MALACCA: The practice of hiring foreign workers through foreign sub agents allows syndicates to forge travel documents.

This was the conclusion of immigration authorities following arrests of several illegal immigrant workers in the state who were found to have used forged passports.

Deputy state Immigration director Abu Bakar Sidek Hasan said although the number of arrests on those with fake passports was minimal, but authorities cannot deny the existence of the syndicate and that it’s flourishing in other parts of the country.

“There is usually a syndicate behind those who were found with fake stickers and stamps on their passports.

“Employers who hire foreign workers are usually in the dark that the documents were forged as they are merely receiving foreign workers through several sub agents,” he told reporters after rounding up operations in Kota Syahbandar here on Friday.

He added seven foreigners – four Bangladeshis, two Vietnamese and a Pakistani, were arrested under Section 56(1)(l) of the Immigration Act 1959/1963 for using forged travel documents from January till Nov 20 this year.

Immigration officers last year arrested 11 immigrants – five Chinese, three Bangladeshis, two Indonesians and an Indian for the same offense.

Earlier, Abu Bakar who led two separate raids on two construction sites here, said a total of 219 workers were screened and 153 male immigrant workers were detained.

Of those detained 102 were Bangladeshis, 39 Indonesians, nine Pakistanis, six Nepalese, two Vietnamese and a Myanmarese between 20 and 55-years-old, who were arrested for various immigration offences.

They included two Indonesian women, aged 30 and 23, who were arrested for violating travel pass and for not having valid travel documents; and a 53-year-old local man for employing illegal immigrants.

Abu Bakar said those detained also included a 28-year-old Bangladeshi, who was arrested on the suspicion of using fake passport.

The four-hour operation beginning 3pm on Friday involved 36 immigration officers, 5 officers from the National Registration Department and 55 People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) members. – Kelly Koh, 21 November 2015