Non-Malaysians require a work permit to be employed in Malaysia. Considering that the Malaysian government’s goal is to train Malaysians to be competent in all levels of employment, in certain industries such as manufacturing, only certain pre-designated and approved “key positions” may be occupied by foreigners Long term. Generally speaking, foreigners will be approved for positions only if the paid-up capital of the wholly foreign-owned Malaysian company is at least RM500,000. Companies carrying out services or wholesale and retail trade that are not regulated in Malaysia are required to have a paid-up capital of RM1 million. Without compelling reasons, the number of foreign positions allowed to be established as a registered branch of a foreign company is usually extremely limited.
Applications for foreign positions in certain industries (such as manufacturing, information technology, financial institutions, insurance companies, and educational companies) must be submitted to designated government agencies and then to the immigration department. Other executive positions requiring professional qualifications and practical experience, as well as non-executive positions requiring specialized skills and experience, may be filled by foreigners, provided that Malaysians must ultimately be trained to fill these positions. In early 2011, Malaysia introduced the “residence permit”. This permit is valid for 10 years and is not employer-specific, but is open to highly qualified foreign nationals employed in specific industries.