Malaysia is not only a popular tourist destination but also a great place to settle down. Each year hundreds of people from across the world migrate to Malaysia. In 2017, around 2,704,000 people from across the world migrated to Malaysia. This marked an increase of almost 200,000 from the previous year.
There are many different reasons people choose to migrate to Malaysia. Malaysia is a politically stable country with a mixed-race population. Most people speak English fluently. This makes it easy for migrants to blend into the native population. It is well-connected to other countries and has a sound economy. 2018 has a projected GDP growth of 4-5%. The cost of living in Malaysia is also low as compared to Singapore or Hong Kong.
How one can Migrate To Malaysia
While Malaysia is a very tourist friendly country, many people choose to migrate here permanently. In such cases, the student visas, work visas and family visas are most relevant.
1. Migrating With the Student Visa
To get a student visa, a foreign national must have confirmed admission for a full-time course in any recognized Malaysian University or Institute. The Institute will get a student pass issued on behalf of the migrant. This along with a visa approval letter from the university/ institute may then be used to apply for a student visa. Application forms are available online and may be submitted online or offline. The documents required for this visa are:
- Photocopy of passport showing that it is valid for at least 1 years
- Passport sized photographs
- Copy of the offer letter from the Institute
- Completed and signed visa application form
- GMAT or GRE test scores depending on the course applied for
- IELTS / TOEFL test results
- Attested copies of secondary and post-secondary qualifications
The cost of a Malaysian student visa varies from institute to institute and according to the type of course applied for. Some institutes may have additional fees payable such as medical check-up fees and health insurance. International students also have to pay a personal bond or security bond deposit depending on their country of origin.
International students in Malaysia can work part-time for up to 20 hours a week during course breaks and holidays that last more than 1 week. They are not allowed to work as cashiers or in activities considered immoral y Malaysian law. A student visa is valid for 1 year and may be extended on the condition that the student maintains an 80% attendance and a CGPA of at least 2.0.
2. Migrating With the Work Visa
There are two types of work visas available to people who want to work in Malaysia. These are:
Employment Passes: This is typically issued to migrants with a job in Malaysia from which they earn at least RM3,000 per month. This visa is valid for 2 years and may be extended.
Professional Visa Passes (PVP): This pass is granted to foreign nationals who want to take on short-term projects in Malaysia for a maximum of 12 months. The groups eligible for this pass are:
- Equipment installers
- Maintenance experts
- Government recognized researchers
- Educators, Lecturers and Invited speakers
- Filmmakers, directors, actors, producers, and photographers
- Members of international agencies and organizations
- Religious group leaders and members
- Visitor’s Pass/Temporary Passes
This visa pass is granted to foreign nationals who will be employed in Malaysia for less than 24 months. Other visas associated with a working visa are the training visa and dependent visa. Training visas are granted to foreign nationals who want to undergo training under Malaysians for a maximum of 12 months. Dependent visas are issued to the spouse and dependent children of a foreign national who will be working in Malaysia on any of the three above visas.
The validity of this visa is tied to the validity of the work visa. A dependent visa may also be issued to the spouse and dependent children of a foreign national enrolled in a full-time Master’s, post-Doc or PhD course in Malaysia.
3. Migrating With the Spousal Visa
A foreigner married to a Malaysian citizen may apply for a spouse visa or a long-term social visit pass. This visa grants the person permission to enter and exit Malaysia multi times for a period of 5 years. It is generally first issued for a period of one year but may be later extended for another 4 years. It also allows him/her to work in Malaysia without having to apply for a separate work visa. After being married and living in Malaysia for 5 years, the person may apply for permanent residence.
The Malaysia My Second Home Program
Malaysia welcomes citizens of all countries to become long-term residents under Malaysia My Second Home Program. This allows the applicant, their spouse and dependent children under the age of 21 years to live in Malaysia for up to 10 years as long as they meet the medical and financial criteria of the program. They may also:
- Buy property that has been approved by the Foreign Investment Committee of Malaysia
- Purchase a vehicle
- Apply for 1 maid
- Apply for state ID cards
- Educate un-married children
- Get tax-exemption for foreign-source income
- Invest in local companies and the share market
This visa does not allow the applicant to work full-time in Malaysia. Only those applicants who are over the age of 50 years may work part-time.
The Eligibility Criteria for This Program
The eligibility criteria that must be met for this program are:
- The applicant and his/ her dependents must have valid medical insurance
- The applicant and his/ her dependents must undergo a medical checkup at any registered hospital in Malaysia
- For applicants below the age of 50 years:
- The applicant must have liquid assets worth at least RM 500,000
- The applicant must have an income of at least RM 10,000 per month
- The applicant must open a fixed deposit in any bank in Malaysia for a sum of RM 300,000
- The applicant may withdraw up to RM 150,000 for certain expenses after one year but must maintain a minimum balance of RM 150,000 for the remaining 9 years
- For applicants above the age of 50 years:
- The applicant must have a monthly pension/income of at least RM 10,000
- The applicant must open a fixed deposit in any bank in Malaysia for a sum of RM 350,000
- The applicant may withdraw up to RM 50,000 for certain expenses after one year but must maintain a minimum balance of RM 100,000 for the remaining 9 years
- The applicant must prove that he/she has sufficient funds to take care of personal expenses throughout their stay in Malaysia