FOREIGNERS caught flouting the law here using falsified student visas may have obtained such documents through illegal channels.
Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) chief executive officer Mohd Yazid Abd Hamid said these “students” may have procured the visas from parties that may include syndicates.
“From our experience, we think it is a middleman who is creating this issue,” he told The Star after hosting a visit by Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Mary Yap at the EMGS office last Wednesday.
EMGS was set up by the Higher Education Ministry as a one-stop centre to process international student applications for public and private higher education institutions, including language schools and skills training centres.
Immigration Department deputy director-general Datuk Ibrahim Abdullah, who was present at the event, said 29 foreigners have been deported last year for abusing their student visas.
Last year, 674 foreign students were arrested for various offences, with 321 of them fined, while the rest were freed after investigation. The majority of the offenders were from Bangladesh, China and Nigeria.
A total of 91,686 foreign students came to Malaysia in 2016.
Mohd Yazid said a student visa application will have to list the course that the student is studying here.
“If the course is not on the approved list, the application cannot proceed, even though the student possesses an offer letter,” he added.
EMGS also verifies the authenticity of information submitted with the respective education departments or embassies.
“We make sure that the applicant has met all the requirements on the academic side before we submit the application to the Immigration Department, which handles the security screening aspects,” he said.
Mohd Yazid said that the entire process at EMGS’ end is processed electronically to reduce the risk of human error or interference.
Dr Yap said there is an inspectorate within her ministry to monitor the quality of higher education institutions to ensure they comply with regulations.
She stressed that her ministry will not hesitate to work closely with Immigration and the police if they find any university or college compromising their “academic integrity”.
Dr Yap also praised EMGS and the Immigration Department for creating a taskforce to quickly solve the backlog of student visa applications that was caused by a system glitch.
The taskforce cleared over 3,800 student visa applications in seven days when their target was over 14 days.
Also present during the visit was EMGS chairman Wan Abdul Hakim Wan Mokhtar.
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