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Problematic OFWs in Malaysia can still get help as amnesty ends

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Despite the bulletins on existing voluntary deportation for illegal immigrants in Malaysia, less than one percent of the total undocumented Filipinos were able to avail of the amnesty.

Citing data from the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said they have assisted at least 5,844 Filipinos since the program was announced in January 2016.

The number represents less than one percent of the estimated 400,000 undocumented Filipinos in Malaysia.

As Malaysia ends the program on August 30, affected Filipinos are facing the nationwide immigration crackdown, starting August 31.

Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Charles Jose assured that the embassy is ready to provide assistance to Filipinos who may be affected by the intensified immigration operations.

“We are reminding our kababayan in Malaysia, particularly those without legal immigration status, that the amnesty program ends today (August 30, 3018),” Jose said.

Ambassador Jose reminded Filipinos with legal documents to carry them at all times.

“We request our kababayan to exercise due prudence and to ensure they carry their legal documents at all times,” Jose said.

Since the program was implemented in 2016, Jose said the embassy has been assisting Filipino applicants by issuing travel documents free of charge, paying exit fees and airfare assistance, as needed, as well as issuing endorsements and even providing transportation to the Immigration Office in Putrajaya.

Jose said the embassy has also issued several public advisories to explain the requirements and procedures for the program.

On the last month of the amnesty program, the embassy facilitated the applications of undocumented Filipinos, such as allowing document applications by mail, and adjusting the security vetting procedures.

The embassy has also been issuing reminders on social media and through the Filipino community about the anticipated nationwide immigration crackdown beginning August 31.

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