PETALING JAYA: Tightening conditions for student and tourist visas is not the answer to curb the influx of foreign workers disguised as students, said an education group.
The Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (MAPCU) said the way to strike at the issue is to take drastic action against the culprits.
At the same time, seamless visa application processes for established institutions to take in bona fide foreign students should be implemented, said MAPCU president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh.
“This is not new and we have repeatedly implored for action to be taken against recalcitrant institutions,” he said, commenting on the The Star report that thousands of illegal Bangladeshi workers are entering the country as students.
They are reportedly doing this with the help of unscrupulous Malaysian institutes of higher learning and education centres working in tandem with human-trafficking syndicates.
However, once they are in the country, the Bangladeshis often found themselves exploited by their employers.
“It is disappointing to read once again that the Home Ministry is tightening conditions for student visas. Genuine universities and colleges and bona fide foreign students will become victims of this tightening,” said Dr Parmjit.
“Meanwhile, unscrupulous institutions have their permits renewed year after year despite the abuse.
“Not only do genuine institutions go through a trying process of getting their permits renewed, but genuine students are also subjected to inefficient and lengthy processes of applying and renewing their visas,” he said.
Dr Parmjit claimed that this had made Malaysia an undesirable place for higher education and its appeal among foreign students had waned.
“MAPCU members who have invested billions in developing an education infrastructure are now feeling terribly let down. Administrative processes must be improved so that foreign students can enjoy being in Malaysia,” he said.