International students are always welcome in Malaysia, the truly Asian country. In fact, according to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Malaysia is one of the favourite destinations for education among international students. As of 2015, there are 151,979 international students in Malaysia, 80.3 per cent of which are enrolled in Higher Education Institutes. Malaysia is targeting 200, 000 enrolments of international students by 2020, the year Malaysia will be a fully developed nation.
In a recent event, Malaysian Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, stated that the Higher Education Ministry through its Education Malaysia Global Service (EMGS), collaborates with the Immigration Department and Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) to conduct several stages of academic and security screenings on international students before they are allowed to pursue their higher education in Malaysia. This is done to combat any misuse of student visa, which could a pose threat to the Malaysia’s security.
What is Education Malaysia Global Service?
Education Malaysia Global Service or EMGS is a one-stop centre for services involving international students, owned by the Ministry of Higher Education. The services include:
Managing and processing the applications for student pass or visa submitted by potential students of public or private higher education institutes.
Processing i-Kad, an identity card for international students, which is recognised by all law enforcement agencies in Malaysia. With the card, students do not need to carry around their passports any longer.
Managing and processing the annual renewal of both student pass or visa and i-Kad.
Improving the management of welfare and engagements of international students.
What are the stages of screening by EMGS?
When a potential student submits his or her application for a student pass, EMGS will review the student’s academic eligibility, if the student meets the basic requirements set by the Malaysian institute of choice. Usually, the institute will submit the application for the student while the student remains in his or her respective country, if the student applies through the institute.
It is also important that the full-time course that the student applies for at the chosen university is accredited by the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA). All programmes offered at Mantissa College are accredited by MQA. Each programme has its own MQA reference number.
The university itself, too, has to be recognised by the Ministry of Higher Education. There are 500 private higher education institutes in Malaysia that are recognised by Ministry of Higher Education, Mantissa College is one of them. Out of the 500 institutes, only 200 are allowed by the Ministry of Home Affair, to take in international students. Whereas, all 20 public higher education institutions in Malaysia are permitted to recruit international students, even though some of their programmes are limited to local students. Mantissa College offers all of its programmes to both local and international students.
EMGS will also verifies international certificates submitted by the potential student alongside his or her application, with various international sources. Once the academic aspect of the screening is done, the Malaysian Immigration Department will take over.
What is the role of the Malaysian Immigration Department?
The Immigration Department of Malaysia will take care of the security aspect of the screening. The most important thing for the student, is to have a passport that is valid for at least 14 months from the expected date of entry, or 26 months for Indonesian students. Potential students from Sub-Saharan Africa are required to provide a Non Objection Certificate approved by their local education ministry, when applying for the student pass. If all the immigration requirements are met, the Immigration Department will issue the Visa Approval Letter (VAL) as early as within two weeks or up to eight weeks.
Once the VAL is received, the students is required to apply for Visa with Reference (VDR) from Malaysia Representatives Offices in his or her respective country. Depending on the country of origin, only the VAL will suffice for the student to enter Malaysia. The VAL is only valid for six months from the date of issuance. Therefore, the student needs to plan the journey to Malaysia accordingly.
The VAL needs to be produced by the student upon arrival in Malaysia. The student will then be provided with a special pass on his or her passport. The pass lasts for 30 days, within which the institute needs to submit the student’s passport to receive the student pass sticker. The student with VAL will obtain multi-entry visa by the Immigration Department.
How is the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) involved?
The PDRM will screen the student through Interpol (International Police), to make sure the student is not on their list, before the student’s application is approved.
Attendance and expulsion
International students need to be responsible for their attendance in class. In fact, all students should be responsible for their attendance. To avoid the institute from reporting them to the PDRM, the Ministry of Higher Education and the Immigration Department, students need to make sure that their attendance rate does not fall below 80% and that they do not skip classes three days in a row without any valid reason or permission. Failure to abide will result in the Student Pass and Visa being revoked. Students should always follow rules of the Institute of their study and the Malaysian law in general. Institutes have the right to expel students, who breach the law, resulting in their Student Pass and Visa being cancelled.