Working in Malaysia: Jobs and Visa Options
As graduation creeps closer, the question on university students’ minds is, “where will I work when I complete my studies?” For students hoping to work in Malaysia, there are three fields with particularly high demand: petroleum engineering, mechanical engineering, and business, finance and accounting.
Petroleum engineering graduates are highly sought after, as 1.2 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves and 28.35 billion barrels of oil reserves lie in Malaysia. The country plans to increase production by five percent every year until 2020. This industry has heavy investment and is crucial to Malaysia’s economy.
Mechanical engineering is another sector in high demand, with jobs in processing, design and research. Malaysia’s manufacturing sector is booming, accounting for more than 50 percent of all foreign investment in 2011. However, there is a shortage of experienced engineers. Graduates from general degrees in mechanical engineering are sought after for their versatility.
Finally, the business, finance and accounting sector has a high demand for MBA graduates. Malaysia is an Islamic banking and financial hub with strict risk management regulations. The country is currently encouraging individuals and businesses to access financial services to promote growth in the industry.
Courses in each of these areas are offered at many Malaysian universities. However, it is also important to consider post-study work opportunities. In Malaysia, there are a number of visa options. The first step to obtaining any visa is to secure a job in Malaysia. Secondly, the employer must apply to the correct government agency for the appropriate visa type.
An Employment Pass may be granted to applicants whose contracts span two years or longer, earning an annual salary of $1230 USD or more. This pass is for skilled workers, professionals and people in management roles. Before this pass can be granted, the Malaysian Expatriate Committee must approve an expatriate taking over the role of a Malaysian national.
Temporary Employment Passes are granted to individuals contracted for up to two years, or with an annual salary of less than $1230 USD. Typically, this pass is for workers in the manufacturing, plantation, services, agriculture and construction industries, aged between 18 and 45 years. This pass can be extended to up to five years, but must be renewed every year. It is also worth noting that rules about marriage and changing jobs apply under this visa.
Professional Visitor’s Passes may be granted to foreigners with professional qualifications, who are working for up to 12 months or for a foreign company. i-Passes are an identification requirement for expatriates working in Malaysia. Once a visa has been granted, an i-Pass can be obtained from a local immigration office. The length of validity will depend on an individual’s visa type.
Keep these visa options in mind when deciding on a course to study, as sectors with high demand for workers and professionals will be more likely to grant a Malaysian post-study visa.