Because they could not work under a student visa, many were left with little choice but to take up any jobs they could just to buy a ticket home. — Picture by Choo Choy May Because they could not work under a student visa, many were left with little choice but to take up any jobs they could just to buy a ticket home. — Picture by Choo Choy May KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — Thousands of Bangladeshis who forked out thousands of ringgits to secure a place in private colleges have been cheated out of their cash and are now working as cheap labourers to repay their debts, a report claimed today.

The Star reported that some paid over RM20,000 to secure student visas and admission into these bogus institutions, but upon arrival realised that the so-called colleges did not offer any real classes.

Because they could not work under a student visa, many were left with little choice but to take up any jobs they could just to buy a ticket home, or pay their agents again to renew their student visas so they could work in the country longer.

“I can’t go home, because family spent all their money on the agent fees. Now, I need to work here to pay for my father’s medicine,” a 24-year-old unnamed victim was quoted as saying.

Another victim said his family had to take up a loan, with a monthly instalment of 21,000 Bangladeshi taka (RM1,100), to finance his trip here to study.

“In my college, there were around 200 to 250 Bangladeshi students, but only 30 to 35 have renewed their visas. Where the rest are, we don’t know,” he was quoted as saying.

One of the agent told the English daily that a man titled “Datuk” owns one of the colleges, claiming the latter has trafficked more than 8,000 Bangladeshis into the country.

“Bangladeshi students are easy and quick money,” the agent, a Nepal national, was quoted as saying.

“Bring in 200 and 300 of them, then distribute them [among the colleges], then you will make your money,” he added.

He reportedly admitted enrolling 3,000 Bangladeshi students in one of the colleges.

In a related report, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and Immigration director general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali have pledged to tackle the problem, with the former saying it was “sinful” for colleges to use such a tactic against these victims.

“I really feel bad for the victims. But I don’t just want to use strong language. I want action. I want to put an end to this,” he was quoted as saying.

Mustafar, meanwhile, said his department will help the Higher Education ministry on the matter.

“We will come down hard on the institutions and agents. If [the victims] come forward to Immigration, we will investigate for sure,” he was quoted as saying.



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