Several Sri Lankans have been reported to have flown to Malaysia on visit visas after being deceived about job opportunities in the country, the Ministry of Defence said.
The Ministry highlighted that an increasing number of Sri Lankans are arriving in Malaysia under visit visas with the belief that these visas could be converted to working visas.
The observation was made during the special press briefing from the National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (NAHTTF) of Sri Lanka, which was chaired by the Ministry of Defence.
The Ministry said it has been brought to the notice of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force that an increasing number of Sri Lankans are arriving in Malaysia under visit visas with the belief that these visas could be converted to working visas.
Due to such arrivals, Malaysian Immigration Authorities are taking stringent measures to scrutinize visit visa holders. About 20 Sri Lankans per week, who have been denied entry by the local authorities, are reportedly being deported directly from the airport, back to Sri Lanka.
Many persons that managed to get entry endorsed into Malaysia on a visit visa, have later found out that they have been duped by ‘job agents’ and they will be forced to work in harsh inhumane conditions with little pay and no labour rights, and thus become victims of human trafficking.
The Defence Ministry said it was further reported that the amnesty period granted for illegal immigrants to exit from Malaysia ended on 30th June 2022. Malaysian Law Enforcement Agencies are now engaged in continuous raids to apprehend foreigners without valid visas.
When apprehended, persons without valid visas will have to serve time in prison and upon being released they will be detained at a designated detention center, until such time that the arrangements are made to deport them at their own cost.
Therefore, the National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force of Sri Lanka advises the citizens of Sri Lanka that visit visas to Malaysia cannot be converted into work visas upon arrival and urges Sri Lankans who are seeking employment abroad to do so via legitimate and authentic avenues.
The Task Force earnestly requests you to please verify such opportunities received by you with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) prior to proceeding ahead with those.
All prospective migrants are hereby advised to use proper channels and register with the SLBFE before departing Sri Lanka. (NewsWire)