Cutting red tape for international students

All good: Idris looks at a student pass application form which may soon become a thing of the past, as measures are already underway to expedite such applications online.

FOREIGN students wishing to study in Malaysia can now apply online for their student pass.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said that students can send their applications directly to Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS).

“They can also apply for their visa which will now be valid for the full duration of their course,” he said during a press conference after visiting the Education Malaysia Student Services Centre (EMGS) in Cyberjaya.

He said previously, the students would have to renew their visa annually, but now the visa is valid for the entire course duration.

However, students would have to apply for a new visa if they decide to pursue another course.

Even with the EMGS new online visa system, universities still needed to submit an individual student’s report annually, he said.

“The institutions must inform EMGS if the student had quit studying or had skipped classes,” he added.

He reiterated that with the revised system, the I-Kad would be valid for the full duration of the course.

The requirement for annual renewals used to pose problems especially for students who wanted to leave the country, as they needed to ensure their student pass was renewed before leaving Malaysia, he added.

Idris said that the new system was connected to the Immigration Department’s system.

“So, it shouldn’t be a problem for the authorities to identify students who no longer qualify for the visa.”

EMGS chief executive officer Yazid Abd Hamid said the second student services centre in Cyber-jaya would also house officers from the Student Pass Unit of the Immigration Department.

Idris added that having the unit under the same roof would expedite the foreign student visa application process.

The Student Pass Unit at the Student Service Centre in Cyber-jaya is responsible for the processing of applications and the issuance of Visa Approval Letters (VAL).

VAL is a document required for new students entering Malaysia and is issued once the applications satisfy all requirements in the academic screening by EMGS and security screenings by the Immigration Department.

He added that this would help Malaysia achieve its target of having an enrolment of 200,000 foreign students by 2020.

Idris added that as of 2015, Malaysia was an education hub for 151,979 foreign students.

He said that 80.3% or 122,061 of them are enrolled in institutions of higher education.

“This is a 12% increase (compared to 2014) which shows more foreign students are coming to Malaysia every year,” added the minister.

EMGS’ scope of services include the management and processing of international student applications and renewals for student pass and visa to all higher education institutions in Malaysia.

It also manages and processes the annual renewals of the I-Kad for international students. – By REBECCA RAJAENDRAM

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