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Malaysia freezes migrant labor from Bangladesh until 22,000 given visas show up for work

Malaysia freezes migrant labor from Bangladesh until 22,000 given visas show up for work

Malaysia froze recruitment of workers from Bangladesh _ until recently barred due to their reputed attractiveness to local women _ until the status is resolved for 22,000 who were granted visas but have not shown up for work, news reports said Thursday.
Malaysia banned Bangladeshi workers entirely two years ago, after it said they were creating social problems by entering into romantic liaisons with local women.
The ban was lifted in August, reportedly because of a labor shortage.
Home Minister Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said his ministry had approved applications from about 22,000 Bangladeshis since Aug. 1, but that none of them have yet registered or reported for work with Malaysian employers, the New Straits Times and the national Bernama news agency reported Thursday.
Radzi was quoted as saying the permits will be canceled unless the Bangladeshis turn up for work by Oct. 20.
He said the freeze may be lifted once the status of the absent 22,000 workers is resolved, and that some employment agents may be cheating Bangladeshis, the reports said.
Radzi and his aides could not immediately be reached for further details.
Malaysia, one of Southeast Asia's most vibrant economies, has about a million legal foreign laborers working on its plantations and at its construction sites, factories and other industries. Tens of thousands more work without valid permits, trying to make a better living and escape poverty in their homelands.