Malaysia is gearing up for a new immigration system for foreign workers from October 2017, which will mean only those whose fingerprints have been recorded can undergo a mandatory health check to enabled them to work in the country.

The government has said the purpose of the new regime is to verify the identity of those wishing to work in Malaysia and to restrict the spread of infectious diseases, such as dengue fever.

Immigration director general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said there had been several cases of infectious expats using healthy individuals to take their tests for them.

“The number of cases is small but we do not want to compromise in this matter as we only want healthy workers employed in our country,” he told The Malay Mail.

He went on to say that employers could potentially face charges under the Immigration Act if individuals they are trying to employ commit identity fraud. The severity of the charges were not explained further.

“When foreign workers enter the country, their biometrics will be scanned into the system. This new system provides another layer in terms of the biometric identification system.

“So those whose identity is found to be a fraud, or are not registered workers, the medical check-up will not take place, and we will take action against the employer as well as those who acted as the employee,” Mustafar said.

The system will be implemented at Foreign Workers' Medical Examination Monitoring Agency (FOMEMA) clinics and X-ray centres.

Expats who are hoping to enter or exit the country should also make sure their tax affairs are in order. The country’s Inland Revenue Board recently announced new rules stating that those who have failed to pay sufficient tax may be denied entry or detained when they try to leave.

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