PUTRAJAYA: International students have the option of applying for their passes online directly from Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) starting from Jan 1.
This is expected to speed up the application process and improve transparency.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said at the same time, students also had the option of applying for the passes through their respective higher education institutions.
The student passes will also be issued according to the duration of study.
“Before this, the passes had to be renewed every year. Now, the passes are issued according to the study period. If the course is for three years, the pass will be issued for three years,” Idris said at a press conference yesterday.
However, he said this privilege was only for international students applying to higher learning institutions that had been chosen by the ministry, based on their performance and reputation.
The ministry will carry on with the annual verification and monitoring to ensure these students achieve their academic performance and not abuse their passes.
For those who had already started their studies in Malaysia, Idris said the renewal for the pass would be based on the remaining duration of study.
He said the social visit pass for students under the Mobility Programme would be issued for a maximum of 12 months instead of the current three.
These decisions were made by the Cabinet on Tuesday, he said.
Asked if the ministry was confident that the new system would curb the abuse of student visas, Idris said it had always monitored institutions of higher learning.
He said that EMGS’ stringent vetting measures and the student card system launched last year had made it easier for the ministry to identify students who abused their visas.
Four private higher learning institutions were suspended this year from accepting new international students, he said.
“That’s why we go down to the private higher learning institutions so we can check if the students with visas are in school or not,” he added.
He noted that some student visas allowed part-time work in the same field of study.
Idris said that previously many foreigners entered Malaysia on student visas on the pretext of enrolling in language centres.
However, beginning March this year, EMGS has extended to cover the processing of international students’ applications to language centres and skills training centres registered with the Education Ministry.
“Many of them come through language centres and they overstay. We couldn’t control them before because they did not have student cards.
“Now that they have the student cards, that will limit them, we’ll know they have overstayed when they are caught,” he said.
Idris also pointed out that only 0.075% out of the current 113,752 international students were involved in crime in Malaysia.