Malaysia is making big efforts to attract more expats and help them and their families settle in the country.
From next year, the government will create an Expatriate Services Division (ESD) to encourage immigrant workers to live and work there.
The process will include a simpler visa system and they will be particularly interested in highly skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants.
The country is taking as a blueprint the success of neighbouring Singapore which has attracted highly talented foreign workers and multinationals.
Najib Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, said his countrymen had nothing to fear about their jobs being taken by immigrants.
He said: “Foreign talent will complement local talent and will not be taking away local jobs.
Blueprint for economic growth
“We see foreign talents helping the country’s dynamism and we can both move forward together.”
The Prime Minister laid out his plans in a blueprint called ‘Vision 2020’ which sees global talent helping to develop Malaysia’s own workforce to boost further the country’s economic growth.
Alongside the ESD, the government has relaunched its Residence Pass Talent (RPT) work permit which is a 10 year visa for expat workers and their families.
Most expats heading to Malaysia settle in the Iskander economic region which is three times the size of Singapore and is split into five different areas, or hubs.
Thousands of expats have already settled there. The main hub is Nusajaya, while several European universities have set up in the education hub – Educity.
To underline the prospects for expats in the country, developers say there is a growing demand for new homes and international schools.
Security for expats
But there are also improvements for the tourists too with a Legoland theme park and a Pinewood Studios complex already established.
The expats division should be open by March next year and will essentially act as an integrated facility offering various services and advice to expats and their families to enable a smooth immigration process.
Mr Razak added: “The most important element to the RPT permit is that it will give foreign workers and their families’ security and will bring a sense of permanency because they will not have to apply every year like they would have to for a permanent residency permit.”
He pointed out that the country wanted a more open and relaxed approach for expats applying for the RPT in a bid to encourage the top talents to the country and that more than 1,000 applications had already been approved since its introduction last April.