The Malaysian job market


Expatriates wishing to work in Malaysia should find a job prior to their departure as the job market and regulations for foreign employees offer only limited job opportunities for expatriates in Malaysia.

Malaysia is on its way to become an industrial country. It has already a blooming economy and a stable job market. However, this does not necessarily improve the job perspectives for expatriates.

Job restrictions for foreigners

In order to protect its local labour force from foreign competition the Malaysian government has set certain restrictions for the employment of foreign nationals. Expatriates can only be employed for a maximum of 5 or 10 years, depending on the branch, provided that Malaysian professionals are trained to eventually take over the position.

Companies also have to obey restrictions regarding the number of expat workers employed, which depend on the level of foreign paid-up capital. In addition, they can only hire a foreign national if there is no equally qualified Malaysian national for the post.

Job perspectives for expatriates

Foreign workers are generally only in demand in selected branches, like e-business. Also, if you succeed to find a job, career prospects are usually quite low and salary increases are not the rule. Best way, therefore, is to find a job, preferably in an international company, before coming to Malaysia. Another positive side-effect is that you can start working straight away, as the company might already have your work permit ready.

With the focus on developing its economy, Malaysia also intends to train its native manpower to be able to compete on an international level. This might make it even harder for skilled foreign workers to find a job in Malaysia.

However, as there are thousands of foreign and international companies from over 50 countries operating in Malaysia, chances are still good to find employment, even if the search might require a bit of effort and persistance.

Further reading

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