Job Scenario and Residency Process in Malaysia

Category: Study Destinations
Posted on September 06, 2019

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country that lies to the north of the equator. The country is divided into two areas by the South China Sea, East Malaysia, and West Malaysia. Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, known for precious natural resources and incredible biodiversity in the rainforests of the country.

Malaysia is also known for its higher education and is ranked 11th as the most favored study destination in the world, by UNESCO. With cost-effective and top-quality education standards, Malaysia is rapidly becoming a popular destination among international students. Malaysia provides quality education, ensuring all the qualifications are recognized globally. As a result, its educational institutes are counted within the top 200 universities in the world. English is used as the primary language used for all courses and study programs conducted at private higher educational institutions.  

Staying away from home is stressful, and many international students think of taking up some jobs while studying to overcome living expenses. Malaysia allows international students to work part-time for 20 hours per week. Students are encouraged to work in mini markets, restaurants and cafes, hotels, and petrol stations. However, students are not allowed to work as a cashier, singer, masseur, musician, or other such jobs.

Job Scenario in Malaysia

Planning to move into any country, one should always do some research on a few things such as the economy, job availability, and the language of the country. 

In recent past Malaysia has gradually transformed from a raw material producer to an innovation-based industrial economy. Thus making the Malaysian economy, one of the most successful in Asia and is ranked as the third-largest economy in ASEAN. 

Malaysia is a popular destination with a growing number of the highly-qualified local workforce, so getting a job is not easy. But one can look among the sectors where there are skills shortages to find the opportunities available. There are several restrictions imposed on employing foreigners in the country. An organization can only recruit international worker if, there are no qualified Malaysians to fill the position. With skilled local population and unemployment rate at 3.3%, the job market of the country is very competitive. In this scenario, knowledge of the local language, Malay can enhance the chances of an individual to grab an excellent job opportunity. 

Let's have a look at the potential sectors were one can look for the job opportunities in the country.

·       Finance

The finance sector is one of the significant contributors to the economy of Malaysia. It offers a variety of financial services from micro-finance to individual loans for farmers, who are tied to growing seasons and funding small- and medium-scale enterprises.

·       Electrical and electronics (E&E)

The Electrical and Electronics industry is the key driver of 'Malaysia's industrial development and contributes significantly to 'country's economy and employment. Malaysia is a crucial player in the fast-expanding E&E market. It exports its products to Singapore, the United States, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, Mexico, India, and the UAE.

·       Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

ICT is recognized as the critical sector in the country. Malaysia is a popular destination for US companies for its expansion in the global market. Some of the major U.S. companies that are well established in Malaysia are IBM, HP, Intel, Google, Amazon, Cisco, and many others. 

·       Petrochemicals

Petrochemical is one of the essential industries in Malaysia. With the help of its petrochemical plants, Malaysia was able to transform its status from being a net importer to a net exporter in this sector. Some of the leading petrochemical companies in Malaysia include PETRONAS Chemicals Group Berhad, Lotte Chemical Titan (M) Sdn. Bhd., BASF PETRONAS Chemical Sdn. Bhd., Toray Group, Kaneka Group, and Idemitsu.

·       Tourism

The tourism industry is very significant in Malaysia, not only in terms of value-added but also in employment. With extensively stunning landscapes, multi-cultural experiences, and the world-renowned "Malaysia Truly Asia" catchphrase, the tourism industry in Malaysia has successfully contributed to the 'nation's economy. Malaysia is ranked 9th in the world on the basis number of tourist arrivals. 

·       Hospitality

With the expansion of tourism in Malaysia, the hospitality sector also witnessed a boom. It led to an increase in hospitality sector jobs to meet the demands created with growth in the tourism sector.

·       Pharmaceuticals

The growth of the pharmaceutical industry can be attributed to general medicine production and the import of other patented medicines to meet local demands. The Malaysian pharmaceutical sector is also one of the focus areas of NKEA (National Key Economic Area). Some of the major domestic companies in the industry include Pharmaniaga, CCM Pharmaceuticals, Kotra Pharma, Hovid, and Xepa-Soul Pattinson. Apart from these some prominent foreign-owned manufacturers are established here, such as Oncogen Pharma, Y.S.P. Industries, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Ranbaxy, and Biocon.

·       Biotechnology

Biotechnology is one of the crucial sectors in an economy that can lead the nation to become a high-income advanced nation by 2020. For the past eight years, Malaysia is working on its biotechnology system to develop its local industry and create a place for itself as a renowned biotechnology hub of Asia.

·       Automotive

The automotive industry is an essential and strategic part of the manufacturing sector of the country. There 27 manufacturing and assembly plants in Malaysia and more than 600 automotive component manufacturers. The industry employs a large number of people, both directly and indirectly.

·       Aerospace

It is currently a growing sector and to promote this sector government has come up with the Malaysian Aerospace Industry Blueprint 2030. It is a long term plan to develop the aerospace industry in Malaysia until 2030 and aims to make Malaysia the leading aerospace nation in South East Asia by the year 2030. In Malaysia, there are more than 200 aerospace companies, both international and local.

·       Basic Metal

The industry plays a crucial role in the development of the manufacturing and construction sectors. There are currently 832 projects and employs around 75,000 workers. The Malaysian iron and steel sub-sector, in particular, has the potential to generate up to 6.5 % of GDP growth and provide up to 225,000 job opportunities in 2020.

·       Construction

The construction sector is one of a significant player in the economy of the country in term of revenue generation, capital formation, and employment creation. 

·       Medical Technology

The industry consists of over 200 manufacturers with an investment of RM14.2 billion, making Malaysia an up-and-coming global medical device manufacturing hub. More than 30 MNCs have established their manufacturing centers in Malaysia such as Abbott, Agilent, B. Braun, C.R. Bard, Teleflex, Resmed, Ciba Vision, Ambu, Toshiba Medical Systems, and Haemonetics. These companies, contributed to the development of a large local supply chain, benefitting many domestic players. The future of the medical device industry is promising, which will help in creating high-income jobs, generating higher export value, and reinforcing the local supply chain ecosystem.

·       Furniture 

This industry is an essential contributor to the Malaysian economy. Malaysia is the eighth largest exporter of furniture in the world, 80 % of which is wood-based. Its leading overseas markets are the USA, EU, Japan, and Australia. The industry comprises over 3,500 mostly locally-owned companies that are located mainly in Johor, Selangor, and Pulau Pinang.

·       Logistics

The rise of e-commerce in the country has led to more and more companies to invest in logistics. The companies are interested in areas, such as cold chain logistics, last-mile delivery services, etc. and it is expanding due to the high margins and rising demand.

·       Food and Beverages

It is a fast-growing industry characterized by a large export market. The most significant F&B exports are in the oils and fats based category, mainly the palm oil-based products. Small and medium scale companies mostly dominate the industry. The industry is among one of the biggest employers in the country.

·       Education

The most common and promising job for a foreigner is teaching English, in a school or giving private lessons. There is an increased demand in the education sector, as many schools are introducing subjects that are in English. 

Besides these, some major multinational companies are established in Malaysia such as Accenture, CIMB Group, Exxon Mobil, HSBC, KPMG, Maybank, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Public Bank Berhad, Schlumberger, and Shell. These companies are always on the looking out for foreign employees. 

Where to look for Jobs

· The easiest way to get a job is to look for a vacancy in an international company in your native country and then get transferred to its offices in Malaysia. 

· Internet: The Malaysia Jobs Directory offers an overview of the most popular Malaysian job-hunting websites.

· Newspapers and magazines: both regional and nationally such as the New Straits Times and the Star.

· Direct applications to the company

CV and Application

The essential section of a Malaysian application is the CV with an attached photo, along with a cover letter. Both CV and Cover letter should be to the point and objective. A CV should include:

· Personal details 

· Education

· Professional work experience

· Further qualification such as advanced training and skill enhancement

· Language and computer skills (the level of proficiency)

· Further information such as exchange programs, volunteer work 

Cover letter

The cover letter should include your motivation for the desired position, qualifications, and skills in a professional tone. One can also add their language skills. Please remember the cover letter should be concise.

Working hours

In Malaysia, the employees are required to work for 48 hours per week (Monday-Saturday) with the working hours starting from 9 am to 5 pm. An employee is entitled to a minimum of ten days of annual leave and 12 public holidays, observed every year.

Now once you get a job in Malaysia, one may think of how to process things further. So 'let's discuss this.

To study, live, and work anywhere in the world, one needs a visa and the residence permit. 

Please note for visa-related queries, please visit:

Permanent Residence for Malaysia

The essential requirement for getting the permanent residence of the country is the five years stay in the country under a long term visa.


An individual who is eligible for the permanent residence of the country can be divided into the following categories:

1. High net worth individual (most straightforward way to get PR)

· One has to open a fixed deposit account in Malayasian Bank and deposit a minimum of USD 2 million in the account. One can take out the money only after five years

· Can bring the family (spouse and children below 18 years) with them. The family members can apply for PR after their five years of stay in the country.

2. Experts

· Person with talents and skills in specific industries such as health and medical, sports, science, technology, banking, etc.

· Recommendation by the agency in their field of expertise

· Good conduct certificate from their home country

3. Professional

· Recommendation by the significant local company/agency

· Good conduct certificate from their home country

· Three years of working experience in either government or the private company

4. Married to Malaysian citizen

· Married for five years 

· Have a long term visit pass issued

· Living in the country for five years continuously

· Should have a sponsor, who is a resident of Malaysia

5. Applicants who meet the point system (most extended way to get PR)

· Has to go through a point-based system and has to score at least 65 points out of 120

· Should have a sponsor who is a resident of Malaysia

· Good conduct certificate from their home country

Documents Required

· Original and photocopy of Entry permit

· Photocopy of passport 

· Two photographs of the applicant

· One photograph of the sponsor

· Proof of identity of spouse (if required)

· Marriage certificate (If required)

· Character certificate

Please Note: One can submit these documents along with the application to the Immigration Department of Malaysia if applying under professional category. For the remaining four categories, one should submit their documents along with the application to the State Immigration Office. 


· Stay in the country indefinitely

· Seek employment freely without any permits

· Own and operate a business 

· Acquire property

· Enter and exit the country without any immigration formalities

· Getting loans

 With friendly and welcoming local population and low crime rates, Malaysia is one of the safest and popular destinations among foreigners.


Well, I hope this was informative enough. I hope it will help and guide you to carefully opt for the options where your skills and talent can flourish.

Wishing you lots of luck.

Saumya Gusain
Saumya Gusain

A history student with postgraduate in archaeology and heritage management, gave me a good experience in field of research and writing. Avid reader, loves to explore new places. Baking cakes and breads are my hobby. Mother of four year old who takes most of my time..

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