Sign up to learn, come to work

> Agents use education in­sti­tutes as front to bring in for­eign work­ers

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

KUALA LUMPUR: They ar­rive in Malaysia by the thou­sands, pur­port­edly to seek aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tions. How­ever, on ar­rival, they be­come lowly-paid work­ers in in­dus­tries such as man­u­fac­tur­ing, con­struc­tion and agri­cul­ture.

These for­eign “stu­dents”, es­pe­cially from Nepal and Bangladesh, end up join­ing the labour-in­ten­sive job mar­ket here.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by theSun re­vealed work­ers are be­ing sent as stu­dents to Malaysia by agents, some of whom pro­claim them­selves to be “education con­sul­tants”.

In the course of in­ves­ti­ga­tions, theSun spoke to sev­eral in­di­vid­u­als who en­tered the coun­try on stu­dent visas, some for up to four years.

Speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity, a 24year-old Bangladeshi worker who leads the op­er­a­tions of a fur­ni­ture shop in the out­skirts of Shah Alam, re­vealed he first came to Malaysia on a stu­dent visa three years ago.

He ob­tained a six-month stu­dent pass upon en­rolling at a lan­guage cen­tre for a course on which he was given no de­tails.

“My visa was valid for six months and the classes were once a week, and these classes were just a front,” he said.

“I just went there three times. The agents told us we were free to work or study in Malaysia, al­though we were sent here un­der stu­dent visas.”

He claimed many Bangladeshis came to Malaysia with stu­dent visas and re­mained here as they are able to make more money than fresh grad­u­ates.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, a source from the con­struc­tion in­dus­try re­vealed to theSun that such cases were also preva­lent in that sector.

“Our site was once raided and about 200 con­struc­tion work­ers be­long­ing to a sub­con­trac­tor were ar­rested. When we checked their pass­ports, they had stu­dent passes and even pro­fes­sional em­ploy­ment visas,” the source said.

“These Bangladeshi work­ers couldn’t even read, but they were is­sued stu­dent visas.”

A sim­i­lar re­port was fea­tured by a Bangladeshi news por­tal, which im­pli­cated an agent who had sent stu­dents “who could not even write their names”.

Some Bangladeshi stu­dents who had gained ad­mis­sion into lo­cal higher education in­sti­tutes were re­port­edly un­able to com­plete the nec­es­sary forms while un­der­go­ing the manda­tory postar­rival health screen­ing.

The Hu­man Re­sources Min­istry re­quires in­ter­na­tional stu­dents to be able to con­verse, read and write in English.

How­ever, “stu­dents” are be­ing lured by agents who work with some lo­cal learn­ing es­tab­lish­ments in what they term “a ser­vice, be­cause of the de­lay in pro­cess­ing work per­mits”.

The abuse of the six-month stu­dent pass, which are is­sued pre­dom­i­nantly for lan­guage cour­ses, are quite preva­lent, said a spokesman from the Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment.

“The depart­ment usu­ally tar­gets in­sti­tutes with a mas­sive num­ber of for­eign stu­dents, as not many lo­cals en­rol in lan­guage cen­tres.”

How­ever, he said there had been a de­cline in en­rol­ment for lan­guage cen­tres.

In 2013, Education Malaysia Global Ser­vices (EMGS) was ap­pointed by the govern­ment to man­age and process stu­dent pass ap­pli­ca­tions. For­merly, the process was car­ried out di­rectly by the in­sti­tute at the Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment.

A source from the Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment re­vealed that be­fore the ap­point­ment of EMGS, the govern­ment faced dif­fi­culty in ver­i­fy­ing the authen­tic­ity of aca­demic doc­u­ments is­sued in the ap­pli­cant’s coun­try of ori­gin, as it did not “have the means to do so”.

EMGS is also re­spon­si­ble for cross­check­ing with the source coun­try whether the in­for­ma­tion be­ing pre­sented by po­ten­tial stu­dents are gen­uine. Once the stu­dent has sub­mit­ted the re­quired doc­u­ments, a Visa Ap­proval Let­ter will be is­sued by the Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment.

How­ever, the is­sue is cir­cum­vented by some agents in Bangladesh who fal­sify bank state­ments and re­lated doc­u­ments.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.