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Malaysia - Expats

Since the ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ initiative was launched in 2002, 20,000 expats have moved abroad to sample the sunny delights of Malaysia’s ‘retirement paradise’. The country is pretty geared up to long term stays by foreign nationals and offers incentives such as 10 year visas to actively encourage expats to move there.

Malaysia is a very inclusive country by nature, so expats are more than welcome, not just by the government, but by the locals, too. There are many incentive schemes to try and get more people to move to Malaysia, such as allowing British expats to import their car or to buy a new one in Malaysia without paying tax or duties. Malaysia does set a minimum investment quota, which dictates that expats must place a certain amount of money in a local bank account before they are allowed to stay in the country. This figure is usually in the region of £30,000. But there are other visas that you can obtain which don’t require so much investment.

There are many sources which claim that Malaysia is the best country in South East Asia for expats. Expats are usually drawn to Malaysia for its relatively low cost of living, its tropical climate and the exciting and fast developing new cities. You will find most expats in Kuala Lumpur, followed by the other large cities in Malaysia as this is where the international schools are all based.

The stunning and picturesque landscapes, wide variety in scenery and the exquisite beaches make Malaysia an incredibly attractive place to want to set up home. Since there are now so many expats in Malaysia, there have been many schemes set up such as expat clubs which will help newly arrived families to integrate into society. This also helps people to meet others in a similar position early on, so they can ask questions and be supported through the first few months in a foreign country.

There are quite a few international secondary schools which teach their lessons in English. These are perfect for families with older children moving to Malaysia. Most primary schools choose to teach in Malay, but there are a few English language nurseries and primary schools in and around Kuala Lumpur which are always popular with expat parents.

As English is taught widely in Malaysia, and is used as a commercial language, native English speakers are always in demand as teachers. If you have a teaching qualification of any kind, from a TEFL course to a PGCE, you will not find it difficult to find work in the larger cities. If you have no qualifications it will be slightly harder but you will still be able to find private clients who wish to improve their English on a one to one basis.

Malaysia has its own Expatriate Service which aims to look after the needs of all expats. If you have any questions about the official processes of moving to Malaysia, contact them:

Expatriate Service Malaysia
Tel: +60 3 8880 1424
Fax: +60 3 8880 1394

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.