Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Spot Check

My serene Monday afternoon yesterday was surprised by the visitation of three local immigration officers to our house. When I was in the midst of working on something in my room, my Mother-in-Law suddenly screamed my name and asked me to go downstairs immediately. She said, "Some government people are here to check your visa! I have called your husband to go home (from office) too."

After the officers formally introduced themselves, my Mother-in-Law let them go inside our house. There were two male officers (one was carrying a DSLR camera) and one female officer carrying some document folders. Two of the officers did a brief interview on me in Bahasa Melayu and asked me to show them my marriage certificate and passport. The other one was busy taking photos of our house and me being interviewed in the living hall.

The officers explained that they do this kind of random check on foreigners in Malaysia to verify whether their stated address, visa, etc.. are valid since half of the foreigners-with-staying-visa cases in Malaysia are often fraudulent. Actually, when my husband and I got my very first long-term spouse visa approval here about two years ago, we were once told that the local immigration office might do a spot check in the foreigner's residence on yearly basis just to make sure that their current paperwork is legit and they are not breaking any laws. For us, finally, that day came yesterday.

Moving on, after the interview in the living room, the officers requested to see my bedroom upstairs! Three of them went up to my room and one of them took photos of my room, bed and wedding photos on the wall. They asked me to sit on my bed and took photo of me there, which honestly was too tall an order for me because at one point, this request made me feel like I was a criminal. However, they said it's their new procedure so we had to do it. What made me more embarrassed was the fact that I presented them with the sight of my underwear and newly bought nursing bras hanging to dry in my room when they came in yesterday and one of the officers made a joke about it to my Mother-in-Law. Oh well, how would I know that some strangers would be entering my bedroom yesterday?

Next, we all went back to the living room downstairs and soon, my husband arrived home. The officers chatted with my husband and again, they took photos of my husband and me together in the living room, our marriage certificate and my passport as proofs. After that, they got no more further question for us and left our house.

What an afternoon to start the week! I have lived in the Netherlands and Singapore for many years but never had a shocking inspection at home like yesterday. I guess Malaysia is just very different.

Last but not least - for foreigners in Malaysia out there who happen to read this post, as long you can show the immigration officers your valid visa documents and passport during the spot check in your house, fret nothing. These guys are just doing their duties anyway.

8 comments:

  1. WOW! You have such a wonderful outlook to this matter. I'm glad everything worked out okay for you :)

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  2. That sounds so scary.. Half-way reading the blog, I was anticipating for a worse situation. I mean..if it happen in our home country, I'd probably freak out and leave the house, for fear of fake officers who turn out to be robbers or worst rap..ts! >.< Thanks God it's not the case in Malaysia! Be safe! Be vigilant! Hahaa... Having said all that, wishing you a smooth delivery and healthy baby coming September ya Chris :)

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    1. If I was alone at home yesterday, I probably would not open the door for them even though these people were in their uniforms. I would have to make them wait outside until my husband came home. Anyhow, I think their request to see and take photos of our bedroom upstairs was just a bit too much. I really wonder why they had to do it... Thanks for the best wishes for me and the baby, Irene!

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  3. Wow, if someone made such requests of me I would assume they were fraudsters. The request to see the bedroom and take photos of you on the bed seems so freaky and I'm not quite sure what it achieves.

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    1. Precisely. The whole experience was just not pleasant. I am glad they don't do it very often.

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  4. Oh my! I didn't know this could happened in Malaysia. Thanks for sharing your story!

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  5. Happened to me...they came in few months after i get my marriage visa back in 2011...but they didnt even come inside my house, juz standing outside the house and took my photo in front of the gate...some interview, thats all..and also my husband was not arround that time, he work outstation..mine is Shah Alam imigresen..
    Btw Cristine, nice to meet you here...

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    1. It's a scary experience indeed! Hope it doesn't happen again. Nice meeting you here too. :)

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