Expired social visitor pass holders who can't leave by April 21 can apply for special pass to extend stay, says Home Minister

PUTRAJAYA: Foreigners with expired social visit passes who are having difficulties returning to their country of origin could request for a special pass to extend their stay in the country but it would need to be supported by their respective embassies.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin (pic) said application for extension would be dealt with on a case to case basis.

“We are responsible to look after the interests of our people and the country. But we are also sympathetic to those who have been stranded in Malaysia for a long time because borders are closed and they could not return home.

“Those who need some extra time to leave Malaysia can apply to me and I will make considerations judging from their case, ” he told reporters on Monday (April 12).

Immigration director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud said that however that the foreigners must attach proper documentation proving their financial means and residential address while in the country in their application.

He told Bernama this after confirming on Monday (April 12) that all foreigners with expired social visit passes would need to leave the country before or on April 21.

Khairul Dzaimee said the department understood that foreigners would face difficulty returning to their own countries because of the lack of flights and the Covid-19 pandemic situation in their own countries.

But he said that the department also discovered several cases of pass abuse by foreigners during several enforcement operations, including working in entertainment outlets, massage centres and being involved in prostitution, scams and other violations of the law.

"Enforcement action would be taken against those who failed to do so," he said.

Recently, foreigners from several countries had received emails from their embassies in Malaysia informing them that they have until April 21 to leave the country or face fines or be detained.

The date was based on the deferment period provided by the Malaysian Government for foreigners possessing expired social visit passes last year after they were stranded due to the movement control order.

As of last year, 291 enforcement operations had been conducted targeting entertainment premises and massage centres with 1,281 foreigners and 83 employers being detained, he said.

"Foreigners who have been allowed to stay in the country based on social visit passes must comply with the rules and regulations set under the Immigration Act, ” he added.

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