PUTRAJAYA, Dec 23 ― International students hoping to study in Malaysian institutions will no longer need go through stringent procedures with their preferred university or college to obtain a student visa.
From January 1 next year, foreign students will be allowed to make an online application with the Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) for a quicker visa approval, Higher Education minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said today.
“This will shorten visa application to not more than 14 working days or it can be faster if compared to the current procedure where students are required to go through their preferred local or private institutions to apply a visa,” he told a news conference at the ministry of higher education department here.
The current method, he said, did not allow students to track their application progress as oppose to the online application where students will be able to know which stage they were at.
Another improvement, Idris said, will be the move to issue student visa based on the applicant's duration of study rather than the current one-year student visa.
He added that the government is also extending the mobility pass ― which allows foreign students to complete an exchange programme for no longer than a year ― to at least three months and up to 12.
“This is to encourage more students from diversified countries to come in Malaysia,” he said, adding that currently 75 per cent were from Asia, 15 per cent from Africa and remaining 10 per cent from other parts of the world.
He denied when asked if the quicker visa application and longer mobility pass duration would spell more criminal activities among foreign students.
He said the percentage of students involved in criminal activities in the country were 0.075 per cent of the 113,752 international students in Malaysia as of October, this year.
“In fact, with the EMGS student pass, it will make the work of the authorities easier to track students' whereabouts as the agency has all relevant information of students coming here to study,” Idris said.
With these new initiatives, Idris said his ministry expects to see about 200,000 foreign students in 2020 and estimates this to contribute to about RM15.6 billion to the nation's economy on that year.