Work in Malaysia

How to move to Malaysia, find a job, how much does it cost

Before we got to Asia in 2009, I may have heard about Malaysia a couple of times, but nothing more. And I certainly had no idea about life there.

Last summer, we seriously thought about moving to Malaysia under the program “Malaysia is my second home”.

Malaysia is adjacent to Singapore, constantly looking up to it in development. Moreover, Singapore was part of Malaysia before it became an independent state. But Singapore is much more popular in Russia.

So, what kind of country is Malaysia, how expats from Russia live there, is it difficult to emigrate there today, says Olga Nikonova, who has been living in Malaysia for 6 years, in the capital Kuala Lumpur. She has a blog where you can find a lot of important information for moving to Malaysia and just traveling to the country.

I must say right away that Olya feels Malaysia as the country of her dreams, where she really likes it, so further we will talk about many practical aspects that will be of interest to those who are thinking about whether to move to live in Malaysia.

What is good about Malaysia

Olya, what do you like about Malaysia? Why do you love this country?

I like almost everything, I guess. American friends of mine say that Malaysia is very similar to America.

Colorful and diverse Kuala Lumpur, mysterious Borneo, the Petronas Twin Towers, white beaches of the Andaman Sea, waterfalls, highlands and cable cars in the jungle, parks of birds and tropical butterflies, majestic mosques and countless saucer islands - all this is Malaysia.

I like the high standard of living, tolerance, a fairly low level of corruption, the world's largest book sales, a huge number of restaurants with the most varied and very affordable food, so you don't have to cook at home at all. You can go on and on, the list of pluses is huge.

Labuan is an island in Malaysia, which has its own department of ministers and separate tax laws. Since 1989, Labuan has been officially declared an International Offshore Financial Center (IBFC) and a low-tax jurisdiction for the incorporation of businesses by foreign investors.

Following the introduction of the OECD/FATF anti-BEPS program, the island nation's business norms have been revised and modernized to comply with international standards. In 2020, the registration of a company in Labuan follows the same principle as a year ago, but with different tax rates and benefits, which will be discussed in our material.

Register a company in Labuan - offshore advantages

Although Labuan is a federal territory of Malaysia, it has its own laws and corporate rules. Like other offshore territories, the island state offers foreign companies lucrative programs, tax-free or low-tax regimes.

  • Labuan is an emerging Asian fintech hub where you can benefit from the growing demand for areas such as payments and foreign exchange, cryptocurrency, mobile payment systems, financial software, platforms fundraising and secondary trading, as well as analytics and more.
  • Labuan IBFC has all the advantages of becoming the best territory for fintech business in Asia with the most simplified licensing scheme.
  • The island is also positioned as an insurance center, where today more than 200 foreign companies have found their legal haven.
  • Labuan IBFC is the only jurisdiction in Asia to offer the formation of a secure cellular company (PCC).
  • Due to its advantageous geographic location, including proximity to China and India, companies in Labuan can be used to lease equipment in business niches such as shipping, aviation, oil and gas.
  • The 2011 Global Trade Incentives Program is designed to attract commodity traders, for whom Malaysia is like an international hub.

Also, the advantages of this jurisdiction for international business include low business taxes, lack of foreign exchange controls and mandatory payments for interest, dividends and stamp duty. For example, insurance and brokerage companies, as well as fund managers pay income tax at a rate of 3%, but only if a number of conditions are met.

Registration of Labuan offshore - corporate requirements

To register an offshore international company in Labuan, you must meet the established corporate requirements:

  • director and shareholder of the company - at least 1 non-resident of the jurisdiction, including a legal entity;
  • the issue of registered, preferred shares, with par value and without the right to vote, is allowed;
  • bearer shares are prohibited;
  • there is no minimum authorized capital for an international company, but most often it is $ 10,000 - 10,000 shares, $ 1 each;
  • Minimum paid up capital is 1 share or US $ 1;
  • The annual fees for registering a company and conducting business in Labuan are 5,300 ringgit per year (approximately 1,300 - 1,500 US dollars);
  • there must be a local resident secretary;
  • a company in Labuan must have a local office and file reports.

Information: registration of a company on the island of Labuan, as well as a holding and a trading corporation, provides for income tax at a rate of 0% if certain conditions for financial transactions within the jurisdiction are met. To learn more about registration of a company in Labuan, please contact the experts of our portal.

How to open an offshore company in Malaysia (Labuan) - stages of business incorporation

Registration of an offshore company in Labuan can be completed within 1 week. Approximately the same time will be required to open a bank account, which is a mandatory requirement for all legal entities of the island state.

A foreign founder can register a business in Labuan personally or with the support of experienced specialists of our portal, which implies remote service and complete confidentiality of information. What are the steps to go through to start your business:

If you are looking for a job in Malaysia, it is important to be aware of the labor market and conditions. Immigration rules are tightly controlled. The authorities are very selective, especially with regard to those whom they allow to work in the country. Most Malaysians are well educated and fluent in several local languages, therefore priority is given to Malaysian citizens whenever possible. Local and international companies must provide substantial justification for hiring foreigners and obtain the necessary permission.

However, don't let these factors put off your job search in Malaysia. The rapidly developing sectors of the economy are in need of skilled foreign labor.

In terms of cultural and intellectual diversity, foreign workers can be a real asset for a Malaysian company. The experience and qualifications of expatriates can be invaluable - especially if the company is involved in the international market. Many multinational corporations are very open to hiring foreign nationals.

Malaysian companies wishing to hire foreign employees must meet specific conditions. First, they must register with the Expatriate Services Division (ESD). It takes 14 business days. Once approved, the company can begin the process of obtaining approval from the Foreign Affairs Committee or relevant authorities for hiring a foreigner. Firms are also required to obtain a letter of recommendation from the appropriate industry agency. They can then apply for an invitation to a specific foreigner to work.

Expatriates are not allowed to apply for a work permit. Every expatriate must meet certain conditions and qualifications. Foreigners must either acquire a senior management role in a foreign company operating in Malaysia or be highly qualified with the required technical knowledge. Expatriates applying for these positions must have at least a bachelor's degree that is relevant to the desired position. And professional experience in Asia is often highly regarded. The minimum monthly wage is RM 5000 and a minimum two-year contract is offered. Expatriates who are offered a monthly salary of over RM8000 will be granted automatic approval if the requested documents are submitted by the company.

The employing company itself must also meet specific requirements. It must be registered either with the Malaysian Companies Commission and the Registry of Companies in Malaysia, or with cooperatives registered under Malaysian law. Firms must also meet Paid-Up requirements and foreign capital in the company must be at least RM 500,000. In addition, the company's management needs to convince the immigration authorities of the availability of vacancies that require skilled workers from other countries.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) accounted for 36.3% of the Malaysian economy in 2015, and SME growth has consistently outpaced Malaysia's overall GDP growth. According to the Minister of Internal Trade, Cooperatives and Consumer Lending, the SME sector is the largest employer in Malaysia, accounting for 65.5% of total employment in 2015. The government recognizes that SMEs are a vital component of the economy and provide strong support for their development. More than 90% of SMEs are in the service sector and 6% in manufacturing.

Industrial products such as electronics and electrical products dominate the export market in Malaysia. The country is also one of the largest exporters of oil and gas in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Malaysian health sector is thriving and the country's experience has made it to the United Nations Development Program as a “model for other developing countries”. In 2010, the Economic Transformation Program (ETP) was established to transform Malaysia into a high-income economy by 2020. Through this initiative, healthcare has been identified as one of 12 national key economic zones, as well as communication content and infrastructure; Palm oil; wholesale and retail trade; oil, gas and energy; Financial services; business services; electronics and electrical engineering; education; Agriculture; and tourism. The forward thinking displayed by the government leads to the emergence of new markets as well as business opportunities in these sectors for foreign talent.

On the website of the Immigration Department of Malaysia, you can find a list of positions that are not allowed for foreign nationals.

The Employment Act of 1955 established a maximum 48-hour work week in Malaysia. Despite this, many Malaysians work much longer. Employees receive eight days of paid annual leave for every 12 months of continuous work. After two years of work in one company, the number of vacation pay increases to 12 days.

Female workers who have worked for the company for at least four months before giving birth are entitled to 60 days of maternity leave.

New employees are entitled to 14 days of sick leave in the aggregate of each calendar year if registered with a doctor.

Malaysia is one of the amazing Asian countries with a rich cultural heritage and advanced modern technologies. Despite the location, the cities here are distinguished by European layouts.

When traveling to the country, it is also possible under a visa-free regime. However, in some cases, permission will be required.

Is it necessary for Russians

Tourists usually do not need a visa. As a rule, tourist trips last no more than 30 days. It is for such a period that citizens of another country can stay in Malaysia without special permission.

To prepare a short-term trip, you just need to book a hotel and buy tickets, or use the services of a travel organization.

The main reasons for a long stay in Malaysia are long-term tourism, business or study trip, religious practices, medical treatment, and so on.

You can apply for a visa both at the Embassy of Malaysia in the Russian Federation, and in the country itself upon arrival. It is important that fingerprints are taken from foreign citizens while crossing the border. This procedure was introduced by the authorities in order to somehow restrict and control the flow of tourists.

Dear readers! The article talks about typical ways of solving legal issues, but each case is individual. If you want to know how to solve your particular problem, please contact a consultant:


It's fast and FREE!

Various categories of visas can be issued to Malaysia. They are directly related to the purpose of the trip. Each type of permit has its own term, as well as a set of established documents.

Types of visas to Malaysia are presented in the table:

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