Myanmar recruiters reportedly will no longer be sending migrant workers to Malaysia to protest against the almost tenfold increase in visa fee, from US$6 (RM26) to US$57 (RM250) which came into effect recently.
The Myanmar Times quoted Mohd Fadzli Kadir, project director of a one-stop centre set up to handle visa applications under the new system in Malaysia, as saying that the Malaysian government was unlikely to bow to public pressure from Myanmar’s recruiters.
“The scheme has been approved by the (Malaysian) government. They will not lower the charges. If the agencies want to stop sending workers, that’s up to them.
“Any decision on visa fees also involves Malaysia’s other neighbours, including Indonesia, Bangladesh, India and China,” he was reported as saying.
The one-stop centre is apparently the only way to legally bring in Myanmar labourers.
The Myanmar Times added that according to U Thein Than, chairman of Diamond Palace, a Myanmar recruitment firm acting as the sole service provider for the one-stop visa application process, his company has no say on the application fee.
“However, I can say that the application process will be much easier and applicants can be sure of being admitted and not sent back on suspicion that the visa is fake.”
He added that the new scheme would make it cheaper to recruit migrant workers from Myanmar, as the overall cost would drop from US$850 (RM3,720) to about US$650 (RM2,840).
“The new scheme would lead to a reduction of about US$200 (RM873) in the overall cost of sending a worker to Malaysia, from US$850 (RM3,720) to about US$650 (RM2,840).
“The centre could put workers directly in touch with Malaysian employers, eliminating the need for Malaysian brokers and their associated fees.”
He also noted that Malaysian authorities were planning to bring more than 200,000 workers, as requested by Malaysian employers.