New Delhi seeks amnesty for undocumented workers in Malaysia


New Delhi • India has sought amnesty for its illegal workers in Malaysia so that they can either regularise their stay or return home, Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran (picture) said.

The matter came up for discussion during a meeting between Kulasegaran and India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Monday.

Kulasegaran said he had informed the Indian minister that an independent committee is studying various issues related to foreign workers in the country and after it submits its report, Malaysia will look at “what best can be done” about the undocumented workers from India. On the issue of amnesty, Kulasegaran said: “We have no objection to that.”

There are some 150,000 Indian workers in Malaysia, but the minister didn’t give an estimate about the number of those without proper documentation.

Malaysia and India are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on migrant labour by January, Kulasegaran said.

The minister, during his meeting with Sushma, also raised the issue of the steep hike in Indian visa fee for Malaysian visitors.

He proposed that India allow visa-free entry for two weeks to Malaysians visiting “principally for spiritual and religious” purposes.

“The minister has agreed to consider it,” Kulasegaran said.

He said with Malaysia being home to the largest Indian diaspora, numbering more than two million and the majority adhering to the Hindu faith, such a move could significantly boost tourism to India. — Bernama