,000 to 600,000 E-Kad registrations but had only registered 140,746 cards as of June.
"As of now, only 23% of the target has been achieved. Are we disappointed? Of course we are. We have given ample opportunity for employers to register illegal workers under them," said Mustafar.
“But there will be no extension and after midnight, we will conduct a nationwide operations to catch illegals," he added.
He said that employers should not blame the department for the raids as it has done its best to facilitate applications.
“We have done our best to facilitate applications, but employers chose to be stubborn,” said Mustafar at a press conference on Friday.
The Immigration headquarters here was packed to the brim with workers queuing up all the way with lines extending outside the hall where the registration is being done.
Mustafar said he expects that his staff will have to work till the wee hours of the morning to settle all the registrations.
The E-Kad, which was launched on Feb 15 this year, functions as a temporary confirmation of employment for illegal workers, which replaces valid travel documents from their respective countries.
The card is given for free to employees, and is valid until Feb 15, 2018. This allows employers ample time to complete the process of registering their illegal workers.