Malaysia: International students can return, but entry for new students on hold
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Malaysia: International students can return, but entry for new students on hold

Malaysia: International students can return, but entry for new students on hold

International students can enter Malaysia, unless you’re a freshie. Entry for new international students is on hold until further notice, announced Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS), the one-stop centre for international student services under the purview of the Higher Education Ministry.

EMGS chief executive officer Mohd Radzlan Jalaludin said that public health is the government’s number one priority, which led to the decision.

“The increase in imported Covid-19 cases was one of the reasons a decision was made to put on hold the entry of new international students and dependents — for now.

“The situation is very fluid and we are keeping tabs on it to see when it will be appropriate to allow new students to come in again.”

In June, Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said international students, whether studying at universities or international schools, can return to Malaysia to resume their studies.

According to EMGS, international students are allowed to enter the country to continue their study programmes, subject to the following conditions:

  • Holding a valid student pass
  • Student pass expired during MCO (from Feb. 1, 2020 onwards) and the student is outside the country
  • Register with Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS)
  • Obtain Travel Authorisation from the Director-General of the Malaysian Immigration Department (students must apply through EMGS)
  • Upon receiving the Travel Authorisation, download and complete a Letter of Undertaking (LoU) and Indemnity for Person Under Surveillance
  • Obtain Letter of Approval (Entry Permit) from an accredited Malaysian Mission abroad

Returning international students must quarantine

international students malaysia

The University of Malaysia entrance gate. Source: Shutterstock

Last month, Higher Education Minister Datuk Noraini Ahmad said all international students must register with EMGS, as well as undergo health screening and 14-day quarantine before they are allowed into the country.

They will be required to undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or antibody rapid test in their home country three days prior to their entry into Malaysia to ensure that they test negative for COVID-19.

International students must undergo quarantine at designated stations set by the government of Malaysia, and they must bear the costs.

EMGS also states that “all incoming international students are subject to the quarantine order and non-compliance to this instruction will result in legal action”.

The government’s move to halt the entry of new international students into Malaysia has raised concerns among higher education providers about its impact on the sector.

They acknowledged that while the move was necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19, they said the decision would hurt the private higher education industry which is already reeling from the impact of the pandemic.

international students malaysia

A high school teacher checks the temperature of a student on the first day after being reopened following restrictions to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Kuala Lumpur on June 24, 2020. Source: Mohd Rasfan/AFP

No new international students in Malaysia for now

The latest guidance doesn’t apply to new international students at Malaysian institutions as EMGS recently stated on their website that entry for new international students is still on hold until further notice.

According to The Star, National Association of Private Educational Institutions (Napei) president Assoc Prof Elajsolan Mohan said that no reason was given to higher education providers regarding the sudden announcement on the EMGS website to put a halt to allowing new students back in.

“According to what we (Napei) were told earlier, new international students can register and start their lessons online and when the time is right, they can enter the country for physical lessons.”

He said that they are still in the dark about the current situation, and while acknowledging that the move was necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19,  the decision would ultimately hurt the private higher education industry which is already struggling from the impact of the pandemic.

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