Audit finds fraud in foreign worker visa system

The national audit report says a total of 1,164 workers were approved by unauthorised state Immigration officers.

PETALING JAYA: The National Audit Department has found false information recorded in the Immigration Department’s foreign worker system and “is of the view there has been fraud” in the system.

The Auditor-General, Nik Azman Nik Abdul Majid, said irregularities were found in procedures to approve the entry of foreign workers and collect levies.

Although only the Home Ministry could grant approvals and collect levy payments, “a total of 3,242 quotas for foreign workers were created and approved by unauthorised immigration officers in various divisions/immigration state offices. Out of this total, 21,378 PLKS (temporary employment pass) were issued and a total of RM24.55 million first time levy payment should have been collected by the Ministry of Home Affairs”.

“This false information was recorded in the immigration system to obtain temporary work visas for foreign workers,” he said.

Approvals were granted by Immigration Departments in 10 states, although these Immigration officers were not authorised to grant approvals and collect levy payments.

The Home Ministry had informed his department that the system had been compromised. “They said they had taken measures to blacklist the companies allegedly involved. Names of Immigration officers allegedly involved had been submitted to the police for investigation,” he said.

The Auditor-General said 146,372 foreign workers were arrested between 2016 and 2018 for various immigration offences.

The audit department had on Oct 25, 2018 joined the immigration department to raid a plastic processing factory in Bangi and arrested 26 foreign workers for allegedly misusing their work permits as well as working without a valid permit.

“The Home Ministry said from the October raid, five foreign workers and two of their employers were charged in Sepang Sessions Court under the Immigration Act.

“The workers were issued compound notices for RM7,500 while the employers were fined RM130,000 and RM6,000,” Azman said.