A Guide to Working in Malaysia

With a warm climate, tasty food, beautiful beaches and cosmopolitan cities we can't recommend Malaysia highly enough. A lot of people apply for seasonal-jobs-working-holidays in Thailand and overlook Malaysia, but don't be one of them.


Where to Seek Employment

There are world famous global companies with offices in Malaysia, you can find work throughout the country including:

  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Melaka
  • Penang


Popular Industries

Although working in Mayalsia can be tough for international staff there are still jobs available for skilled workers in lots of different industries. There are so many different positions available but international staff generally find work in the following industires:

  • Accounting
  • Administrative
  • Customer Service
  • Education & Teaching
  • Engineering
  • Finance
  • Hospitality
  • IT
  • Language/Multilingual
  • Management
  • Marketing/Media/PR
  • Sales
  • Software Development
  • Travel & Tourism
  • Training


Professional Jobs in Malaysia

Malaysia has one of the strongest economies in southeast Asia and there are some fantastic postions available to skilled international staff. Malaysia has a history of producing raw materials and exporting them overseas but now new areas have opened up and around half of the country are working in the services area which includes oil, gas and biotechnology. Industries like technology, pharmaceuticals and electronics are on the rise. Major companies which hire thousands of staff every year include: Axiata, CIMB, Maxis, Maybank and PBBank.


Jobs in Malaysia for Students & Graduates

We get a lot of enquiries from international students and graduates seeking part time and full time employment in Malaysia. Due to the local laws it can be tough to get temporary or flexible jobs in Malaysia and we do not recommend working illegally in the country. What you could do though is take a TEFL certification course and then work as a TEFL teacher in Malaysia. If you are lacking experience you might want to take an internship in Malaysia which will help you get experience and possible meet new professional contacts to help progress your career. Another option is volunteer work in Malaysia which although unpaid is a lot of fun and very rewarding.


Language Requirements

Learning the local language will dramatically increase the number of positions available to you. You might also find it easier to secure a job more easily, and get you a better salary. Developing your spoken and written skills will stand you in good stead, so it is worth learning some before you go.


Visas, Work Permits & Tax

It can be a challenge to work in Malaysia, like with a lot of worldwide destinations you will need to find a company to support your application and provide there isn't a local person who could do the job better. You will need to apply for jobs, go through an application process and then your company will need to apply for a work visa with the Malaysian Immigration Department.

There are threee types of work permit available including: an employment pass; a professional visit pass; and a temporary employment pass. Each pass is different and in order to be eligible you will need to supply relevant supporting documents. If you are worried you might not qualify you might want to check our guide to working in Asia for more options.

If you work in Malaysia for more than 182 days per year you will need to pay tax as you will be classed as a resident under the local law. You will need to visit the Malaysian Inland Revenue Board (IRBM) to get a tax number and complete the payment.



  • If you have an office job in Malaysia you will usually work 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday similar to other worldwide destinations.
  • Workers get 10 days paid holiday per year which is included in the Malaysian Labour Law whilst there are also public and religious holidays providing more time off 
  • Malaysia are very strict laws and it is very important for foreigner workers to abide by the local laws of the land. 



Have you ever worked in Malaysia? Would you like to share your experence or recommend a recruiter? Get in touch with us today.

Not sure Malaysia is right for you? You might want to view our seasonal-jobs-working-holidays in Singapore.