Moving to Malaysia? Here are 3 key factors you shouldn’t overlook

November 12, 2019

Are you a traveller, passing through Malaysia, looking for a home to rent and set up a base for a little while? Maybe you’re a student looking to broaden your horizons. Perhaps you’re pursuing an exciting job offer.

Whichever situation you might find yourself in, a few things should be considered before entering Malaysia. More issues may have to be paid attention to if you plan to move to the country.

Here are three aspects that you might overlook but may have to be thought of in advance in order to try and make your time in Malaysia as painless as possible.

Get your visa in order

Malaysia may be one of the easiest countries in the world to visit. Apparently, citizens from 63 different countries can get a 90-day visa-free, another 97 countries get 30-day visa-free travel, and two countries get 14 days without a visa.

Combine all this with Malaysia’s seemingly easy visa run policy and it may very well be one of the easiest countries to visit as a tourist. With that being said, there are several points you should consider when getting your visa details in order.

If you are a student, student visas may be granted by the Malaysian government to foreign nationals who wish to pursue their education in any local institution. Apply for a visa well before your term starts. You should be able to apply for one directly through an institution as it may no longer necessary to apply for a visa under your local Malaysian Embassy.

Here are the important documents you can expect are required when applying for a student visa:

  • – Student visa application form
  • – An offer letter from any educational institution of your choice
  • – Two recent photographs
  • – Academic records
  • – A passport that’s valid for more than a year
  • – Health certificate
  • – Proof of Malaysian health insurance
  • – Approval letter from the Ministry of Home Affairs
  • – Bank statements as proof of financial capability while living in Malaysia
  • – A security and personal bond

If you intend to become an international student in a Malaysian higher education institution, using this education portal ( could prove to be a good start for exploring your options.

You can also apply for a working visa if you plan to earn a livelihood in Malaysia. Employment passes should be issued by the government and can either be long-term employment passes that are granted for a period of up to 5 years or temporary employment passes (valid for any amount of time as long as it’s less than 2 years). In addition, look out for Professional visit passes (valid for about 6 months) that may be available for expatriates.

To attain an employment pass, there’s apparently a minimum age requirement of 27 years (23 if you’re employed in the IT sector).

Here’s a list of documents that you should expect to need in order to be eligible for an Employment pass:

  • – Visa application form
  • – An acceptance letter from a Malaysian company
  • – Confirmed flight tickets
  • – A passport with at least 6 months validity
  • – Bank statements
  • – Two recent photographs of size 35X45 mm

Adhere to Malaysia’s tax regulations

Whether or not you like paying taxes, they are an integral part of our economic system. They’re probably found in just about any nation you can mention. In Malaysia, however, you might find special regulations for expatriate taxpayers (including how they pay income tax).

Expat employees in the country who have worked for more than 60 days but less than 182 days, are probably classified as ‘non-residents’ and can expect to have to pay income tax at a flat rate of 28%.

Those who work in Malaysia for over 182 days? These can be classified as ‘residents’. There may be other criteria set out in the Income Tax Act that employees should take note of, so please be sure to do your research.

Income tax exemption might be possible for employees in Malaysia and can let them be exempt from paying income tax. Expect certain criteria to have to be met, though.

If you are at least 55 years of age, receive a pension from employment in Malaysia, receive interest from bank accounts, work at sea onboard a Malaysian ship or receive dividends that are already tax-exempt, you may be eligible for income tax exemption.

Properly plan your accommodation

Malaysia may be considered a spot for expats that’s accessible to the rest of Asia. If you (or your family members) are used to tip-top living standards, Kuala Lumpur can be a place to enjoy luxury. The city ranks among the top cities for expats, as well as ‘digital nomads’. Comfortable accommodation can be found in a number of areas and you can expect to find awesome food, as well as solid WiFi connections.

Looking to stay in a comfortable central location? KLCC may just be the best neighbourhood in Kuala Lumpur. At the centre of the ‘Golden Triangle’, many of the city’s shopping centres and malls can be found within walking distance. However, expect some congestion. This might just come naturally with any central area (along with possible noise pollution from seemingly endless construction).

If you’re looking for a quieter, toned down and affluent suburban area, options can include Bukit Damansara (which some might describe as KL’s version of Beverly Hills), as well as Bangsar. You can expect to find great townships, a range of facilities, as well as gated communities (with an emphasis on safety).

Take note of all options and prepare for proper accommodation in the area of your choice before you settle down in Malaysia.

Don’t forget to consider these 3 aspects before moving to Malaysia and. Take some time to prepare your visa and do your homework on any tax income regulations that may apply to you. Aside from that, accommodation (where you spend the night) can be a vital part of your wellbeing when in a new part of the world. Put a good amount of thought and effort into planning for a possible place to stay in the area you’re comfortable in.


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  • Inderjeet Singh

    DP 11 Professional working permit non JKPD. Immigrations demartment of Malaysia. Online check status employment pass DP11 application status enquiry. DP11 is the proecss for the issuance of passes to expatriates who have been approved by the expatriate commitee or the relevant regulatory agencies.

    An employment pass is ussued to the expatriate to enable him to stay and work legally in the country. However there are certaom categories of expats who are allowed to work in this country on a visitor pass.

    An employment pass or visitor’ pass under the approval of the expatriate committee is subjected to the period of contract and the monthly salary of the expatriate.