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Moving to Malaysia- A Complete 2024 Guide on How to Immigrate to Malaysia.


Written by Fazrina Fezili

Moving to Malaysia: A Complete Guide For Expats

Malaysia is a vibrant and diverse country offering a unique blend of modernity and tradition. It's an attractive destination for expatriates due to its affordable cost of living, high quality of life, and welcoming environment. If you're considering migrating to Malaysia, this guide will provide you with all the essential information you need to make the move smoothly.

How to Migrate to Malaysia


Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Malaysia My Second Home Program

The Malaysia My Second Home Program (MM2H) is a popular option for foreigners who wish to live in Malaysia long-term. This program offers a renewable, 15-year multiple-entry social visit pass, allowing expatriates to live in Malaysia with minimal restrictions.

  • Eligibility Requirements:
    • Minimum age of 21 years.
    • Proof of liquid assets, you need to show Offshore Liquid Assets of RM1.5 million to be shown in a form of most recent 3 month bank statement.
    • The minimum net offshore income of RM40,000 per month
    • Fixed deposit placement based on three tiers which RM500,000 to RM5,000,000 

Procedure for Enrolling in the MM2H Program:

  1. Prepare Documents: Gather required documents including proof of financial status, medical report, and a letter of good conduct.
  2. Submit Application: Apply through an authorized MM2H agent or directly to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture.
  3. Conditional Approval: Once the application is reviewed, you will receive a conditional approval letter.
  4. Complete Requirements: Fulfill fixed deposit, medical insurance, and medical report requirements.
  5. Final Approval: Submit the required documents and receive the MM2H visa.

Entry Permit – Malaysian Immigration Department

For those looking to work in Malaysia, obtaining a work permit is essential. There are several types of work permits available, depending on your profession and the nature of your employment.

  • Types of Employment Pass:
    • Dependant Pass: For employer immediate family members (parents, spouse and children only)
    • Temporary Employment Pass (TEP): For employment less than two years.
      • not less than 21 years old and not more than 45 years old
      • confirmed fit by an appointed medical centre
      • reside in the country of origin
      • enter Malaysia via the Visa With Reference (VDR) issued by the Malaysian representative office in the country of origin
    • Professional Visit Pass (PVP): For foreign nationals providing services to a Malaysian company on behalf of an overseas company.
      •  submitted by a sponsor in Malaysia
      •  validity of the pass is subjected to the requirement
      • undergo training not exceeding six months

Resident Pass-Talent (RP-T)

The Resident Pass-Talent (RP-T) is designed to attract top foreign talent to Malaysia. This pass is issued for 10 years and allows the holder to work in Malaysia without being tied to a specific employer.

  • Eligibility Requirements:
    • Must possess high-level skills in key economic sectors.
    • Must have a minimum of three years of work experience in Malaysia.
    • Must earn a minimum monthly salary of RM 15,000.

De Rantau Program

The De Rantau program by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is aimed at digital nomads and remote workers who wish to live and work in Malaysia. This program offers a long-term visa and access to digital infrastructure and co-working spaces across Malaysia.

  • Benefit of De Rantau Program:
    • Stay from 3 up to 12 months
    • Pass renewable for up to additional 12 months
    • Able to bring in spouse & child/children
  • Eligibility Requirements:
    • Highest education certificate​
    • Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia tax registration slip​​
    • Letter of good conduct 
    • valid employment contract
    • Fee will be MYR1,000.00 (main) and MYR500.00 (dependent)

Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Program (MTEP)

The Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Program (MTEP) targets tech entrepreneurs and startup founders who want to establish their businesses in Malaysia. This program offers a one-year or five-year pass, depending on the stage of the business:

  1. Pass for New Tech Entrepreneur: 1 year Professional Visit Pass- New Entrepreneur
  2. Pass for Experienced Tech Entrepreneur: 5 year Resident Pass-Established Entrepreneur
  3. Pass for Tech Investor: 5 year Resident Pass-Established Entrepreneur
  • Eligibility Requirements:
    • Must be a tech-based entrepreneur.
    • Must have a viable business plan.
    • Must demonstrate financial capability to sustain the business.

Other Visa Options

Besides the above programs, there are other visa options available:

  • Student Visa: For those pursuing education in Malaysian institutions.
  • Dependent Visa: For spouses and children of expatriates holding valid work permits.
  • Retirement Visa: For retirees who wish to spend their golden years in Malaysia.

Finding Property

Finding a suitable property is a crucial step in migrating. For a comprehensive listing of properties in Malaysia, visit PropertyGenie. PropertyGenie offers an extensive range of options to suit every budget and preference, ensuring you find the perfect home.

Find your perfect home here!

How to Move to Malaysia as an Expat?

Moving to Malaysia involves several steps, including securing a visa, finding accommodation, and adapting to the local culture. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

  1. Research and Plan: Understand the visa requirements, job market, and living conditions.
  2. Apply for a Visa: Depending on your purpose of stay, apply for the appropriate visa.
  3. Find Accommodation: Use platforms like PropertyGenie to find rental properties or homes for purchase.
  4. Prepare for the Move: Arrange for shipping your belongings, and plan your travel itinerary.
  5. Settle In: Once you arrive, register with local authorities, open a bank account, and get familiar with the local area.

How to Live in Malaysia Permanently

If you’re looking to live in Malaysia permanently, the following options are available:

  • Permanent Residency (PR): PR status can be obtained through the Entry Permit – Malaysian Immigration Department. This permit is granted to individuals with significant contributions to the Malaysian economy or with exceptional skills.
  • Malaysia My Second Home Program: As mentioned earlier, this program provides a long-term visa that can be renewed indefinitely.
  • Work Permits and Resident Passes: Long-term work permits and resident passes can eventually lead to permanent residency.

How to Live in Malaysia as an Expat

Living in Malaysia as a foreigner is made easier by the country's friendly and accommodating nature. Here are some tips for living in Malaysia as a foreigner:

  • Learn the Language: While English is widely spoken, learning some basic Malay can help you integrate better.
  • Understand the Culture: Respect local customs and traditions to build good relationships with locals.
  • Stay Connected: Join expatriate communities and networks to share experiences and get support.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Migrate to Malaysia

Can I Purchase Property in Malaysia as a Foreigner?

Yes, foreigners can purchase property in Malaysia. However, there are some restrictions and requirements. Foreigners can only buy properties valued above a certain threshold, which varies by state but is generally set at RM 1 million. Additionally, foreigners are not allowed to purchase certain types of properties, such as those under the Bumiputera (indigenous) status or low and medium-cost housing.

Read more here Can Foreigners Buy Property in Malaysia?

What Are the Employment Opportunities for Expatriates in Malaysia?

Malaysia has a diverse job market with opportunities in various sectors such as oil and gas, finance, IT, education, and healthcare. Kuala Lumpur, the capital city, is the hub for many multinational companies offering positions for skilled expatriates. Networking, recruitment agencies, and online job portals are effective ways to find employment opportunities in Malaysia.

What is a Good Expat Salary in Malaysia?

A good expat salary in Malaysia varies depending on the industry, position, and experience. Generally, a monthly salary of RM 10,000 to RM 15,000 is considered good for an expatriate, allowing for a comfortable lifestyle. Senior management positions and specialized roles in industries like oil and gas, finance, and IT can command higher salaries.

What is the Process of Moving to Malaysia as an Expat?

Moving to Malaysia involves:

  1. Securing a Job: Most expats move to Malaysia with a job offer in hand. Your employer will assist with the visa application.
  2. Visa Application: Submit your visa application, along with required documents such as proof of employment, medical reports, and financial statements.
  3. Arrival and Registration: Upon arrival, you must register with the Malaysian Immigration Department.
  4. Finding Accommodation: Secure a place to live, either through rental or purchase.
  5. Integration: Familiarize yourself with the local culture, language, and community.

Is Malaysia a Good Place for Expats?

Malaysia is considered an excellent place for expatriates due to its affordable cost of living, diverse culture, high-quality healthcare, and friendly locals. The country offers a range of amenities and services that cater to expats, making it a popular destination for those looking to migrate.

Facts About Living in Malaysia

  • Language: Malay (Bahasa Malaysia) is the official language, but English is widely spoken.
  • Climate: Malaysia has a tropical climate with warm temperatures and high humidity year-round.
  • Healthcare: Malaysia offers high-quality healthcare services, with numerous private and public hospitals.
  • Cost of Living: Malaysia is known for its affordable cost of living, particularly in terms of housing, food, and transportation, which are relatively low compared to Western countries.
  • Culture: Malaysia is a multicultural country, with significant Malay, Chinese, and Indian communities, leading to a rich cultural diversity.


By following these steps and utilizing the resources available, you can ensure a smooth transition to living in Malaysia from any where a success. Whether you're moving for work, retirement, or a new adventure, Malaysia offers a welcoming environment for expatriates.

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