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Guide To Understanding And Applying For Malaysia Permanent Resident

Permanent Residents enjoy many benefits that Malaysia citizens get such as access to public healthcare and contribution to the EPF.


Many foreign expats have chosen to make Malaysia their second home because of its affordable living costs. The sunny weather year-round and multicultural community where foreigners are widely accepted are additional reasons why Malaysia is a comfortable place to live in.  

In fact, the Expat Insider 2021 survey revealed that Malaysia is the fourth best country to work and live in for expats  with above average scores in cost of living and ease of settling in. 

In Malaysia, there is a total of 2.1 million foreigners holding jobs in 2022. Typically, expats who want to work and live in a new country hold a work visa or Permanent Resident visa.  

A Permanent Resident can stay in a country over a long period of time without needing to renew their visa and are often entitled to benefits that are given to citizens.  

Permanent Resident VS Work Visa VS Citizenship  

There are more benefits to becoming a Permanent Resident compared to holding an employment visa. Basically, Permanent Residents enjoy many of the same privileges given to citizens such as unlimited entry into the country, access to public healthcare and even ease to set up a business in the new country.    

In Malaysia, Permanent Residents are able to: 

  • Permanently stay in the country 
  • Freely travel in and out of the country 
  • Work in any jobs and industries 
  • Set up a business of any nature that’s legal 
  • Get treatment at public hospitals 
  • Access public education 
  • Contribute to the Employee Provident Fund 

They are not allowed to do the following: 

  • Vote in an election 
  • Participate in political activities 
  • Buy certain properties 

With a Permanent Resident visa, you are privy to a lot of the benefits awarded to the locals, but you remain a citizen of your origin country. This is suited for those who spend a lot of time in a foreign country perhaps to pursue work opportunities but are not ready to forgo their life back in the origin country.   

Requirements To Apply For A Malaysia Permanent Resident 

Foreigners will need an entry permit to apply for Permanent Resident status with the National Registry Department. An entry permit lets one stay in Malaysia after their temporary pass expires. You can apply for an entry permit under four categories. 

  • Investor or Expert  
  • Investors with US$2 million in a fixed deposit account at any bank in Malaysia, which can only be withdrawn after five years. 
  • Expert workers with internationally-recognised skills endorsed by a relevant company and has proof of good conduct from country of origin. 
  • Each applicant needs to have a Malaysian sponsor. 
  • Professional 
  • Professional worker attached to and certified by a government agency or private company in Malaysia for a minimum of three years. 
  • Possess recommendation from the agency or company as well as proof of good conduct from country of origin. 
  • Has a Malaysian sponsor. 
  • Spouse of Malaysian Citizen 
  • Holds the Long-Term Visit Pass and has been staying in Malaysia for five years. 
  • Spouse to act as sponsor. 
  • Application for an entry permit through a point system that awards scores based on the following: 
  • Age 
  • Qualification 
  • Duration of stay in Malaysia 
  • Familiarity with the Malaysia Institute 
  • The values of investments 
  • Working experience in Malaysia 
  • Proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia 

You will need a minimum of 65 out of 120 points to submit your application. 

The application for permanent residency must take place in Malaysia. Applicants submit the required documents including a personalised cover letter and recommendation by a relevant agency in Malaysia to the Immigration Department in Putrajaya for investors and experts.  

Other categories of applicants may submit their application to the State Immigrations Office. Applicants will also be interviewed by the Immigration Department on the application. 

Alternative Option To Permanent Residency: Malaysia My Second Home Visa 

To protect the interests of its citizens and the country itself, requirements to apply for an entry permit can be quite stringent. 

There is another pass that allows one to stay for a long period of time in Malaysia. The Malaysia My Second Home Visa (MM2H) is a popular option among foreigners who want to retire and reside in Malaysia over an extended period. 

With the MM2H Visa, you get a visa that lets you stay in Malaysia for five years with multiple entries. It is renewable after expiry for an unlimited time.  

To apply for the MM2H Visa, you will need to fulfil the following criteria: 

  • Place M$1 million in a fixed deposit account in which half of it can only be taken out for specific purposes like property purchase 
  • Offshore monthly income of M$40,000 
  • Liquid assets worth M$1.5 million 

There are benefits to becoming a MM2H Visa holder including discounts on certain property purchases, tax exemption on pension sent across to Malaysia, part-time work income and the transfer of your pet into Malaysia.  

Featured Image Credit: Honey Shune Lai Nyo/DollarsAndSense 


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