By Revda Selver
GOMBAK, 19 September 2022: More than 300 foreign students at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) have delayed their visa renewal process for months.
The representative of the IIUM Student Union (IIUMSU), Sylla Issiaga, said that the issue has been going on for five months, and he noted that some of the affected students submitted their applications in December last year.
“Students from all nationalities have been facing visa issues, we have Guinean, Comoronian, Indonesians and many more nationalities.
“The issue is not passport-related, it is due to changing visa policies which were not communicated back to the students.
“Usually, if students submit their application 15 days before the visa expiry date, they will have to apply for a special pass.”
“IIUM is overusing the special pass, so the issuance of special passes to IIUM students has been stopped, according to the immigration department,” Issiaga explained.
Issiaga also pointed out that the lack of communication between the Visa Unit and the students is the main reason the number of students has accumulated from 20 to a few hundred within the past months.
The Deputy Rector of Student Development & Community Engagement, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zulkifli Hasan said that some affected students had met him to discuss the issue.
He said the problem had been highlighted to the university’s management, and a discussion on the matter has been done with the International Office.
Assoc. Prof. Dr Zulkifli told IIUMToday that the university administration is taking its first steps toward transformation and change.
“The transformation process includes better customer service, improved offices that provide a comfortable environment to students and staff and improvements in the communication with the immigration department to have a good relationship with them.”
“The University’s main concern at the moment is to resolve the issues of the several hundred students and then move on to transformation,” he said.
On 22 August, Sylla Issiaga informed the affected student that IIUMSU had reconciled a few things, and the discussion saw a positive development.
The students in question were requested by the Immigration Department to pay the RM 1,200 compound.
Assoc. Prof. Dr Zulkifli said that the International Office is responsible for advancing any payment if the students don’t have enough money to settle their compounds.
“If the students want to negotiate on the compound, we have already asked the International Office to clarify what is meant by ‘late submission’ because we need to have a standard answer.
“As of today, we have completed 65 biometrics, and the International Office has advanced their payments,” he added.
Furthermore, the IIUMSU also approached the Visa Unit to cover the communication gap.
“The visa unit has become more cooperative, and we look forward to resolving the issue as soon as possible.”
“The IIUMSU also is working hard to propose some steps that will remind international students to submit their applications on time through graphs and sketches and to make the process of gathering required documents easier,” Issiaga shared.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zulkifli pointed out that the IIUM is optimistic that by the end of September 2022, all students will have completed the visa renewal process and will receive their passports. ***