FOREIGN students will have to think hard before deciding to leave Singapore during the school holidays next month.
If they want to travel abroad, they will have to re-apply for their student passes before leaving and put up a refundable deposit of S$1,000 (RM2,020) each.
This takes effect on June 1, a week before schools close for three weeks.
Any student – Singaporeans included – who goes to a SARS-affected area will have to stay home for 10 days upon returning and produce a medical report confirming good health before being allowed back to school.
The places still on Singapore’s SARS travel advisory are Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangdong, Shanxi and Taipei.
Clearly, the authorities want to avoid a repeat of what happened in March, when more than 1,000 students went to SARS-hit areas while schools were closed as a SARS precaution.
The new rules affect 37,500 foreigners at all levels and will remain in force as long as SARS is a threat.
Each student’s local sponsor must sign an undertaking to assume full responsibility for his ward and indemnify the government for all expenses incurred, including the cost of screening and quarantine in alternative quarters.
The deposit is to cover the cost of accommodation or medical screening if the student has to be quarantined on his return.
However, Malaysians who commute daily to Singapore need only have their sponsors sign the undertaking. They do not need to put up the deposit.
Most university students here were also unlikely to be affected as Nanyang Technological University examinations end today and the National University of Singapore exams ended on May 5.
At present, foreign students need to apply for their student pass only once for their entire course of study at S$40 (RM80.80) a year.
But with the new rules, they will have to reapply for a student pass even if they want to visit Batam for the weekend. – The Straits Times/ Asia News Network
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