British gov`t to review visa-free facility granted to Malaysians

Putrajaya, Malaysia (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - The British government will review the visa-free facility granted to Malaysia, which is one of the Commonwealth countries.

Raja Azahar Raja Abdul Manap, senior deputy secretary general of the Malaysian Home Affairs Ministry, made the remarks in Putrajaya, Malaysia`s federal administration center, on Thursday.

According to Raja Azahar, Malaysians visiting the U.K. for less than three months are exempted from applying for a visa, but an annual review would be made on the mechanism, given the fact that a huge number of Malaysians are overstaying in the U.K..

Raja Azahar said it was estimated that there were 20,000 Malaysians overstaying in the U.K., putting Malaysia in the third place among other visa-waiver countries to the U.K.

However, the actual figure was yet to be determined, added Raja Azahar.

Earlier, Raja Azahar held a three-hour closed-door meeting with a five-member delegation led by Barbara Woodward, international director of the U.K. Border Agency.

Raja Azahar said due to certain constraints, the British government could not share some data with Malaysia, else the Malaysian government would refuse to renew the passports of those who had overstayed in the U.K.

Meanwhile, Woodward said the British government welcomes Malaysians to travel, study and work in the U.K., as both countries have been enjoying close relationship and cooperation.

She also noted that officials from both countries have touched on several issues of mutual interest, including illegal immigration, combating transborder crime and bilateral collaboration during the meeting.