911 will not discourage Malaysians from studying in US:EMBASSY
The September 11 tragedy would not discourage Malaysians from taking up diploma or degree courses in accredited colleges and universities in the United States, due to the flexibility of the visa process called F-1 visa (student visa). Andrew Miller, the general consul of the American Embassy in Malaysia, disclosed this to The Borneo Post while interacting with over 20 potential students in the Lincoln Corner at the State Library here yesterday. According to Andrew, potential Malaysian students need not be anxious of the new US policies on visa application and generally, the number of students is increasing every year, even after the September 11. “For example, nine out of 10 students applying for the visa have been approved. It has nothing to do with the tragedy and it has never discouraged determined applicants to visit, study and even work part time or full time (during a semester break) in the US. When asked for his view on a past incident where a Malaysian with a middle name of “Bin”had a hard time entering US and was informed that a Sabahan carrying the middle name ‘Bin’ need not be a Muslim, he explained: “We understand the students’ concern. That is why we are here to clarify things and to assist them. We are open minded in this matter. Whatever new policies implemented are due to security reason, but as I said, it need not be that hard, that is why we have approved 90 percent of the applicants since 2001. The approval rate is our commitment to encourage Malaysians to study in the US.” On the latest opportunities for students to study and earn a living in the US Andrew said there are various ways to earn a living. When the students enroll for the academic studies (diplomas and degrees) that require Optional Practical Training (OPT), they are eligible for up to 12 months of work experience which is paid hourly. “Students carrying the F-1 visa and allowed to do OPT need not apply for a work permit but have to show an 1-20 Form signed by his or her college officer for approval to take OPT, depending on the academic requirements. ‘Besides OPT, the students could also enrol1 for the paid internship programs should they enroll for the academic studies that require a completion of internships, for example, in the travel industry management and engineering. ‘Sbould the students’ studies do not require an OPT or internship, but they wish to work due to financial problem, they could apply for the ‘Academic Hardship’ work permit that would enable them to study and work for any number of hours (full time or part time) in any organizations,” he said. According to Andrew further, after their graduation, the US Government would offer the graduates an opportunity to work in any industry that favours them. They could also apply for a PR (permanent resident) or normally known as green card. When they hold a green card, they need not give up their Malaysian citizenship.