MALAYSIA: The Immigration Department of Malaysia (JIM) has recently taken steps to remind foreign workers about the legal implications of marrying a Malaysian while holding a temporary foreign worker permit, known as PLKS.
They have issued a warning, emphasizing the potential consequences of non-compliance with the law in such situations.
In a Facebook post on 4 November, JIM explicitly highlighted the risks faced by foreign workers who choose to marry Malaysians while still in possession of a PLKS.
Deportation consequences for foreign workers marrying Malaysians
Foreign workers holding a Temporary Work Visit Pass (PLKS) in this country are subject to a strict regulation that prohibits them from marrying local citizens during the duration of their pass.
This regulation is enforced in accordance with the Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act 155), and any failure to comply with it leads to the automatic cancellation of their work permit and their immediate expulsion from the country.
The enforcement of this regulation presents a complex situation, especially for local people, particularly women, who may risk abandonment by their foreign partners if they choose to marry a PLKS holder, as this would be in violation of the country’s immigration laws.
The PLKS, which serves as a work permit for foreign workers in seven designated sectors, is granted for periods ranging from one to ten years, as determined by the government and denoted in the individual’s passport.
The department’s advisory also includes information regarding the validity of these marriages, with variations depending on whether the couple involved are Muslim or non-Muslim.
For couples adhering to the Muslim faith and meeting all the criteria stipulated by Islamic laws, their union will still be considered valid.
However, it’s important to note that the PLKS holder in such a marriage will face deportation as a consequence of the Immigration Act violation.
This complicates the process of divorce, as it must be pursued through the Syariah Court, which deals with matters concerning Islamic law.
In contrast, for non-Muslim couples, the situation is different.
Their marriage will be deregistered and dissolved by the High Court, following legal procedures specific to non-Muslim unions.
Not intending to halt Malaysians from marrying foreign nationals
PLKS holders who wish to marry foreign spouses residing or working in Malaysia are required to seek guidance from their respective embassies, as the process is fraught with complexities and legal ramifications.
Recognizing these challenges, the Director-General of JIM, Datuk Ruslin Jusoh, has expressed the need for a collaborative engagement session with the state’s religious authorities to address the marriage conditions for both local and foreign couples, particularly PLKS holders.
The engagement session seeks to establish standardized guidelines and clear standard operating procedures for marriage applications involving foreign and local couples.
It is essential to note that immigration authorities can only object to a marriage application if it contravenes the prescribed act.
Immigration, however, lacks the authority to dissolve marriages, whether between local couples or PLKS holders.
In the event of a violation of the Immigration Act, the authorities’ recourse is to terminate the permit immediately and deport the foreign individuals involved to their country of origin.
Online users support immigration’s strict stance on foreign workers married to Malaysians
In the comment section of related posts, a significant number of Malaysians express their support for the Immigration’s decisive measures against temporary workers who have entered into marriages with Malaysian citizens.
One concerned netizen highlighted the need for immigration authorities to take decisive action against foreign nationals who enter into marriages with Malaysian residents for business purposes, particularly when they lack a valid residence permit.
They emphasized the importance of stringent measures in such cases.
Other netizens brought up the intricacies of the process. They pointed out that if a foreign citizen marries a local resident using a work permit, this is not permissible.
In such situations, religious officials would request to inspect the traveler’s passport rather than their work permit.
They also noted that the cancellation of a temporary work permit is a complex and intricate procedure.
Furthermore, several netizens shared their observations, noting that a considerable number of foreign nationals had come to work in Malaysia, subsequently marrying Malaysian women as a means to reside in the country and gain authorization for business activities in Malaysia.
These comments shed light on the challenges and concerns associated with such marriages for immigration and business purposes.
Foreign men exploited marriages with Malaysian women to establish businesses in the country
As reported by Harian Metro in 2019, there is a noteworthy trend among foreign men, particularly Pakistanis, who seem inclined to choose local women as life partners, even when the women are old enough to stay in the country and establish businesses.
This pattern has prompted the state Immigration Department to take notice and register several such marriages involving local women and foreign nationals.
The Director of the Kelantan Immigration Department, Azhar Abdul Hamid, revealed that in 2018, his department took action by canceling 15 applications submitted by foreigners.
The grounds for cancellation were that these individuals had used their local wives as a means to open and operate businesses in the country.
The government and immigration authorities are actively monitoring and addressing these cases to ensure the legitimacy of such partnerships and the compliance with immigration regulations.