Malaysia seeks to attract foreign talent


2:49PM GMT 04 Dec 2012

Malaysia is encouraging more foreign talent to settle in the country by setting up an expatriate services division next year.

Part of the remit of the new expat division will be to attract highly skilled and entrepreneurial foreigners to Malaysia and then to help them settle. It will provide immigration services such as help with applying for visas.

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has set out a blueprint for the south-east Asian nation known as Vision 2020, which involves nurturing the local workforce and attracting global talent to help improve economic growth.

Along with the Expatriate Services Division (ESD), the government also relaunched its Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) work permit. This is a 10-year pass that applies to a foreign worker and his family.

The prime minister said: "Foreign talents complement local talents and won't take jobs away from locals. Foreign talents can be part of the nation's economic dynamism and we can move forward together."

Malaysia is keen to emulate the success of its neighbour Singapore in attracting top foreign talent and multinationals to its shores.

Peter Marshall, a British expat living in Singapore, said: "As Singapore becomes more expensive it's good to know there's an alternative just across the border that is also welcoming foreign talent. Some people are put off by the language barrier in Malaysia and the bureaucracy but it looks like that is being dealt with now."

Expats are already flocking to southern Malaysia to settle in the new Iskandar economic region. This is a development three times the size of Singapore that is split into five different hubs and expected to create thousands of jobs.

Within Iskandar Malaysia the main flagship hub is called Nusajaya. The region also includes an education hub (Educity) where Marlborough College Malaysia is located, along with mini campuses of Newcastle and Southampton universities.

Developers and property agents have already seen a healthy rise in expats moving to the region as new homes are built and international schools are opened.

Other attractions include a Legoland theme park and a Pinewood Studios complex.

Dato’ Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim, CEO of UEM Land, one of the region's main property developers, said: “As Nusajaya enters the second phase of its development, and continues to grow into a fully rounded and integrated lifestyle destination, we anticipate that the city will continue to attract increasing numbers of global talent.

"Developers and property agents said expatriates began moving to Johor from about five years ago, but the completion of houses and recent opening of international schools in the Iskandar Educity project has raised interest markedly."


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