Top 4 Reasons to Migrate to Malaysia

6 min read|Last Updated: May 21, 2024|

Ranked in the top 5 economies in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is an attractive country with a myriad of business opportunities, world-class amenities available, scenic views, and a unique way of life. Let’s take a closer look at the top 4 reasons why migrating to Malaysia could be your next big move.

1. Good Standard of Living

If you are looking for a place with a relatively good standard of living, Malaysia might just be the place for you! From its low cost of living, and accessibility to amenities, to a comprehensive transportation system, living in Malaysia can be convenient and comfortable.

1. Low cost of living

Malaysia is well known for having a low cost of living, especially when compared to larger Western cities like San Francisco or Asian cities like Singapore or Hong Kong. With the country offering both extravagant living to a humble lifestyle, there’s always a place for everyone.

While the cost of living is low no matter the state you are living in, cities like Kuala Lumpur are more expensive as compared to Penang.

For example, a plate of noodles with chicken and vegetables costs USD$2, and a whole steamed fish would be approximately USD$10, plenty of food for a pair.

On the other side of the spectrum, Kuala Lumpur is an urban centre, offering a range of food restaurants and local cafes, which may be slightly pricier than in smaller states.

2. Accessibility to amenities

No matter where you are in Malaysia, amenities are readily accessible in most cases. For instance, Tanjung Bungah, a quiet neighbourhood located north of Penang Island, has a great wet market and is a convenient drive down to Georgetown, the city of Penang.

Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, is known for its high-end shopping malls, PETRONAS Tower, world-class restaurants, and hotels.

3. Transportation system

Transportation is accessible, with plenty of taxis readily available. The public transport system in KL is also extremely affordable. As for the discreet areas in places such as Batu Ferringhi in Penang, a car may be wise as it is more difficult to get private transportation.

With most cities within driving distance from each other, getting around states is convenient too if you have a car.

All these factors make Malaysia a really liveable country, attracting millions of expats from all over the world.

Malaysia Corporate Secretary Ramu

2. Ample Business Opportunities

Malaysia is popular amongst expats to either work or to set up a business in due to the business freedom in Malaysia. Check out some of Malaysia’s ranking when it comes to business below:

  • Ranked 22nd worldwide for Economic Freedom
  • Ranked 4th amongst 40 countries in the Asia-Pacific region
  • Malaysia’s economy ranked 2nd in Southeast Asia despite the pandemic

In the past decade, Malaysia has been an attractive regional hub for their services, with promising growth in sectors such as:

  • ICT
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing

Malaysia’s geographical location also plays a major role in business opportunities as the Strait of Malacca is a major sea-route connecting the Far East to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. It also neighbours Thailand and Singapore and is connected via roads, making it an attractive location for international entrepreneurs for their next business set-up destination.

3. Strong Expat Community

Being such an attractive country for business, Malaysia has a significant expat community. The Malaysian government encourages international students and grants student passes for them to study in the international schools offered.

Numerous expats feel that Malaysia is easy to live in as English is commonly spoken around the country, in business as well as many sectors, including healthcare. This is one of the reasons why Malaysia ranks 4th out of 50 countries as the best country for expats.

Malaysia has introduced ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ (MM2H) programme and it has become popular amongst eligible expats as it grants them a 10-year long visa that allows them to enter and leave the country along with many other benefits.

Malaysia Corporate Secretary Ramu

4. Best-in-Class Infrastructure

The government of Malaysia continuously improves the infrastructure to remain attractive to foreigners, as well as to enhance the quality of life. This resulted in Malaysia being one of the most well-developed countries in Asia, making it a top option to live and work.

The developed public transport in Malaysia is a railway system that runs through Malaysia and goes North to Thailand, and South to Singapore. They also have seaports that connect to other major ports in Malaysia such as George town, Kuantan, and Kota Kinabalu.

Moving to Malaysia

These are just a few of the top reasons why people and businesses are moving to Malaysia. While these are key driving factors when making a decision to migrate to Malaysia, one should also consider their needs and goals to ensure it aligns with the lifestyle Malaysia can offer.

Any individual who wishes to migrate to Malaysia for work will need to acquire a work visa, also known as a work permit. There are 3 different kinds of work permits issued in Malaysia, as listed below:

  1. Employment Pass
  2. Temporary Employment Pass
  3. Professional Visit Pass

Any employment pass holder can bring his or her family members to Malaysia. Holders of other types of work permits are not allowed to bring their dependents to Malaysia.

Moving to Malaysia to Study

Any individual who wishes to move to Malaysia in pursuit of education would need to present a Malaysian student visa (Approval Letter) at the Immigration Department. Applications can only be made after they are accepted by a Malaysian educational institution. Upon receiving an approval letter, the applicant needs to apply for an entry visa depending on his or her country of residence.

Moving to Malaysia for Family Reunification

Individuals working or studying in Malaysia are able to bring their family members into Malaysia. However, they will be required to obtain a dependent pass. This special visa allows one to bring their spouse, children under the age of 21, and dependent children into Malaysia.

Family members should submit passports to Malaysia’s Immigration Department for the Dependent Pass sticker upon arrival. This allows them to stay in Malaysia for the visa duration.

Moving to Malaysia to Retire

Individuals who wish to retire in Malaysia need to obtain a retirement visa, also known as Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MM2H). Once the retirement visa authorities approve it, a person can enter Malaysia and collect their Conditional Approval Letter in person. This special visa also permits one to bring their spouse and children under the age of 21 with them into Malaysia. With a validity period of 10 years, it grants a person permission to work for up to 20 hours every week.


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What is Malaysia known for?2024-03-27T10:30:30+08:00

Malaysia is known for their capital city, Kuala Lumpur. Its diverse culture and breath-taking natural beauty are top drawing factors. Malaysia has a lot to offer in terms of low cost of living and amenities, and has numerous destinations with amazing views such as Kota Kinabalu and rainforests such as Borneo in Sabah.

Where is the best place to live in Malaysia?2024-03-27T10:30:00+08:00

This is dependent on your ideal type of lifestyle and priorities. Places such as KL offer a more luxurious lifestyle compared to more rural areas like an island. In another scenario, if a large expat community is Important, states such as Penang and Kuala Lumpur have a significant expat community.

Am I eligible to apply for the MM2H visa?2024-05-21T12:06:34+08:00

There are financial requirements in order to be eligible for the visa, that you may refer to at the official website here. Applicants must have a sufficient amount of money in liquid assets, an offshore monthly income as well as a fixed deposit, depending on the age of the applicant. Find out more about MM2H Programme here (link to MM2H article).

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