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Burma, Malaysia Reach Agreement on Migrant Workers

  • VOA News

Burma has reached an agreement with Malaysia on the repatriation of hundreds of migrant workers who are facing a crackdown by Kuala Lumpur.

After returning to Rangoon Thursday, Burmese Labor Minister Aye Myint told reporters that both sides have agreed that all Burmese citizens can return home without fearing prosecution.

"Some people went there without a job offer or any official document, so they cannot work over there. We will call them back officially. They will not be fined as before or have to face any charges for leaving the country illegally," said Myint.

However, he said the migrants will have to find a way to pay for their own trips home.

Thousands of migrant workers have been caught up in a Malaysian crackdown on those inside the country illegally. Indonesian, Burmese, Bangladesh and Nepalese nationals made up most of those detained.

Officials say more than 400,000 immigrants could be affected by the operation. Many of them hold low-paying construction and plantation jobs, while others work as domestic helpers or in massage parlors.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.