950 Pakistanis reside in Sarawak now

KUCHING: The state Immigration Department has disclosed that as of today there are 950 Pakistanis residing in Sarawak.

Of the figure, 298 are holders of employment passes, 522 (holders of student passes), 81 (holders of social visit passes or spouses), 17 (permanent residents), 26 holders of temporary employment work passes) and six are participants in Malaysia My Second Home Programme.

State Immigration director Datuk Ken Leben said a Pakistani citizen, who is married to a Sarawakian, would be issued with a yearly Social Visit Pass subject to immigration rules and procedures.

Likewise, a Pakistani student would be issued a student pass if he/she fulfills all the requirements stipulated in the guideline, he said.

Ken said the state government had a policy on Pakistanis who are given employment pass extensions of six months. They must comply with immigration rules and regulations.

Since 2015, there were no new approval of employment passes, he said.

Recently, according to him, the department nabbed eight pass-less Pakistanis during raids here and in Samarahan. They were arrested during an ongoing operation throughout the state.

According to Ken, a citizen of Pakistan intending to visit Malaysia requires a visa on his arrival, adding that a visa such as the eVisa type could be applied for online or through the Malaysian missions abroad.

He said the eVisa allowed the holders to stay for a maximum of 30 days on each visit. No extension of stay is allowed.

Upon arrival at Sarawak entry checkpoints it is required of them to produce the following:

  1. Valid passports with endorsements of entry into Malaysia (permission to remain in Sarawak based on the balance of social visit passes issued at KLIA/KLIA2),
  2. Sufficient funds in the form of cash, Traveller’s Cheque, Debit or Credit Cards to cover their expenses during their stay in Sarawak,
  3. Confirmed return flight tickets,
  4. Proof of accommodation,

(Note: Visitors listed in immigration blacklist will be denied entry.)

“An eVisa holder is not allowed to apply for any other type of pass apart from the Social Visit Pass. If he/she stays beyond the period stated in the pass, he/she will be fined and his/her entry into Malaysia in future may be denied for a certain period of time,” he said.

Ken said the department was always mindful and continued to carry out daily enforcement operations in sectors which always employ foreign workers, namely, plantations, construction, manufacturing and service sectors.

On a separate issue, Ken said as at last March 18, the department had arrested 641 illegal immigrants for committing various offences under the Immigration Act 1959/63; Passports Act, 1966; Immigration Regulations, 1963; and other subsidiary rules.

“For the whole of 2017, 2,904 were arrested while last year 1,862 aliens were arrested,” he said.

They were arrested for illegal entry into the state, overstaying, abuse of Visit Passes, abuse of Work Passes and altered or forged endorsement.

Ken said the department had taken various measures to curb the presence of illegal immigrants in the state.

They include setting a “Quick Response Team” to deal with any complaint or report of illegal immigrants.

The unit would be immediately deployed to do observation work, inspection and arrest if necessary, and do analysis reports for further action.

On another note, Ken said the department appreciated the effort made by the public at large who lodged complaints, suggestions and criticisms regarding the presence of illegal immigrants in Sarawak.

However, since not all foreigners are illegal immigrants, the department would be much obliged if the public could furnish the information for verification.