Malaysia eases entry ban for Bangladeshis | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 12, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:09 AM, September 12, 2020

Malaysia eases entry ban for Bangladeshis

Many expatriates hope to return to work soon amid the pandemic

Malaysia's decision to lift the travel ban on Bangladesh and 22 other countries will reduce the hurdles for many Bangladeshis returning to their workplaces in that country.

The expatriates must be approved by the Malaysian Immigration Department before they enter the country.

Besides, their application for entry must be accompanied by a supporting letter from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority or agencies concerned, regional media reports quoted Security Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob as saying.

Malaysia authorities on Thursday announced that they will allow entry of expatriates and holders of professional visit pass from the 23 countries, reversing its earlier move that came into effect on Monday, reports The Straits Times of Singapore, adding that the move was criticised by employers.

To curb the spread of Covid-19, Malaysia had announced that people from countries with over 150,000 cases would be barred from entering, it says.

Malaysian employers complained that the government should continue to allow expatriates and professional pass-holders to come in as their technical skills are needed by the economy.

Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Thursday that a special cabinet committee has decided to slightly relax the regulation that was enforced from Monday.

Malaysia even imposed the temporary ban on those who are permanent residents, Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) pass-holders, and employment pass holders, said a notice of the High Commission of Malaysia in Bangladesh.

The ban was also imposed on residence pass holders, spouses or children to Malaysian citizens with long term visit pass, students, and visit-pass holders, according to the September 4 notice.

Malaysia is home to about 800,000 Bangladeshis, many of whom work in construction and plantation sectors as low-paid workers.

Many of these migrant workers came home before the coronavirus pandemic on vacation and later got stranded due to the air communications suspension between the two countries.

Now, they are waiting to return to their workplaces.

Shahadat Hossain, owner of Dynasty Travels Ltd, said many Bangladeshi wage earners who came home on vacation were waiting to fly back to Malaysia.

Besides, there are demands for visiting Malaysia, he told The Daily Star

Wage earner Anwar Hossain of Gazipur said he came home on January 16 on vacation and intended to fly back on March 20. But he is still waiting to return.

His employer promised that they would rehire him and help in the immigration process.

According to The Straits Times report, Ismail Sabri said the Malaysia government has also decided to allow permanent residents and foreign spouses of Malaysian citizens to enter the country.

But this group can make only a one-way journey into Malaysia and have to remain there.

Student pass-holders from the affected countries will also be allowed to enter.

"All categories mentioned must get approval from Immigration beforehand," he said.

The 23 countries mentioned in the last week's order are the US, Brazil, India, Russia, Peru, Columbia, South Africa, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Iran, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, France, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Iraq, the Philippines and Indonesia.


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