Jobs in Malaysia

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A Guide to Working Abroad in Malaysia

Through the blend of contemporary governance and promising nation-building, Malaysia continues to become known for its technology industry and judicious oil wealth, making it one of the richest nations in Southeast Asia. The high-tech infrastructure props up suitable living conditions and career opportunities in Malaysia. Meanwhile, the oil production plays a vital role in making Malaysia a top-grossing economy. Those who decide to seek out jobs in Malaysia will not be disappointed by all the country has to offer.


Malaysia is separated into coasts. The West Coast is more developed and urbanized while the East Coast is more rural. The West Coast accommodates the bulk of Malaysia’s population within the cities of Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru, and therefore these two cities provide the most opportunities to work abroad in Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur. As the nation’s economic and business center, Kuala Lumpur is the ideal place to work abroad in Malaysia, and thousands of expats from around the globe choose to do so every year. It is a highly-urbanized city that provides jobs in finance, insurance, real estate, media, and the arts. Since Kuala Lumpur is a melting pot of people, culture, and religion, the city maintains a great quality of life, along with a large number of job opportunities.

Johor Bahru is the second largest city in Malaysia ,which oversees the highly industrialized southern central coast. It is known to be a tourist hot spot, because of its highly-appreciated theme parks and resorts. If you are looking for a tourism-related job in Malaysia, Johor Bahru is the place to be. Johor Bahru is an especially suitable to work abroad in Malaysia because most jobs come with a good compensation. Also, the cost of living is much cheaper in Johor Bahru than in Kuala Lumpur.

Ipoh. With a great combination of British colonial architecture and friendly locals, Ipoh is able to preserve an interesting urban getaway. It is one of Malaysia’s more tranquil cities, known for being the “Old Town”. It has never-ending food stalls and restaurants that fervently dish up local cuisines, considered to be the place to enjoy the country’s finest. Since it has been able to preserve its culture and heritage, Ipoh attracts expats looking for a tranquil city that offers high-paying jobs in Malaysia.

Jobs Abroad in Malaysia

There are many highly-competitive jobs in Malaysia, because the local workforce is often equally skilled and qualified, as expats, to fulfill employment opportunities. The best way to get a job in Malaysia is through an international employer. For most types of work in Malaysia, it is an advantage if you are fluent in English, and it is of course beneficial if you have the exact work experience and skills required for the job you are applying for. The easiest jobs for expats to obtain in Malaysia are in the realms of teaching English, tourism, and fashion design. 

Education. Since Malaysia is continually booming and expanding its global reach, English language proficiency is becoming increasingly important to locals. Therefore, a towering need for English teachers exists in Malaysia. If you want to obtain a teaching job in Malaysia, it is an advantage if you have a TEFL or TESOL certification. Teaching English in Malaysia is a great prospect not only for honing your international career potential, but also for immersing yourself in the education system of Malaysia.

Tourism. Given its richness in natural bodies of water, Malaysia has developed numerous theme parks and resorts, creating numerous jobs for both international and local works. Resort jobs in Malaysia span a wide array of specialities, from spa therapists to dive instructors.

Fashion. The number of students enrolling in design courses and other creative subjects is significantly increasing in Malaysia. Therefore, fashion industry experts are becoming more and more in demand. Since Malaysian fashion is relatively young, fashion jobs in Malaysia can be a good way to become a foundational part of the industry.

Salary & Costs

The cost of living in Malaysia is relatively cheap compared to most Western countries. You can enjoy a pretty comfortable life for $650 a month, which is inclusive of rent, electricity, internet, and transportation and food expenses. On the one hand, it is possible to spend $5 to $10 a day on both food and transportation. You can also enjoy fancy restaurants in the metro for as much $25.

Salaries for jobs in Malaysia are low compared to neighboring countries like Singapore and Hong Kong. However, the growing industries allow expats to earn as much as $3,500 to $6,000 a month, and this is a reasonable salary when compared to the monthly cost of living. Additionally, some companies will provide international workers will alternative forms of compensation or benefit packages, such as free housing and travel reimbursements. It is most definitely possible for expats to live a luxurious lifestyle while working in Malaysia, and many expats do, as evidenced by Malaysia’s status as one of the top five most luxurious places to live as an expat in the world.

Accommodation & Visas

Anyone can own a house in Malaysia, as long as you can afford to maintain the mortgage and any other associated fees. Despite increasing property prices in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru, many expats choose to call the latter cities home permanently. The Malaysian government has even implemented programs to help expats acquire property for a conservative price through a very manageable process. Additionally, many companies and organizations provide housing loans to foreign workers. On the other hand, if you do not plan to permanently settle in Malaysia, there are apartments, flats, and condominiums to suit nearly any income.

Malaysia is not entirely stringent with its visa policy. Not everyone who enters the country is required to obtain a visa, because there are specific nations, purposes, and length of stays that are visa exempted. However, you are required to obtain a working permit if you intend to work abroad in Malaysia for a salary. A working permit requires the following: a passport that has a validity of at least 18 months and the applicant must be 27 years and older (except if applying for an IT-related job, in which the minimum age required is 23). Working permits are issued for six months to five years, depending on the type of job and contract length.

There are also additional passes issued along with working permits, such as the Employment Pass, Temporary Employment Pass, and the Professional Visit Pass. These vary depending on the specific skills required and the length of stay in the country.

Benefits & Challenges

Culture & Adventure. If you like fun and adventure but want to make a living at the same time, working in Malaysia is surely a good option for you. With theme parks and resorts widely available for you to enjoy on the weekends, for a relatively affordable price, you will find that working in Malaysia is not all work. You will also be able to explore the nation’s well preserved culture in your daily life, despite its vibrant social progress.

Competitiveness. If you want a job in Malaysia with a reasonable salary, you will have to outdo the merits and fitness of the local workforce. Malaysian employers usually prioritize local applicants before hiring foreign workers. It is important to clearly identify your strengths and capabilities in order to inject yourself into the Malaysian job market successfully.

Savings. Working abroad in Malaysia will not immediately get you rich. In your early years, you will probably be struggling to gain a savings, yet at the same time you will find yourself living comfortably each day. However, once you get the right formula, you will obtain the luxurious lifestyle you have always imagined.

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A Guide To
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