Varsities warned over dubious student visa applications

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 08 Feb 2017

CYBERJAYA: On many occasions, the Immigration Department has caught foreigners who enter the country with student visas but turn out to be doing things other than studying.

“Some get involved in crime, including prostitution,” said Immi­gration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali.

He said the department will take firm action against higher learning institutions involved in dubious student visa applications.

“We are aware the Government wants to turn Malaysia into a global education hub, and is trying its best to attract students into the country.

“We are supportive of the efforts, but the Immigration Depart­ment will not compromise on the country’s security and sovereignty,” said Mustafar.

He added that the department has found some so-called education institutions that even have fake language centres – to the extent of having photos of classrooms with tables and chairs.

“But our checks at the institutions reveal there are no classes nor students. These are some of their ways to get illegals to enter the country.

“We do not tolerate this, and higher learning institutions that are caught will be dealt with by the law,” said Mustafar at a press conference after paying a visit to the Education Malaysia Global Services (EGMS) office here yesterday.

Mustafar said the Immigration Department will collaborate with the Higher Education Ministry to stamp out student visa abuse.

“Universities must also help monitor the activities of their foreign students. Do not just think about gaining profit.

“If a student only appears in class on the first day, then vanishes for the rest of the semester, they must inform the authorities,” said Mustafar.

Mustafar’s visit to EGMS was to monitor the progress of student visa applications which were hampered by a glitch in the Malaysian Immi­gration System (myIMMs) last year.

EMGS, which is a part of the Higher Education Ministry, is a one-stop centre that processes international student applications for public and private higher education institutions, language schools and skills training centres in Malaysia.

Mustafar said a high-level committee meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Jan 19 had ordered the formation of a task force to resolve delays in the processing of student visas.

“Our department was given 14 days to clear the backlog of student visa applications. We deployed 20 additional officers to the EMGS office, and due to that, we were able to clear the backlog of 3,861 applications in eight days,” he said.

He added that the department will also upgrade the standard operating procedure of student visa applications.

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