Net tightens around illegal workers

|     Lyna Mohamad     |

THE Immigration and National Registration Department (INRD) reminded employers to ensure that the employment passes of their foreign workers are still valid, as it is an offence for employees with expired working permits to continue working and stay in the country.

Foreign workers found doing so will be deported to their countries of origin after serving time for their offences. They will additionally be blacklisted from re-entering Brunei Darussalam.

Employers are also reminded to be aware of the whereabouts of their foreign employees.

The INRD has also cautioned foreign workers to refrain from dealing with or handing over their passports to individuals claiming to be agents in charge of passport matters representing the related immigration departments.

The advisories come on the back of a recent inter-agency crackdown on illegal workers conducted on Tuesday evening, headed by the Immigration Enforcement Unit of the INRD.

Enforcement officers during the operation. – IMMIGRATION ENFOCREMENT UNIT

Over 120 personnel from seven law enforcement agencies were involved in the raids on rented houses and rooms occupied by foreign workers, including 22 immigration enforcement officers from the INRD led by Acting Senior Chief Immigration Officer at the Law Enforcement Unit.

The other officers involved in the operation were from the enforcement units of the Royal Customs and Excise Department, Religious Affairs Department, Labour Department, and Internal Security Department, as well as the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and Royal Brunei Police Force’s Human Trafficking Crime Investigation Unit, Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

The raids were also conducted to ensure foreign workers staying with their partners are legally married, as well as to identify rented houses and rooms believed to be used to hide contraband items, and to thwart any potential criminal activity. The multi-hour operation which began at 9.30pm and ended in the wee hours of Wednesday morning targeted seven rented houses near Tamu Kianggeh and four rented houses in Kampong Sungai Lampai, Jalan Kota Batu.

Eight foreigners who failed to produce valid immigration passes were rounded up, two of whom were women. They are being remanded temporarily at the Enforcement Unit for further investigations.

The Royal Customs and Excise Department, meanwhile, discovered four Brunei citizens, permanent residents and foreigners in possession of contraband items.

Their cases have been handed over to the Customs Enforcement Unit.

A foreign couple was also issued a letter requiring them to report to the religious affairs enforcement unit after being caught in close proximity at one of the rented houses in Kampong Sungai Lampai.

A foreign housemaid found to be living separately from her employer was also arrested during the operation.