PUTRAJAYA: Illegal immigrants who fail to register and legalise themselves under the current amnesty period will risk being detained under a major enforcement exercise that is scheduled to start in November.
However, Home Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Mahmood Adam said that under the amnesty programme, the Government will guarantee that illegal immigrants would not be arrested if they come out and register themselves.
He said to date, 1.8 million legal and illegal workers have registered until the close of the registration on Thursday, with 885,156 being the legal workers.
It is estimated that there are at least 1.5 million illegal foreign workers in the country.
“It (registration exercise) should be seen as the last opportunity for them (illegal immigrants to be legalised) before the Government mounts a major enforcement operation in November,” he said.
Mahmood also announced in a statement yesterday that the deadline for biometric registration of illegal foreign workers under the 6P amnesty programme had been extended by a week to Aug 21.
He also called on state authorities, government agencies and all community leaders in districts, sub-districts and villages to come up with a good mechanism to convince the illegal immigrants in their areas to come out and register.
“The main priority is to convince them (the illegals) of the Government's guarantee that they will not be arrested and it should be seen as the last opportunity for them before the Government mounts the major enforcement operation in November,” he said.
Mahmood said the decision to extend the deadline was made following Thursday's call by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein for the 6P Implementation Committee to consider extending the registration period.
He said the Government had also decided that every illegal immigrant who registered through an agent should refer and use their services again for the amnesty period scheduled for mid-September.
The 6P programme entails registration, legalising, amnesty, monitoring, enforcement and deportation of illegal immigrants.
The biggest number of workers registered were Indonesians, followed by Bangladeshis, Myanmar, Indians, Nepalese, Filipinos, Cambodians, Pakistanis, Vietnamese, Thais, Sri Lankans, Chinese and others.