Warwick Year Abroad students stranded in Malaysia after passports being withheld

Their passports were still being processed by the Uni when it went into shutdown

Warwick students currently are reportedly unable to return home, as their passports are still being held by a foreign university.

Exchange students handed their passports to Monash University for VISA processing five weeks ago. However, due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysia has gone into lockdown, and students have been told they cannot have their passports back until lockdown ends.

An email sent to an exchange student by the head of Exchange at the University, and seen by The Warwick Tab, says “no one will be able to do any work relating to your passport during the lockdown” and “none of the Monash staff are allowed to work on campus.”

“This is a shit show, but that gives shit a bad name,” a student told The Warwick Tab.

An email sent out to students said: “You must not come to campus. If you try to come to campus you will be denied entry.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised all Brits to repatriate. Last week, Warwick students on years abroad were urged by staff to stay in the UK.

The statement from the FCO warns against “all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.”

One student told The Warwick Tab the British consulates advised students over the phone they could not purchase a new passport or emergency travel document as their original passports have not been lost.

In an email seen by The Warwick Tab, a member of the Study Abroad Resource team at Warwick University advised students “contact the Monash Abroad office as soon as possible, as they will be able to advise and assist you properly.”

With the growing international travel bans, students are worried about their inability to travel home in the near future.

A Warwick student told The Warwick Tab: “The incompetence that the Malaysian immigration offices have displayed has been unbelievable.

“Holding our passports for this long should be illegal.”

In an email seen by The Warwick Tab, a Warwick Staff member told a student in Malaysia the University is trying to get the students’ passports back “as a priority.”

Warwick University has been contacted for further comment.