The Government has made it a lot easier for expats to acquire a work permit. At one stage, it was quite hard to get approval to work – even requiring companies to post adverts for the position to show it could not be filled by a Malaysian. That is no longer required. In addition, the requirement to name a local understudy for the position – the Malaysian who will take over the job as soon as they acquire the skills – has also been dropped. The 10-year limit on renewing work permits has also been discontinued.
For those who qualify, the 10-year Residence Pass is certainly highly attractive as it not only gives you a lengthy stay before requiring renewal, but also allows you to change from company to company and, if you have a spouse who wishes to work, allows them to do so without having to apply for approval.
By contrast, Singapore has been tightening the criteria for employment passes after elections last year revealed concerns about the very high numbers of foreigners living and working there.