Foreigners who require entry visas to Malaysia will first have to register using an unique biometric system at the country’s embassies to deter visa fraud, a top immigration official has said here.
Touted to be the first-of-its-kind “Bio-Visa” to be introduced in the world, those who do not comply with the Immigration Department’s proposed Biometric-Visa will be slapped with a “Not to Land” (NTL) notice and turned back.
Under the proposal, the fingerprints of the foreigners will be verified at the embassies and again at the entry points in Malaysia.
Biometric screening is a fingerprint scanning system with security features to match an individual’s identity with the data recorded in the passports.
Immigration Director-General Alias Ahmad said that the fingerprint verification system was a key initiative under the second phase of the department’s Transformation Plan to be unveiled on Dec 1.
Alias said 38 countries were placed in Malaysia’s visa list which included China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Myanmar.
“Tourists from China and India top the list of those entering Malaysia using a visa,” he said.
Last year, 1.25 million visitors from China and 693,056 from India entered Malaysia.
Alias said the Bio-Visa system would be implemented in stages, starting with countries with the highest number of visitors into Malaysia.
He said that the department’s proposal was much more comprehensive compared to the UK Border Agency which only conducted biometric screening on suspicious foreign visitors.
“But we will impose biometric checks on every foreign visitor using a visa. A second check will be done at our entry points.
“There have been cases of individuals who do not qualify for a visa resorting to identity fraud to enter the country.
Surely these cannot be genuine tourists,” he told Star Online.
The threat of visitor fraud exists because a total of 22,157 foreign visitors were issued NTL notices last year.
From January to September this year, 17,828 NTLs were recorded at the KL International Airport and Low-Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang.