See More on Facebook

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Nearly 20,000 illegal Nepali workers in Malaysia can return home

Local authorities announce general amnesty.


Written by

Updated: July 21, 2019

Thousands of Nepali migrant workers, who have violated immigration rules in Malaysia and are liable to legal action, will be able to return home because the Malaysian government has announced a general amnesty scheme for undocumented foreigners.

The five-month-long amnesty scheme—called Program Back for Good—will provide illegal foreigners, including thousands of Nepali workers, an opportunity to return to their respective home countries before the Malaysian government cracks down on them and makes arrests.

An estimated 15,000-20,000 Nepali migrant workers who are overstaying their visit or are living without valid documents in Malaysia can make use of the latest amnesty.

“There is no exact data on the number of Nepali workers who have overstayed in Malaysia; however, this amnesty is a good opportunity for them to utilise the scheme and return to Nepal,” Maheshwar Mani Tripathi, second secretary at the Embassy of Nepal in Malaysia, told the Post over the phone. “We encourage them to take this amnesty and return home.”

As per Malaysian rules, foreign workers with expired visas and those absconding from their original employers and working elsewhere without valid work permits are termed illegal.

The amnesty will be applicable from August 1 to December 31.

To avail of the scheme, undocumented foreigners will have to pay Malaysian Ringgit 700 (equivalent Rs18, 737) in fine and get the special exit pass from the Malaysian Immigration Department.

Nepali workers without any valid documents or passports will have to first get the one-way travel document from the Nepal Embassy after paying Ringgit 160. “The embassy will issue the travel document, but the worker will have to bear the airfare cost themselves,” added Tripathi.

In the past, the Malaysian authorities had launched a massive crackdown on illegal foreigners in the country. Hundreds of Nepali workers had been arrested from various parts of the country. Over the years, Malaysia has remained one of the top destinations for Nepali migrant workers. However, workers turning undocumented had been a cause of concern for the embassy and the employers that hire workers.

According to the Malaysian Immigration Department statistics, there were 385,000 documented Nepali workers as of July 2018. The department had also estimated more than 1.7 million foreigners legally working in Malaysia during the same period.

“There is no third party or outsourcing company involved this time. The immigration department will set up 80 counters across the country where applicants can register for repatriation under the amnesty,” Tripathi said.

The Malaysian government had iterated on many occasions in the past that there would not be another similar amnesty for expatriates violating the country’s immigration laws after the previous amnesty expired in July last year.

During the previous Voluntary Deportation Programme, also called 3-plus-1 programme, Malaysia had given options to illegal immigrants to either avoid legal actions by choosing to return to their home countries or obtain legal status through the rehiring programme.

The amnesty had also permitted undocumented workers, who could not rejoin their workplace or failed to find a new employer, to leave the country by August 30 last year without facing any legal actions. This year, however, illegal immigrants will be blacklisted and barred from entering Malaysia for an indefinite period.

Thousands of Nepali workers had availed the amnesty last year. According to the Nepal Embassy, nearly 15,000 illegal Nepali workers had used the amnesty last year. The Malaysian government could repatriate a total of 840,000 illegal immigrants during the last year’s amnesty.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Kathmandu Post
About the Author: The Kathmandu Post was Nepal’s first privately owned English broadsheet daily and is currently the country's leading English-language newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Current affairs, Diplomacy

China opposes passage of HK bill by US Senate

The bill criticizes the response to protesters in Hong Kong. China firmly opposes the passage of a Hong Kong-related bill by the United States Senate, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday, urging the US side to stop pushing the bill to become law and stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs. Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the remarks in an online statement after the US Senate passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on Tuesday. Noting the act ignores facts and truth, applies double standards and blatantly interferes in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs, Geng said it is in serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations. China condemns and firmly opposes it, he said, adding that the country will take strong countermeasures to defend national sovereignty, security and development interests if the


By China Daily
November 21, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Trade disputes between Korea and Japan show no sign of abating

President Moon Jae-in blames Japan’s export controls for GSOMIA withdrawal. Escalating trade tension between South Korea and Japan shows no sign of abating as two rounds of bilateral talks to resolve disputes triggered by Japan’s export curbs could not reach common ground. On Tuesday, the two neighboring nations held the second round of talks at the World Trade Organization in Geneva after failing to reach a consensus at the first consultations on Oct. 11. “During two rounds of six-hour intensive consultations, the two nations became more aware of each other’s measures and positions in the process. But we don’t think the two sides have changed their positions,” Chung Hae-kwan, director general in charge of legal affairs at the Trade Ministry, told reporters at a press briefing in Geneva following a meeting with his Japanese counterparts on Tuesday. “We pointed out that Japan’s exp


By The Korea Herald
November 21, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

PM Imran welcomes release of 2 hostages by Taliban in Afghanistan

Pakistan has stakes in any high level talks between the Taliban and the United States. The Taliban insurgents released two Western hostages — Kevin King from the United States and Timothy Weeks from Australia — on Tuesday in a prisoner exchange deal with the Afghan government, two Afghan officials said. “This morning at around 10am two American University professors were released in Nawbahar district of Zabul province. They were flown out of Zabul by American helicopters,” a local police source said. “The two professors are safely freed and are being taken care of now,” one of the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. The American and Australian were exchanged with three Taliban leaders, including key militant figure Anas Haqqani, added Reuters. Three Taliban sources in the province also confirmed the release. There was, h


By Dawn
November 20, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Beijing’s comments on HK court decision could signal direct intervention

Beijing has rejected a Hong Kong court decision. China has firmly rejected the Hong Kong High Court’s decision to overturn a controversial mask ban aimed at quelling violent protests, prompting experts to say the central government could soon act to ensure its constitutional authority over Hong Kong is not challenged. China’s Parliament and Cabinet both issued statements early on Tuesday (Nov 19) morning that the ruling challenged the authority of both the Hong Kong authorities and the central government. The response came a day after the city’s High Court ruled that th


By The Straits Times
November 20, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

N. Korea rejects nuclear talks before US withdraws hostile policy

The US and South Korea have suspended a joint air drill to appease Pyongyang. North Korea said Tuesday it has no interest in denuclearization negotiations with the United States unless Washington drops its “hostile” policy. Kim Yong-chol, who formerly led the negotiations as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s counterpart, issued the statement in response to Sunday’s decision by South Korea and the US to postpone military exercises in support of diplomatic efforts to denuclearize the North. “What we are demanding from the US is that it withdraw from combined military exercises with South Korea or completely stop the exercises,” Kim, a vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, said in the statement carried by the North’s Korean Central News Agency. “Postponing the combined military exercises does not guarantee peace


By Cod Satrusayang
November 19, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

US-Thai defence treaty looks to cement alliance in 21st century

Thailand is the US’ oldest treaty ally in Southeast Asia. Thailand and the United States have signed a defence treaty to enable stability, prosperity and sustainability in the Indo-Pacific region “in support of an inclusive and rules-based international order”. The US-Thailand Joint Vision Statement 2020 advances the 2018 US National Defence Strategy and Thailand’s 20-Year National Strategy objectives “by reaffirming our shared commitment to the long-standing defence alliance”, according to a statement issued by the US embassy in Bangkok on Sunday. “It strengthens the special relationship with a focus on the long-term advancement of mutual interests and shared values while also promoting security cooperation capable of deterring or acting decisively to meet the shared challenges of the future”, the statement added. Academics said the move reaffirmed US policy o


By The Nation (Thailand)
November 18, 2019