The buzzing cities, the incredible gastronomic experiences, the diverse cultures, the wild adventures, the beautiful beaches and the idyllic islands are all parts of what make Malaysia an incredible place to live and work in. Wildlife-packed rainforests juxtapose with urban havens, modern architecture sit next to beautiful religious monuments, a rich cultural heritage permeates throughout the entire city, and annual festivals take place to keep the city lively and that’s why living in Malaysia is so great.
The natural beauty that is prominent throughout is quite mind-blowing, the gorgeous beaches sprawl for miles ahead, the national parks are diverse and plentiful and the cultures are as diverse as it could get. From Malays, Chinese, Indian, and Arab – that intertwining of cultures is something to be amazed at and Malaysia living is wonderful because of this diversity.
This all makes living and working in Malaysia an incredible place to live and work in – you’ll be able to work at high-growth companies, all while having the chance to whale watch in the evening. Sounds like the dream right? It’s developed, perfect for children, has great healthcare facilities and a lot more. Below we’ll explain some living in Malaysia general information and more about working in Malaysia.
Different ways you can live in Malaysia
- Find a job there and live permanently.
- Visit there for the summer and live there
- Live in Malaysia for a couple of months to get away from the stress of the daily life through programs like Malaysia My Second Home
- Visit occasionally.
You will need a work permit to work in Malaysia.
What will be needed from you?
- You must have a bachelor or master’s degree to be able to compete in the highly saturated market.
- You have to be 27 years old.
- You have to be earning RM5000 per month depending on your contract.
What is needed from your employer?
- Your employer has to file a permit with the local government which is extremely important to get the application process going.
- The company needs to have enough assets
- Paid up capital that is enough.
- The rates are:
- RM200.000 for a local company.
- RM350.000 for a part foreign ownership
- RM500.000 for full foreign ownership.
- To get your work permit approved without much hassle and to actually receive it in about a week, you need to be making RM8000 or more per month.
- If you’re highly skilled, you can get a 10 year visa. You just need to prove the skills that you have.
- Your visa in this case will have to do with you and not tied to a certain company, so you’ll even have more freedom.
Why are these special cases available?
The Malaysian government wants to ensure that the people who come to the country are the crème de la crème of all countries. They want high skilled people who can advance the economy, the governments and the companies that are there.
What can you do with a permit?
- Open a bank account.
- Work in Malaysia.
- Get a mortgage.
- You will have to pay taxes – make sure you avoid double taxation, and always keep all your cheques and receipts.
How long are permits for?
Completely depends on your work and your contract. Could be1, 2, 3, or 5 years. Again, as mentioned above, they can also be 10 years. Renewal is also possible through your employer.
The EPF is a pension scheme that is aimed towards local and not foreign expats but it helps you save towards your pension. This is done automatically without you having to do anything, meaning the companies are the ones that end up saving the money for the employees.
How to bring your family to Malaysia
If you want to completely move to Malaysia then the thought of bringing your family arises. Luckily for you, the process is quite easy. All you have to do is sign up for the dependent pass procedure.
What is the dependent pass procedure?
The dependent pass allows you to bring your spouse and kids to Malaysia. It will remain valid as long as your contract is up, running and without any problems.
How do you apply for one?
To apply for a dependent pass procedure you have to send in or go here for more info:
- Cover letter
- Authority letter from the company
- Form DP11A including photograph.
- Proof of relationship.
- Photocopy of the complete passport of the dependent.
- Photocopy of the complete passport of the expatriate.
Working in Malaysia
Your only chance of getting hired in Malaysia is if you can prove that no one in Malaysia can do whatever task you’re doing. Actually, companies themselves cannot hire you unless they can fully prove that they haven’t found someone who is better in their home country.
You’ll be competing with highly-educated Malaysians for high-prestige and strategic job and it’s worth putting in the effort and investing in yourself before you even get there.
How to find a job and everything you need to know
As already mentioned, living in Malaysia is a great way to kick-start your career or advance an already established career. There are so many potential activities and career paths for working in Malaysia you could be taking there that are bound to be beneficial for you.
- Become an expat by letting your own work take you to Malaysia.
- Apply for multinationals so you can reap the benefits of international employers.
- It’s always much easier to get sent to Malaysia than to actually try and work there on your own. See the options you have in your home country.
- Search for all the active international companies that are currently employing, apply to all of them, polish up your CV and expect vigorous competition.
- See which international companies are both in your country and in Malaysia and send your CV to the one in your country specifying where you want to go.
- Check all the employment-related websites like Linkedin, check your connections, search on Facebook and keep making yourself stand out with your portfolio so you can be head hunted.
What not to do
Don’t even try going on a tourist visa and then finding a job there. This will not reap you any benefits, as employers prefer locals anyway so not only will you be putting yourself in risk of not finding a job, it will also be a waste of money and effort. Expats cost the company a lot of money and if you’re looking for a stable job with a good salary, getting one on a tourist visa isn’t the way to do so.
Avoid expat-targeted scams before finding a job
Make sure you avoid all the scams that are currently out there. There are the types of scams that straight up tell you that you have an amazing job with a great salary, a great package and wonderful benefits and it sounds too good to be true. That’s because it is. Don’t agree to anything that sounds too good to be true. Ever.
What you can do, is make sure all the legal requirements are met (i.e you are older than 27 years old) and that you have all your legal papers almost ready. Also, never ever pay any money in advance to get hired. Most of these services are huge scams and avoid these for work in Malaysia.
Benefit of being an expat
Being on an expat package is one of the most beneficial things you can possibly do, with so many incredible benefits that will make you want to never leave basically.
What do you get in the package?
- Not only will you probably be earning more than RM 10.000 per month, you’re probably going to get a lot of health and insurance benefits.
- You can get relocation costs dedicated.
- A car allowance just for you.
- Some give you an allowance or “pocket money” to help you in your first month or two.
- Salaries can rise up to 50.000 RM but that only happens in very few cases.
What can you do with your salary and expat package?
If you will be earning 15.000+ for work in Malaysia, there are so many things you can be doing with this money. It’s quite a decent amount of money that will allow you to live a comfortable, luxurious life.
- Get beautiful penthouses or condos. Rent in upper class neighborhoods and live amongst the richest people there.
- Eat at fancy restaurants.
- Go to fancy parties.
- Live your life to the fullest.
What If you get a local package not an expat one?
Local packages for living in Malaysia are significantly cheaper than expat ones and the prices can start from as low as 2.000 RM to 4.000RM per month. You can be lucky and make more if you have enough incredible skills, but more often than not, this is not the case. Let’s say you earn between 5 and 8 – that still ensures you live quite a comfortable life in Malaysia with absolutely no worries whatsoever about anything you’re doing.
How about a visa run?
A lot of people who want to live in Malaysia try to do so using a tourist visa. They don’t join any programs, get married or work – simply, they get a 90 day tourist visa and then end up going back to their country a few days before the visa ends and then they end up coming back after renewing their papers. This is great if you want to have flexibility and just enjoy living in Malaysia in general but it gives you very little rights of living in the country.
Do not work illegally in Malaysia
This guarantees that you’ll be sent back to your country, and will insure that you never can enter Malaysia anymore. The police and government are extremely strict when it comes to this and you don’t want to be banned from the beautiful country of Malaysia.
Make sure you don’t cross borders erratically
Don’t just go to Thailand or Singapore and return on the same day. Always be aware of immigration officers who know how to ask you tricky questions. Try to avoid anything that will risk your visa and your stay in Malaysia.
How to get a new stamp on your passport without raising suspicion.
Don’t just visit a country for a day, and then come back on the same day. It’s not smart and will let immigration officers ask you dozens of questions. Instead try traveling to any of the nearby cities like Bali or Thailand or even Cambodia, and stay there for a few days so that you can have a stamp on your passport that is not suspicious.
Count your visa runs carefully
Try not to exceed two or three visa runs because that will also end up looking suspicious. So the two most important tips is never think that it’s okay to work on a tourist visa, and never stay 90 days or more in a row in Malaysia so you don’t end up at the immigration headquarters.
Living in Malaysia
What is it like getting married in Malaysia?
If you’re considering getting married in Malaysia, then you’re in luck, because the process there is not hard at all. You can go to your own embassy to change your status, or you can even get married at the embassy there. If your embassy does not allow for marriage requests, then you should do it a marriage registration office.
- Register a date.
- Go on the date.
- Get two witnesses.
- Get officially marriage.
Monthly costs and expenses
So now that you’ve figured out how you’re going to live in Malaysia, it’s time to figure out how much you’re going to be spending and make a budgeting plan for a good life in Malaysia. Here is a quick overview of the things you will be spending money on. Other than the miscellaneous costs like sewer cleaning which would cost about RM45.
The cost of gas: Unlike a lot of countries in the world, gas in Malaysia is significantly cheaper.
- Liter prices are RM 1.90
- Don’t use a taxi as they can get quite expensive.
- Try to see if you can share cars or take an UBER.
- Try using the metro or the public transport as often much much cheaper.
- Be careful with public transport though, you may realize that it doesn’t reach certain places.
If you’re going to own a car, not only will you be paying about RM60 for a full tank, you will also be paying car insurance RM400 per year.
Additional daily costs
Of course, your daily costs will span a lot more than just your food and drink. They will include your parking fees, your groceries, coffee, cigarettes, parking meters…etc, not bad for Malaysian life.
Here are some examples:
- A small piece of cheese: RM25
- A carton of orange juice: RM10
- A bag of chips: RM13
- Bread: RM10 for a sliced whole meat loaf
- Butter: RM13
- Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream: RM28
- A bottle of wine: from RM30 onwards
Day to Day costs (RM20 – RM40)
The thing about Malaysia living, and specifically if you’re on an expat package, is that the prices are really cheap. Your daily expenses will probably cost you very little money, and you can live quite comfortably with very little money.
If you come from a country with a strong currency like the US, the European Country or an Arab Gulf country, you’re bound to find Malaysia extremely cheap.
How much would you pay in a fancy restaurant vs local restaurant
Expect to pay up to 100RM per person. Fancy restaurants are plentiful in Malaysia and they’re full of expats. While the local restaurants like the street trucks cost from RM10 to RM20.
For drinks expect to pay RM4 (for drinks like soda, pepsi, coffee). One of the most popular drinks in Malaysia is the iced lemon tea which costs from 1.20 RM to 1.50 RM.
How will you be losing money?
- If you’re on a budget, make sure you don’t really exaggerate when it comes to drinking. Malaysia is a Muslim country so drinking is not that common, therefore they are usually double the pries of normal drinks. So definitely expect to pay more.
- Also, for international restaurants and chains, the prices are definitely usually higher and are expected to be money vacuums. A Starbucks cup of coffee would cost you 9RM compared to the normal RM4 for example, while sandwiches can also cost you up RM15 when you can easily get an entire meal for RM20.
- Shopping malls can also get pretty expensive and should be avoided for food if you’re trying to save money. Would you rather pay RM20 for local food or RM60 at a restaurant?
If you’re going to be living in Malaysia expect to pay exuberant amounts for A/C as the weather in summer can get scorching hot,. You can pay anything fro RM80 to RM250.
Water won’t cost you much money for Malaysian life and you don’t really need to put it in your monthly budget so you won’t really be paying anything more than RM5/10 per month.
Gas in Malaysia is not as popular as you might think and even though you will definitely be cooking some days to save up some money, you still will be eating out often. Expect to pay for gas anything from RM25 to R50 and you’ll be good for the rest of the month.
Expect to pay up to 100RM per month on Internet. This is one of the most essential amenities you need in your daily life during your trip to Malaysia, and while living there it’s extremely important to have for your work and your personal life as well.
Different types of internet you can choose from:
- Fixed line – Streamyx or Unifi
- Streamyx = 4mbps subscription that costs about RM140
- Unifi = 25mbps for RM249 per month
If you don’t want to have a major commitment to the internet, then just buy one on a monthly basis plan so you can enjoy your short stay.
Expect to pay up to RM50 per month for TV subscriptions. Whether you want to learn the language and immerse yourself in the culture completely depends on you. if you want to do that, then all you have to do is get a regular Astro subscription so you can find multiple channels with local series and movies.
If you want to get international movies and get immersed more in a cultural melting pot, then you will most definitely have to upgrade and pay more.
Mobile phone costs
There is no doubt that you will definitely need a phone when you’re there, so you have the option of buying a prepaid SIM card. You can choose whether or not you want a 3G subscription. Your range of pay will be from RM20 – RM100 depending on the time of subscription you get.
If your work or bank offers health insurance in the package then you’re definitely lucky as health insurance can cost you anything from 100 EUR per month until 200 EUR. If you’re on an international package as an expat, you’ll be paying less than half for the amount you’re supposed to be pay.