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Published: Sunday December 15, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday December 15, 2013 MYT 11:09:56 AM

Foreign students with passport problems can contact me directly, says Kamalanathan

Jovial conversation: Kamalanathan (centre) and The Star group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai (fourth from left) talking to student Tan Shao Wen (fifth from left) on his study plans at the 26th Star Education Fair at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Jovial conversation: Kamalanathan (centre) and The Star group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai (fourth from left) talking to student Tan Shao Wen (fifth from left) on his study plans at the 26th Star Education Fair at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign students who are “stuck” in the country because their passports are being held for the processing of student visas can directly appeal for help from Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan.

A high number of foreign students have sought help from The Star to highlight their plight after waiting for months for their visas.

Some of these students say they cannot return home for the holidays due to inordinate delays by Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS).

“Get in touch with me with your passport details so I can look into the matter.

“There is a solution for everything — we don’t want to be the reason for students to be kept away from their families during the festive season,” he said after opening the 26th Star Education Fair.

Kamalanathan said students with such passport woes can email him at kamalanathanp@gmail.com.

The EMGS is a one-stop centre for foreign student enrolment that was set up by the then Higher Education Ministry (now merged with the Education Ministry) last year.

Kamalanathan said the ministry had in place a two-year moratorium on licences given out to institutions to admit foreign students in order to weed out rogue colleges.

“Don’t think that we have not been doing anything for these two years. We are ironing out all these issues to make sure that when the ministry starts issuing licen­ces again in 2015, this problem will be resolved.

“If you’re misusing licences and abusing the system, action will surely be taken.

“We’re planning to work with enforcement officers in other ministries as a team as well,” he said.

Kamalanathan added that the EMGS will introduce a new profiling process for foreign students beginning next year, which will categorise them as either “low” or “high” risk students.

“Low risk students may enjoy several exemptions, which is similar to the ‘green lane’ policy, while high risk applicants will be subjected to the normal or enhanced screening process.

“This is to make sure that student visas are not abused.

“Unfortunately, there is a small number of students who are abusing their visas because someone has given them the platform to do so,” he said.

Kamalanathan said that the EMGS also had a “green lane” express visa clearance policy for foreign students enrolled in branch campuses of foreign universities as well as institutions that have achieved Tier Five or Six in the Rating System for Malay­sian Higher Education Institutions (Set­a­ra).

Students who are studying at Setara Tier Five and Six institutions and foreign branch campuses will be granted visas for the duration of their courses instead of being subjected to annual renewal.

> See StarEducate next Sunday for a full report.

Related story:

Visa renewal delays cause misery for youths

Tags / Keywords: Education, Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan

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