Foreign students learning the hard way


Increasingly restrictive policies related to the issuance of student visas have transformed Malaysia from a rising education hub to a foreign student’s worst nightmare.

“I would have never thought that the police could detain me for such a thing,” says Dinesh, a 30-year-old international student who came to Malaysia to pursue his PhD and whose name has been changed for fear of retaliation. Dinesh, an Indian national, spent two days at one of KL’s alien detention centres, locked in a cell with a group of hardened illegal migrants.

“Someone at the university forgot to send my visa renewal papers to the immigration office on time. I decided to go there and enquire directly, but the officers detained me on the spot for overstaying my student visa,” he explains, a look of horror etched on his face.

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