Nearly 600 Burmese migrants, who recently returned home from Malaysia after a string of attacks against Burmese nationals, have applied for new jobs through the government.
A spokesperson for the labour ministry told DVB that 577 people formally applied for jobs through the state agency between 19 and 25 June. It follows a government pledge to find jobs for hundreds of Burmese migrant workers, who signed up for repatriation earlier this month.
The vast majority applied immediately upon their return to Rangoon International Airport, where the ministry has set up a special “employment” desk for returning migrants. Others submitted applications by post.
“There are vacancies for labourers, drivers, office assistants and security positions,” said Maung Maung Kyaw from the Ministry of Labour’s Employment and Social Welfare office.
He added that ministry officials were meeting with business operators to expand job opportunities for returning migrants. “Our ministry has a responsibility to find jobs for those who have returned and we are working on that,” he said.
As many as 1,500 Burmese migrant workers living in Malaysia are currently in the process of obtaining the necessary documents to return home. It follows news that five Burmese nationals were brutally killed and six others injured in a string of attacks widely believed to have been carried out to avenge a recent spate of anti-Muslim violence in Burma.
The state-owned Myanmar Airways International is currently flying 190 migrants per week back to Burma, after offering a 50 percent discount on airfares in the wake of the violence. A number of prominent cronies, including Tay Za, have also offered to help the migrant population in Malaysia, including offering return flights and job opportunities back home.
But employment agencies say that business has suffered since the government announced a ban on sending migrants to work in Malaysia. Managing director Kyaw Win from the Rangoon Win Star Overseas Job Employment Agency told DVB that many workers were waiting to be shipped off to Malaysia under job contracts.
“Usually we have a good work flow but now we just have to sit and wait,” said Kyaw Win. “If they keep the suspension for long it will just lead to more illegal immigration, because some people just have to go [to Malaysia] and if they can’t go officially, then they will go illegally.”
According to statistics by the Burmese embassy in Kuala Lumpur, there are around 300,000 Burmese migrants working legally in Malaysia and around 30,000 working illegally.