Expats landing in Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) can now obtain “immigration pass stickers” at the Expatriate Services Division (ESD) Satellite Centre at the airport upon arrival. Under the previous process, it could take expats up to a month to receive their stickers in order to be able to work in the south-east Asian country. Malaysia’s Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin said the facility would speed up and ease doing business. “This ESC is an improvement in services for expatriates and investors who come to Malaysia,” he noted. Through the ESC facility, expatriates get an immigration pass approval letter after applying while abroad, and complete the payment online before coming to Malaysia. They can then get their stickers at the KLIA ESC upon arrival. Zainudin also said his department was carrying out a “comprehensive and holistic” study on expats, including expatriate job offers, in order to meet the demand for the transfer of expertise and technology into the country. Expats arriving in Malaysia now consist of Employment Pass Category 1 (EP1), which is top management, such as company managing directors, as well as EP2 and EP3 categories, which includes lower management staff. According to official statistics from the immigration department, there are 86,280 active expatriates in the country currently, and of that number, 40,948 were in the EP1 band.
Expats in Malaysia
The lively cities, picturesque beaches, tropical climate, English being widely-spoken and friendly people are amongst the compelling reasons that are convincing a growing number of expats to put down permanent roots in Malaysia. However, according to a report by HSBC, “most expats, especially those from the West, experience some sort of culture shock, in particular because of its conservative Islamic customs.” Fortunately though, “with such a vivid and multicultural populace, locals are generally accepting of people from outside of their country, and you’ll enjoy a warm welcome.” There are expat communities all across Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru. Established neighbourhoods like Bangsar, Sri Hartamas, Mont Kiara, and Damansara Heights are amongst the most popular for expats in the country’s capital.