PETALING JAYA: The action by the Immigration Department in imposing almost RM600 to apply for the Enforcement Card (E-Card) are among the factors that had stopped employers from registering undocumented workers sooner, claimed Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan. Shamsuddin claimed that the Immigration Department had initially not imposed any charge during the implementation of the E-Card registration system before the government decided to impose the fee. "When employers are asked to pay even half of the processing fees, they will not be interested as they do not know whether the workers that they register can be employed again," he told theSun when contacted today. He further described the E-Card system as "pretty much" similar with the previous system implemented by the Immigration Department. "Thus when a similar system is in place not many employers would be interested in registering their undocumented workers because what the government wants employers to do is for them to come to the Immigration counters and admit that they have undocumented workers," he said. The MEF, he said, had proposed that undocumented workers themselves register with the Immigration Department instead of the employers. "The proposal was to allow employers the opportunity to recruit documented workers upon registration. However, the same system is applied instead," he said. However, Shamsuddin added that employers who failed to register their undocumented workers in time would have to face the full brunt of the law. Following the end of the E-Card registration deadline on Friday, Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali announced that 1,035 undocumented workers including 101 women, three children and 16 employers were detained on Saturday in a nationwide operation. The majority of the workers were from Bangladesh (515), followed by Indonesia (135), Myanmar (102), the Philippines (50), Thailand (five) and Vietnam (two). The E-Card, valid until Feb 15 next year, is to enable employers to apply and rehire the foreigners legally in addressing shortages in several key economic sectors. Only 97,469 cards were issued between Feb 15 and May 31, although there are 400,000 to 500,000 workers. The deadline will not be extended and employers were warned that the department will go on a nationwide crackdown on the undocumented workers on July 1. The E-Card is only for workers from 15 countries — Bangladesh, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.