Research on Immigration Law: A contrasting study of Malaysia and Singapore

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Content page

List of figures, charts & tables…………………………………………………………………………… 3

Research on Immigration Law: A contrasting study of Malaysia and Singapore………. 4

  1. Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………… 4

1.1      Research significance……………………………………………………………………….. 4

1.2      Country profile………………………………………………………………………………… 5

1.2.1     Singapore………………………………………………………………………………. 5

1.2.2     Malaysia………………………………………………………………………………… 5

1.3      Briefs of the two selected law systems……………………………………………….. 5

1.3.1     Malaysia Immigration Laws & the departmental setting………………. 5

1.3.2     Singapore Immigration Laws & the departmental setting…………….. 6

  1. Contrasting and comparing the relevant regulations……………………………………….. 8

2.1      Admissions into and out of the countries…………………………………………….. 8

2.1.1     To the country’s own citizens……………………………………………………. 8

2.1.2     To the foreigners…………………………………………………………………….. 8

2.2      Entry visas and permits…………………………………………………………………… 10

2.2.1     Visa on arrival………………………………………………………………………. 10

2.2.2     Employment pass………………………………………………………………….. 12

2.3      In transit issues………………………………………………………………………………. 13

2.4      Removal from the country……………………………………………………………….. 14

2.4.1     Power of the controller………………………………………………………….. 14

  1. Law enforcement and implementations issues……………………………………………… 16

3.1      Overstays………………………………………………………………………………………. 16

3.1.1     Overstay issues in case of Malaysia…………………………………………. 16

3.1.2     Overstay issues in case of Singapore……………………………………….. 17

3.2      Efficiency of Visa application………………………………………………………….. 17

3.3      Effectiveness: issues relevant to illegal immigrants……………………………… 18

  1. Critical thinking session……………………………………………………………………………. 18

4.1      Regarding the employment pass application requirements……………………. 18

4.2      Regarding the work related support service……………………………………….. 20

  1. Concluding remarks…………………………………………………………………………………. 21

Reference list………………………………………………………………………………………………… 23

Appendix 1.0 The immigrant population facts in Malaysia………………………………….. 26

 

 

 

List of figures, charts & tables

 

Table 1 normal Visa fee per person……………………………………………………………. 18

Figure 1 Logo of ICA……………………………………………………………………………….. 7

 

 

 

Research on Immigration Law: A contrasting study of Malaysia and Singapore

1.        Introduction

 

1.1    Research significance

 

Immigration has long been a maverick, a wild card in any countries, in particular those popular immigration destinations. And the development and transformation of the national immigration law in most countries vary. And immigration law often implicates the nation’s basic foreign policy objectives, a circumstance that has sometimes provoked the Supreme Court, even in non immigration contexts, to be less scrupulous in safeguarding the constitutional values and more deferential to the other branches of the governments (Schuck 1998, p. 19).

 

With Singapore being among the world’s most popular immigration and work destinations and having a typical country that has one of the most open and transparent immigration systems (abhinav.com 2009) whereas a low Net Migration Rate[1] (0 migrant(s)/1,000 populati, ranked 106 of 225 selected countries) in Malaysia (Nationmaster.com 2003; detail sees appendix 1.0) reflecting that the country’s immigration policy is more prudent, this study tends focus on the comparison between these two countries’ relevant immigration policies to understand such legal differences. The key significance of this study is based on the fact that the Malaysia government is gradually change its immigration policy to a more loose one indicating that referring to the immigration system of a more developed country in term of immigration opening like Singapore would be of great significance.

 

 

1.2    Country profile

 

1.2.1            Singapore

 

Singapore is a republic with a parliamentary system of government with political power being invested in the Prime Ministers and his Cabinet ministers who are responsible collectively to supervise and manage the country (Singapore International Chamber Of Commerce 2009, p.2). It is believed that Singapore has the most competent government in Asia and under such a strong government Singapore has achieved superior political stability since independence which has helped attract the foreign investors to the island as claimed by Frankham (2008, p.620). What’s more, the government also plays an important role in creating a vivid, free and open economy that Singapore has today, for example, immigration rule has enable the free travelling and working in the country (Tan 2000, p.493).

 

1.2.2            Malaysia

 

Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore as well as Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo joined the Federation. The first several years of the country’s independence were marred by a Communist insurgency, Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore’s departure from the Federation in 1965. During the 22-year term of Prime Minister MAHATHIR bin Mohamad (1981-2003), Malaysia was successful in diversifying its economy from dependence on exports of raw materials to the development of manufacturing, services, and tourism (CIA.gov 2012).

 

 

 

 

1.3    Briefs of the two selected law systems

 

1.3.1            Malaysia Immigration Laws & the departmental setting

 

Malaysia’s legal system is based on English common law which was adopted in former colonies or territories of England. Malaysia also has a secondary legal system concurrently affecting certain sections of the law, such as Islamic law and customary law. They use the judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court at request of Supreme head of the federation. Islamic law is applied to Muslims, which make up 60.4% of the population, in the country in matters of family law and religion issues (Palumbo-Liu, Robbins & Tanoukhi 2011, p. 189). The complexity in the source of law increases and determines the complexity of the legal system of Malaysia in any of its various laws.

 

In term of the Malaysia Immigration Laws, the Immigration Act of 1959/1963 is the main legislation in Malaysia handling immigration and foreign employment issues.  Other rules and regulations are the Passport Act 1966 and the Immigration (Exemption) Order 1963. The governmental departments handling the immigration issues include:

 

l  The Immigration Department Of Malaysia is a department under the Malaysia Ministry of Home Affairs and enforces the immigration laws.

 

l  The Immigration Department Malaysia has a duty to keep out aliens who have a criminal record, aliens who are not able to finance themselves and people who are lying about their intentions for coming to Malaysia. (expatforum.com 2010)

 

 

 

1.3.2            Singapore Immigration Laws & the departmental setting

 

Singapore law, which has its roots in English law, has now evolved into a distinctive jurisprudence. It continues to absorb and modify the common law as well as best practices from other mature legal systems. Developments in Singapore law reflect an acute awareness of the need to recognize and accommodate current international business and commercial practices. The legal system in Singapore has received numerous international accolades for its efficiency and integrity. As a consequence of this, there is now wide recognition of Singapore as a leading legal hub in Asia (singaporelaw.sg 2012).

Figure 1 Logo of ICA

Source: ica.gov.sg 2011

 

On April 1, 1998, Singapore Immigration and Registration was formed through a merger between the Singapore Immigration and the National Registration Department which were the two functional departments dealing with the immigration issues; in 2003 the Singapore Immigration and Registration was again merged into the current Immigration and Checkpoints Authority to be in charge of immigration, Singapore passports, identity cards, Citizen Registration (Birth and Death), permanent residents services, customs, issuing permits to foreigners such as visit pass, visas and student passes (ica.gov.sg 2011). And the Immigration Act is the major law that regulates the entry, stay and exit of foreigners into and out of Singapore through the land, air and sea checkpoints.

 

2.        Contrasting and comparing the relevant regulations

 

2.1    Admissions into and out of the countries

 

2.1.1            To the country’s own citizens

 

While in both countries like most other countries as stated in their respective immigration act, the country’s own citizens are not requested to enter into the country, this is understandable with common sense. But there are some special and different regulations and laws in case of Malaysia. According to the Immigration Act 1959/1963 which governs the admissions into as well as the departure from Malaysia, the procedures on the arrival into Malaysia, offenses, the entry permits, removal from Malaysia and the special provisions for East Malaysia, citizens from west Malaysia will not be allowed to enter into the states of east Malaysia if they do not have the proper permits or pass unless they are a judge of the Federal Court, a member of any of the public service or particular person is entering into the states of east Malaysia temporarily as required by the Federal Government or other qualified persons (law.com.my 2011). Such population movement control may be rationalized by looking into the country’s history as well as the government system which we will not further discuss in this study. And here comparisons may not be appropriate to be made with the similar regulations regarding the admissions into and out of the country in Singapore because the whole country is only a small island; therefore it has no need to consider the case of cross state population movement or control of the movement.

 

 

2.1.2            To the foreigners

 

Foreigners without valid permit or entry visa are prohibited to enter into the territory of the country according to the Singapore Immigration Act (Session 6). Similar regulations and clauses could also be found in the Immigration Act of Malaysia. In term of passport entry, let’s see the two countries’ respective requirements:

 

u  A passport with at least 6 months validity

u  Valid Singapore visa, if applicable (refer to the Visa Requirements page for more  information)

u  Sufficient funds to last for the intended period of stay in Singapore

u  Confirmed onward/return tickets (where applicable)

u  Entry facilities to their onward destinations, e.g. visas.

u  Completed Disembarkation/Embarkation Card

u  Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate, if applicable (ica.gov.sg 2011)

 

The above are the basic requirements for the legal entry using full passport entry and similarly, Every person entering Malaysia must possess a valid national Passport (similarly, a passport with at least 6 months validity) or internationally recognized Travel Document valid for travel to Malaysia. According to the Malaysia Immigration Act, any person not in possession of a Passport or Travel Document which is recognized by the Malaysian Government must obtain a Document in lieu of Passport. Application for the Document in lieu of Passport can be made at any Malaysian Representative Office abroad. And upon entry, foreigners are also required to complete an embarkation card which includes the examination of the purpose of entry and possible illnesses monitored by the immigration departments.

 

In term of baggage clearance, both countries have similar regulations regarding the belongings coming together with the foreign visitors, some differences could be found in the currency rule. For example, in case of Malaysia, currency must be declared upon arrival, and is allowed for both RESIDENTS and NON-RESIDENTS, if carrying local currency (Malaysian Ringgit-MYR): MYR 1,000.- or higher amounts; and for the foreign currencies, it is USD 10,000.- (or equivalent in other foreign currency) or higher amounts (iatatravelcentre.com 2011). And in case of Singapore’s baggage clearance regulations, a maximum physical currency valued SGD 30,000 is allowed, other prohibited items are listed as following.

 

u  Prohibited items

u  Controlled or restricted items

u  Taxable or dutiable items exceeding your GST Relief or Duty-Free concession; or

u  Items for which no GST Relief or duty -free concession is granted.

u  Physical currency or bearer negotiable instruments (CBNI) that has a total value exceeding SGD 30,000 (ica.gov.sg 2011)

 

In addition, both countries’ immigration laws have special treaties and clauses prohibiting the entry of some foreigners. For example, anyone who is eligible to be classified under Section 8 of Malaysia Immigration Act 1959/63 would be declined of entry even though he or she is in possession of a valid passport or travel document, visa, travel ticket and sufficient funds. Below we will probe into the entry permits and visas which is a key session of our study.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.2     Entry visas and permits

 

2.2.1            Visa on arrival

 

2.2.1.1      VOA in Malaysia

 

Foreign nationals who require a Visa to enter Malaysia must apply and obtain a Visa in advance at the Malaysian Representative Office before entering the country, the visa that takes the least time for application is the Visa On Arrival which was first introduced to cater for the anticipated tourist influx during Visit Malaysia Year 2007 and it was officially introduced nationwide on September 1, 2006, was in line with Malaysia Immigration Act as an effort to encourage more tourists particularly from China and India (sarawaktourism.com 2009). But in 2010, there are major changes in the VOA policies. According to the news Malaysia in 2010 cancelled its “Visa on Arrival” facility for applicants from India after forty thousand visitors from the nation “abused” it. The same has been confirmed by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyideein Yassin. This instance has provoked the instance of misuse of fake applicants. The decision was later applied to tourists from other countries as the government announced that the Visa on Arrival (VOA) had officially been completely abolished for all countries that have been given this facility. Countries from the Indian Sub-Continental, including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan as well as other countries such as China, Myanmar, Taiwan and the Comoros who had received these benefits are no longer eligible for Visa on Arrival at any entry points into Malaysia. (abhinav.com 2010).

 

2.2.1.2      VOA in Singapore

 

To enter Singapore, as mentioned above foreigners will be required to apply for entry visas or other permit documents, however, Singapore has made visa-free (or visa-on-arrival) arrangements with many countries. There are also differentiated VOA policies applied in different countries groups. There are several key benefits of adopting a visa on arrival policy on the certain partnership countries: first of all, the fact that the partnership countries are chosen on a selective basis suggests the Singapore government tries to avoid the abuse of the visa on arrival from certain countries; secondly, the visa on arrival policy could be used as the source of bargaining power in the political arena; thirdly, visa on arrival has simplified the procedures of visa application which tends to be subject on approval and takes much longer time, it encourages the visits to the country for either personal purposes such as tourist, academic purposes or business purposes.

 

2.2.2            Employment pass

 

2.2.2.1      Eligibility in applying for employment pass in Malaysia

 

In Malaysia the entry of foreign nationals is governed by the Immigration Act 1963 which also determines the types of employment passes that can be applied for by those who aspire to work in this country. The administration authority for immigration related matters is the Immigration Department of Malaysia (IDM), which is placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Home Affairs (biotechcorp.com.my 2009). According to the relevant regulations in the Immigration Act, there are three key requirements to be met by the expatriate applicants in order for them to work in the territory of Malaysia in a legal manner: (a) a minimum per month salary of 5000 ringgits; (b) aged 27 or above; and (c) a minimum 5 years in the relevant field. All these three requirements actually are generally consider as harsh and a showcase of how the government desires to protect the domestic employment by setting up employment pass requirements as high as to this extent. We will elaborate this employee pass relevant issues which are the key concern for us, as foreign expatriates planning to work in this country.

 

2.2.2.2      Eligibility in applying for employment pass in Singapore

 

There are two classifications of employment pass – P and Q. The first of these, the P pass is for foreigners holding acceptable tertiary/professional qualifications or extensive experience seeking professional, administrative, executive or managerial jobs or who are entrepreneurs or investors. A P1 pass is for those with incomes of above $8000 and a P2 pass is for those with incomes of between $4500 and $8000. And for those whose income is above $3000 and you have basic educational qualifications (at least 5 GCE ‘O’ levels OR a full NTC-2 certificate), one already can apply for a Q1 pass. In addition, there is a special type of Employment Pass called an EntrePass with founders of start ups in mind (expatsingapore.com 2012). Such gradual classification provides wide chance for employment for a wide range of foreign professional in different age groups.

 

2.3    In transit issues

 

In transit” refers to traveling from the point of departure to the destination and returning, or traveling between points on an itinerary (mit.edu 2010). Because of the fact that both good travelling and human travelling tend to have complicated routes because of the different final destinations and also enhanced by the geographical constrains as well as policy and diplomatic restrictions, the term of “in transit” is always a key part in any immigration law systems. The “in transit” issues are even of greater importance in the case of Singapore and Malaysia because of their strategic position in the international transportations in particular in term of their closeness and vicinity to the Strait of Malacca which from an economic and strategic perspective is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world (Wu & Zou 2009). Below let us review the relevant regulations regarding to the in transit issues which could be generally categorized into two groups: Passengers in transit related and Goods in transit related, but we will focus on the passengers in transit issues.

 

In Malaysia, the Transit Visa is issued to applicants who wish to enter Malaysia on transit to other countries. Transit visa can be issued upon arrival for a stay of maximum of 120 hours (extension not possible) if: (a) Passenger arrives and departs from the same point and not through any other points; (b). Holding confirmed onward ticket and all documents required for next destination. In Singapore, the provision of the transition visa is different. Nationals of the Commonwealth of Independent States and Georgia may be granted entry into Singapore without visas if they are on transit to or from a third country. However, they are required to fulfill the following conditions: (a) They are in transit to or from a third country; (b) They hold

l  A valid passport

l  A confirmed onward air-ticket

l  Entry facilities (including visa) to the third country

l  Sufficient funds for the period of stay in Singapore

l  They continue their journey to the third country within the 96-hour visa free period granted

l  They satisfy Singapore’s entry requirements, as determined by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority officers at the Singapore Checkpoints.

 

So similarly, there are no major between the two countries in issuing the transit visa but obviously, Malaysia issues a transit visa that last one more day than that of Singapore, probably due to Malaysia is a hot tourist destination.

 

2.4    Removal from the country

 

Foreign nationals are removed if and when it has been determined that their entry is barred, and if it has been established that they are ineligible for asylum and protection programs. The immigration laws of the majority countries in Asia provide mechanisms that regulate the removal of illegal entrants, immigration offenders and those foreigners whose presence in the country pose a threat to the national security. But few countries provide legislation that guides the decision about the destination of the deportation (Schloenhardt 2003).

 

2.4.1            Power of the controller

 

Though few countries provide legislation that guides the decision about the destination of the deportation, the power of the controller is usually well defined in the relevant laws. For example, in Singapore, according to Immigration Act (session 31), controller are given the following power to remove the prohibited immigrants: (1) The Controller may at any time by order in writing, direct any person qualified in the subsection (2) to remove, within the given period as may be specified in the order, a prohibited immigrant who has arrived in Singapore; (2) an order under subsection (1) shall be made against and served on- (a) the master of the vessel, aircraft or train which first brought the prohibited immigrant to Singapore or (b) the master of any other vessel, aircraft or train belonging to the same owner or chartered by the same character of the vessel, aircraft or train mentioned in the paragraph (a); (3) the controller may take such action or use such force as may be necessary to ensure that an order under the section is complied with. (4) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (3), the controller may, by order in writing, direct the person against whom an order under this section is made, not to move his vessel, aircraft or train unless the prohibited immigrant name in that order is on board the vessel, aircraft or train.

 

In case of the Malaysia Immigration Act (session 10), the following power are given to the relevant authorities: (1) Any immigration officer, police officer or officer of customs may arrest without warrant any person whom he reasonably believes as committed or is attempting to commit an offence under this Act. (2) In the exercise of his powers of arrest under subsection (1), an immigration officer or an officer of customs shall be bound to comply with section 28 of the Criminal Procedure Code [Act 593]. (3) Where any person has been arrested under subsection (1), he shall thereafter be dealt with as provided by the Criminal Procedure Code. (4) A senior immigration officer, senior police officer or senior officer of customs may, in relation to any investigation in respect of a sizeable offence committed under this Act, exercise the special powers in relation to police investigations given by the Criminal Procedure Code.

 

Though stated differently, Immigration Act in these two selected countries have both legally authorized the relevant authorities and immigration officials the supreme power to remove the prohibited visitors who have already arrived in the countries using any means necessary to facilitate such removal. But differences could be found in the case Singapore where a writing order is needed to start the reveal removal process which seems to be performing the immigration function in a more formalized way to ensure those being removed are eligible for such removal as well as ensuring the rightness and appropriateness of these actions in term adhering to the content and specifications mentioned in the order.

 

3.        Law enforcement and implementations issues

 

3.1    Overstays

 

“Overstay” refers to the situation when a visitor to a country does not leave the country or remains in the country even after the date approved. “Overstay” becomes reasonable grounds for sanctions to be instituted against the foreign national. While overstay in both selected country are strongly not advised, there are differences for the handling of the overstay issues according to the respective immigration law.

 

 

3.1.1            Overstay issues in case of Malaysia

 

Malaysian immigration authorities routinely detain foreigners who overstay their social visit passes (visas). In light of the arrests of several U.S. citizens in connection with immigration sweeps conducted by Malaysian police and immigration authorities, all foreigners from any countries are expected to follow the relevant regulations and avoid overstaying in Malaysia. Depending upon the nature of the violation, detentions may last from a few hours to several weeks, pending a formal hearing (). In the most serious cases, as stated Section 15(4) Immigration Act 1959/63, stay exceeding the expiry date/cancellation of visit pass will result in an offence. The penalty for an offence could be a fine not exceeding RM10,000.00 or to imprisonment for a exceeding 5 years or both (imi.gov.my 2011).

 

3.1.2            Overstay issues in case of Singapore

 

Visitors are reminded highly expected that it is a punishable offence to overstay in Singapore beyond the number of days given. If there is a need to stay beyond the period granted, visitors are expected to apply for an extension of stay online via e-XTEND or walk in application because there would be much more serious penalty than merely monetary penalty. Under the Singapore Immigration Act, the penalty for illegal entry is a jail term of up to six months, plus a minimum of three strokes of the cane. The penalties for overstaying (exceeding 90 days) are – a jail term not exceeding six months, and caning not less than three strokes. In cases where caning cannot be administered, the offender will be fined up to $6,000 (learn4good.com 2008).

 

3.2    Efficiency of Visa application

 

In the scenario of Singapore, visa applications are to be submitted to the Consulate-General from Mondays to Fridays, from 9.00 am to 11.00 am. Alternatively, visa applications can be submitted through authorized visa agents. For the Level 1 passport holders, the processing time is generally 3 working days (including the day of submission). For Level 2 passport holders, the processing time is generally 5 working days (including the day of submission). And in term of the cost of application, take the Chinese applicants as an example the Visa Processing Fee is RMB 153 per application (around RM 75). The fee collected is non-refundable regardless of the outcome of the application or if the application is withdrawn after submission (mfa.gov.sg 2008).

 

In the scenario of Malaysia, for example, by applying the visa in Chinese Embassy in Malaysia, it usually takes 4 working days for processing visa application. And the rush service of 1 working day processing and the express service of 2-3 working days processing are also available. One needs to pay for RM140 for rush service or RM100 for express service. While the embassy only accepts the local currency of the Malaysian Ringgit, the normal Visa fee per person is listed in the table below:

 

Visa TypesVisa Types Malaysian Citizen Citizens of Other Countries
Single-Entry RM 30 RM 130
Double-Entry RM 50 RM 200
Multi-Entry with 6-month Validity RM 80 RM 250
Multi-Entry with 12-month Validity RM 120 RM 400
Multi-Entry with 24-month Validity RM 120 Null

Table 1 normal Visa fee per person

Source: lcct.com.my 2010

 

Based on the above statements of the two countries’ visa application, in term of both handling time and related charges and fees there are not major differences between the two countries though the charges imposed in the scenario of Malaysia seems to be higher than that charged in Singapore.

 

3.3    Effectiveness: issues relevant to illegal immigrants

 

4.        Critical thinking session

 

4.1    Regarding the employment pass application requirements

 

As mentioned above, based on the requirements from Immigration Department of Malaysia (IDM), which is placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Home Affairs, and also according to the relevant regulations in the Immigration Act, there are three key requirements to be met by the expatriate applicants in order for them to work in the territory of Malaysia in a legal manner:

 

l  A minimum per month salary of 5000 ringgits;

l  Aged 27 or above; and

l  A minimum 5 years in the relevant field.

 

Though such high requirement of the applicants could be understood as a reflection of the Malaysia government’s intention to attract the high quality professionals, in my understanding, they show a very negative attitude from the government to the foreign expatriates since the majority of us will not meet such high requirements. In comparison the Singapore counterpart has provided much friendly offer in term of the application requirements for the employment pass. First of all, the governments provides various passes such as the training work permit or entrepass as alternatives to the long term based employment passes for those beginners in searching for a new job; secondly, even in term of the employment pass, the more humanized classification of the employment pass has actually encouraged the current working expatriates to work in a longer period by applying for the higher level of employment pass; thirdly, flexibility and convenience in term of change of employers and upgrading and renewal of the visa is provided adequately in Singapore. One key topic here shows such differences is the change of employer. In Singapore, employment pass holders must apply for a new pass whenever they change employers. There is no need to cancel the existing pass prior to application for a new pass. Ministry of Manpower evaluates each application for a new pass based the applicant’s qualifications, work experience, and employer credentials. A new pass will be issued once the old pass is cancelled (rikvin.com 2011). In comparison, in Malaysia in the case of an expatriate who holds a valid working permit with a company and wishes to move on to a new employment with another company, the present work permit would have to be cancelled accordingly. No transfer of a work permit from one company to another is permitted and a fresh application will need to be made (woorimanage.com 2011). In my past two years’ working as executive customer service (ECS) under the Air Asia project in a MSC status company, I had always been considering changing to a new job which is more suitable to me and fits in my carrier life design in my plan for the future work life, but even when I later actually had found out such a position that I prefer and also the employers were satisfied with my job skills and work experiences, my desired change encountered several key considerations that finally kill my plan. First of all, my previous employment pass under a MSC status company received loose requirements such as the age restriction and working experience demand, but since my new potential employer is not a MSC status company, strict adherence to the relevant Immigration Act clauses such as the minimum 27 year age had actually made my desire change of employer impossible; secondly, a minimum per month salary of RM 5000 was too high for an normal employer since the average monthly salary for a local staff in the similar office positions would be offered only around RM 2000 which means that I need to provide job performance that is equal to that offered by two local staffs in total; thirdly, another fatal requirement for the change of employer is that according to the Immigration Act, there is a three month cooling period after the ending of my last work permit and this period of time in waiting is not acceptable for most employers. And in a word, being under the employment in Malaysia was not a happy experience for me to pursue my career targets.

 

4.2    Regarding the work related support service

 

The issue of the work related support service provided by the government might not be much closed to the topic of this study which is about the immigration law of Malaysia with comparison made with the immigration system in Singapore, but it is actually very necessary to be mentioned when one wants to understand the Immigration Act thoroughly as a foreigner. I have to make some complaints here regarding my working here in Malaysia. I believe that the government does not welcome the foreigners to be working in this country. For example, we were required to report the tax and salary information to the tax department regularly, but I never mange to do that because the documents and forms sent to us by letter are all in Malay and it is very complicated to finish one of those copies since they are long in length and also written in Malay only as just said.

 

In another field regarding the social welfare, we were given the insurance which was paid by the government, but in comparison to the local counterparts, we received a lot less in term of various other protections such as the EPF (a MSC status never advises us to take up the EPF option because they say it is not necessary for a foreigner to do so), this had made the majority of us believe that we are not encouraged to work here in this country since no comprehensive protections and long term welfare are given to us to encourage a longer stay.

 

 

 

5.        Concluding remarks

 

To conclude the above analysis and comparison, in general we can see much similarity in between the Immigration Act of the two selected countries, Malaysia and Singapore, which are both built with the major legal source and origin from the English common law. For instance, they both authorize the controller to have overwhelming power to protect the home country’s safety by checking any traveler or ships that may impose risks to the country and both countries imposes serious penalty to those offenders; but there are also several major differences between the two countries in term of the detailed Immigration Act setting and implementation. First of all, Singapore side follows stricter and more standardized procedures in issuing any legal actions suggesting that their implementation and adherence to the Immigration Act are more controlled and restricted which a good showcase of the more matured legal systems; secondly, Singapore also charges less in term of handling the procedures such as the visa applications which reduce the cost spent in immigration related actions and behaviors which further encourage the business operations in the country; thirdly, by reviewing my personal working experience as well as my travel experience in Singapore with the knowledge learnt from both the classroom and the society, I would say that the Immigration Act in Singapore provide a much convenient immigration service in term of providing the visa for school graduates as well as change of employers during the work period and also the consistent visa upgrading service; Last but not least, the supplementary immigration service such as the tax reporting and clearance is not convenient enough in Malaysia for the foreign expatriates and such details actually very much contribute to the perception of alienation among these foreign expatriates.

 

 

Reference list

 

abhinav.com 2010. Malaysia Revokes its Visa on Arrival (VOA) Facility for Indians! Accessed on 16 Apr 2012 [online] available: http://blog.abhinav.com/malaysia-revokes-its-visa-on-arrival-voa-facility-for-indians/

 

abhinav.com 2009. Singapore as a Leading Immigration Destination. Accessed on 16 Apr 2012 [online] available: http://www.abhinav.com/singapore.aspx

 

biotechcorp.com.my 2009. GUIDELINES ON EMPLOYMENT PASS APPLICATION IN MALAYSI. Accessed on 16 Apr 2012 [online] available: http://www.biotechcorp.com.my/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/downloads_aboutmalaysia/Guidelines_on_Employment_Pass_Applications_in_Malaysia_V1.pdf

 

CIA.gov 2012, Introduction: Malaysia. Accessed on 16 Apr 2012 [online] available: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/my.html

 

expatforum.com 2010. Malaysia Visas, Permits and Immigration. Accessed on 16 Apr 2012 [online] available: http://www.expatforum.com/articles/visas-permits-and-immigration/malaysia-visas-permits-and-immigration.html

 

expatsingapore.com 2012. Employment Passes and Work Permits for Singapore. Accessed on 16 Apr 2012 [online] available: http://www.expatsingapore.com/content/view/1140

 

iatatravelcentre.com 2011. Malaysia Customs, Currency & Airport Tax regulations details. Accessed on 16 Apr 2012 [online] available: http://www.iatatravelcentre.com/MY-Malaysia-customs-currency-airport-tax-regulations-details.htm

 

ica.gov.sg 2011. Immigration & Checkpoints Authority. Accessed on 16 Apr 2012 [online] available: http://www.ica.gov.sg/

 

ica.gov.sg 2011 Entry Requirements. Accessed on 16 Apr 2012 [online] available: http://www.ica.gov.sg/page.aspx?pageid=95

 

imi.gov.my 2011. Staying In Malaysia Beyond The Approved Period. Accessed on 16 Apr 2012 [online] available: www.imi.gov.my

 

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Wu, S. & Zou, K. 2009. Maritime Security in the South China Sea: Regional Implications and International Cooperation. Surrey, GU: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Appendix 1.0 The immigrant population facts in Malaysia

Source: CIA World Factbook, December 2003

 

[1] The difference between the number of persons entering and leaving a country during the year per 1,000 persons (based on midyear population). An excess of persons entering the country is referred to as net immigration