International student left in limbo over visa renewal process

Indonesian Hutomo Danu says he needs to return to Malaysia as soon as possible to renew his student visa. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: An international student says he is having difficulty renewing his student visa as borders remain closed as part of the government’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Speaking to FMT, Hutomo Danu, 26, from Jakarta, said while his classes will only start on October, he still needs to return to Malaysia as soon as possible to renew his student visa, which is going to expire.

However, there has been no announcement on when international students would be allowed to enter Malaysia.

“We (international students) need to submit our passports to the Malaysian Immigration Department first before we can renew the student visa online,” Hutomo said.

He contacted many related authorities to clarify the matter but continued to receive conflicting advice, especially from the immigration officers.

“It’s quite confusing and disappointing when the directives given by the Immigration Department keep changing.

“We were told to contact the higher education ministry (MOHE) instead to obtain permission for the visa renewal process but MOHE still doesn’t have clear SOPs on international students returning to Malaysia.”

He said without the SOPs from MOHE, the international students’ office in the university and the embassy could not help him.

Hutomo, who is also the Student Representative Council (MMP) member at Universiti Putra Malaysia, also said the Immigration Department had stopped replying his email queries.

Putrajaya recently announced that foreigners from green zone countries could enter the country, subject to an agreement on SOPs by Malaysia and the countries in question.

So far, six green zone countries have been identified — Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

However, Indonesia is not a green zone country.

“Right now, I’m worried that I might have to apply for a new student visa. That will cost me more than the visa renewal fee,” he said, adding that there was no announcement regarding the visa extension period.

FMT has reached out to the Immigration Department for comment.

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