Working in Malaysia: Guide for International Students

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    Anam Shams

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    Studying in Malaysia for international students equips them with a lot of options after graduation. Once an international student has completed his graduation from Malaysia, he has the option to either leave for his home country or stay and work in Malaysia whilst upgrading his skills. There are plenty of jobs in Malaysia for International students with openings available in different kinds of fields.

    There is a lot of competition with regards to jobs in Malaysia for international students as there are restrictions in place. Companies in Malaysia can only recruit international workforce if there are no locals to fill the position. With many qualified locals graduating each year, competition is high when it comes to jobs for international students in Malaysia.

    Part Time Jobs in Malaysia For International Students

    International students studying in Malaysia are allowed to take up part-time jobs, but there are not many jobs that they might find as the competition is extremely high.

    Malaysian Immigration Department has laid out specific guidelines for International students working in Malaysia. They are as follows:

    • Students can work 20 hours max per week depending on their holidays
    • Before taking up the job, students need to consult the Student Visa Officer at the international office
    • There are chances that the student visa might be revoked if students take part in unofficial employment

    International students studying in Malaysia are allowed to work during:

    • Festive holidays
    • Semester breaks
    • More than 7 days of holiday  

    Students from abroad are not allowed to take up the following jobs in Malaysia:

    • Masseur
    • Cashier
    • Singer
    • Guest relations officer
    • Musician

    How to Apply for Part-time Jobs in Malaysia for International Students?

    Studying in Malaysia for international students and working at the same time, requires approval from the immigration department.

    Documents needed to get approval are:

    • Passport
    • Contact number and letter from employer
    • Processing fee: USD 28.94
    • Approval letter from the representative of the educational institution of the student
    • The Director-General of Immigration Department will approve/reject the application
    • Application processing time: 10-15 days

    After Degree Completion: Jobs in Malaysia For International Students

    After degree completion, international students studying in Malaysia have the option to either go back to home country or stay back in Malaysia and work and upgrade skills.

    Options available to students who wish to stay back and work in Malaysia are:

    Employment pass

    • For individuals who have been offered a two-year job contract
    • Annual salary: USD 1205
    • Given to skilled workers, managerial positions and professionals

    Temporary Employment Pass

    • For individuals with a job contract less than two years
    • Annual salary: USD 120
    • Given to individuals in manufacturing, agriculture, services, and construction
    • Age group applicable: 18-25

    Visitors Pass (Professional)

    • Foreigners with qualifications who will work in Malaysia for less than 12 months
    • Examples: Researcher, lecturer, maintenance expert, and technical advisor
    • Processing fee: USD 21.07

    Key Industries in Malaysia for Jobs

    Malaysia is a country that primarily sustains itself through the tertiary sector, i.e., service sector. Industries like biotechnology, gas and lucrative oil are gaining popularity in the country.

    Key industries having jobs in Malaysia for international students include:

    • Medical technology
    • Pharmaceuticals
    • Timber
    • Electronics and semiconductors
    • Rubber
    • Petroleum and natural gas
    • Light manufacturing
    • Palm Oil

    There is a Critical Occupations List (COL) in Malaysia, that indicates jobs which are highly popular amongst students who are studying in Malaysia.

    The list is as follows:

    • Electrical and electronics
    • Information and communication technology
    • Aerospace
    • Petrochemicals
    • Oil, gas, and energy
    • Education
    • Telecommunications and multimedia
    • Financial services
    • Medical services

    Major recruiters in Malaysia for international students are:

    • Maxis
    • Maybank
    • Axiata
    • Sime Darby
    • PBBank

    Jobs in Malaysia for International Students: Salaries Offered

    Finding jobs in Malaysia that pay well can be a daunting task for international students studying in Malaysia. Here goes the list of some of the highest paying fields in Malaysia that students can opt for.

    Field Salary Offered
    Information Technology (IT) Starting from USD 1100
    Building and Construction Starting from USD 1300
    Engineering Starting from USD 843
    Oil and Gas Starting from USD 960
    Tourism Starting from USD 1085
    Healthcare Starting from USD 723
    Banking and finance Starting from USD 1200

    Even though Malaysia’s economy is booming and the country is on the verge of becoming one of the best destinations for travel, stay and study, for international students studying in Malaysia, finding a job is a not as easy as it may seem. Exceptional academic qualifications and skills are needed for the same. If students work hard towards building their career in Malaysia, this scenario will change in the coming years.


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