Reuters 11th May 2023: Malaysia: migrants say they are in limbo after promised jobs fall through

South Asian migrant workers stand on a bridge in Sepang, Malaysia May 2, 2023. REUTERS/Hasnoor Hussain.

Reuters 11th May 2023: In Malaysia, migrants say they are in limbo after promised jobs fall through

By A. Ananthalakshmi and Rozanna Latiff.

Article originally posted by Reuters on May 11 2023.

Link –

KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 (Reuters) – Stranded without work for months, hundreds of South Asian migrants in Malaysia say they are losing hope after failing to find jobs promised to them by recruitment agents in exchange for thousands of dollars in fees.

At a students’ dormitory about 40 km (25 miles) from the capital, Kuala Lumpur, about 500 migrants – mostly young men from Nepal and Bangladesh who had arrived in Malaysia since December – spend their days in crowded rooms or at an open-air cafeteria.

They say they arrived in the country on a three-month work visa that was meant to be upgraded to a work permit, but never was. Because their legal status is unclear, they are afraid to leave the premises, the workers told Reuters at the facility where they are staying.

Many say recruitment agents took their passports and continue to promise them jobs.

“We are all depressed and helpless. We have already paid a huge amount for the job. How can I pay that back if I do not have a job?” a Nepali migrant at the dormitory told Reuters.

Andy Hall Commentary:

Myself and colleagues keep pushing to expose this awful situation of high-risk modern slavery that can lead to forced labour happening now in Malaysia.

1000s of South Asian workers are cheated, indebted and suffering due to unethical recruitment and unfair treatment both in source countries like Bangladesh and Nepal, and a sad situation when arriving in Malaysia.

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