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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Easing of entry ban for Bangladeshis

We welcome the Malaysian government’s decision to lift the entry ban that was imposed on citizens of Bangladesh and 22 other countries. In an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country, the Malaysian government had earlier announced that people from countries with more than 150,000 Covid-19 cases would be barred from entering the country. The ban was imposed on residence pass holders, spouses or children to Malaysian citizens with long term visit passes, students and visit pass holders. A temporary ban was also imposed on permanent residents, Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) pass holders, and employment pass holders as well. The decision was criticised by Malaysian employers, who urged their government to continue to allow expatriates and professional pass holders to come in as their technical skills are needed for the economy.

Around 800,000 Bangladeshis live in Malaysia, many of whom work in construction and plantation sectors as low paid workers. Many of these workers came home on vacation before the outbreak of the pandemic and became stranded here as the pandemic got worse in the country. Although they have been eagerly waiting to return to their workplaces, they could not do so due to the travel ban imposed by their employer country. Now, as the Malaysian government has eased the entry ban, this is an opportunity for our workers to return to their workplaces.

However, our expatriate workers might face problems in submitting the documents required by the Malaysian authorities—they will be required to write an application for entry and will also need a supporting letter from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority or agencies concerned. They must also be approved by the Malaysian Immigration Department before they enter the country. Our expatriate welfare ministry and other agencies concerned must help them in submitting their documents properly and oversee the whole return process so that our workers are not exploited or harassed in any way. Also, before they submit their applications, their employers must assure them that they will rehire them and help them in the immigration process.

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