Starting Your Career in Malaysia
As part of Malaysia’s efforts to combat the perceived ‘brain drain’ of local talents and professionals overseas, the Talent Corporation was announced by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak. Talent Corp’s objective is to identify the shortage in human capital in key fields and try and attract and retain those skilled individuals in Malaysia. Its mission? To build effective partnerships, and make a difference in addressing Malaysia’s talent needs to enable the country to reach its aspirations of a high-income nation.
Malaysia’s booming economy has created demands in various sectors, notably in the fields of petroleum, engineering, information technology, education, health services, finance and tourism. For foreigners looking for employment in Malaysia, these sectors typically welcome global talent.
To work in Malaysia as a foreigner, one will need to be qualified to fill in one of the following positions :
- KEY POST
These are high level (1st level) managerial posts in foreign-owned private companies and firms operating in Malaysia. Key posts are posts essential for companies to safeguard their interests and investments. The expatriates are responsible in determining the company’s policies in achieving its goals and objectives.
Examples: Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director, General Manager, Technical Director, Production Manager, Project Manager Or Factory Manager
- EXECUTIVE POSTS
These are intermediate level (2nd level) managerial and professional posts. The posts require academic qualifications, practical experience, skills and expertise related to the respective jobs. The expatriates are responsible for implementing the company’s policies and supervision of staff.
Examples: Management Functions Such As Marketing Manager, Logistics Manager, Investment Manager And Quality Control Manager, Professional Such As Chief Engineer, Engineer Manager , Lecturer, Doctor, Architect etc.
- NON-EXECUTIVE POSTS
These are posts for the performance of technical jobs that require specific technical or practical skills.
Examples: Welder, Mould Maker, Tool & Die Maker, Manufacturing Systems Designer, Food/Nutrient Technologist, Fashion Designer, Specialist In Furniture Design & Ergonomics, Heat Setting Technician, Sewing Specialist, Craftsman/Engraving And Product/Flavoring Specialist
The employment process for expatriates then entails two stages. The first stage will require authorisation of the employment from one of the six authorised bodies/agencies based on the nature of the company’s business. These agencies are :
- Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA)
- Multimedia Development Corporation (MDec)
- Public Service Department (PSD)
- Central Bank Malaysia (CBM)
- Securities Commission (SC)
- Expatriate Committee (EC)
Once approved, the second stage will entail the approval of a related working permit from the Immigration Department of Malaysia. There are three types of working permits for foreigners but most expatriates work under the Employment Pass. To apply for an Employment Pass, one will require :
- Letter of Authority from the company or letter of appointment as the company’s representative
- A completed DP11 Form (available at here) with a passport size photograph
- Offer and Acceptance Letter of Employment Contract (RM10.00 Stamped) or Personal Bond which has been stamped with a RM10.00 revenue stamp for the application of a Visitor’s Pass (Temporary Employment)
- One complete copy of the Expatriate’s Official passport (Two copies for citizens of the People’s Republic of China)
- Letter of approval from MIDA/BNM/SC/JPM/LHDN where relevant (approval from EC and MDEC is not required)
- Print-out of company’s profile from Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) or form 9, form 24 and form 49 for approval by MIDA and EC (if EC imposes capital appreciation).
- Expatriate’s resume, copies of Diploma/Degree for non key posts under the approval of MIDA (for posts approved by MIDA and its incumbent, the above supporting documents are not required)
- Release letter from former employer if the Expatriate wishes for a change in employer.
As part of Talent Corp’s initiative to bring home local talent from abroad, the Returning Expert Programme (REP) was launched, seeking to overcome the outflow of experts to that hampers the growth of a work force of international standards. Returning Malaysians under this program are entitled to several benefits to that facilitate their return. These benefits include :
- Optional flat tax rate of 15% for employment income for 5 years
- Tax exemption for all personal effects brought into Malaysia
- Two locally assembled/manufactured Completely-Knocked-Down (CKDs) vehicles tax free
- Expedited Permanent Resident status for foreign spouses and children (6 months upon submission of complete application to Immigration Department of Malaysia, not withstanding Sabah and Sarawak)
- Foreign-born children or children already studying in an international stream overseas are allowed to enrol in any international school of choice in Malaysia (under the expatriate quota)