New Visa Set to Make Malaysia Entrepreneur Expat Hotspot
A new visa will be issued in 2015 allowing entrepreneurs to stay in Malaysia for one year while they set-up and run a business.
The South-East Asian country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, is known as an ‘alpha world city’ for its global economic importance. However, working visas are notoriously hard to obtain and the Malaysian government hopes the move will bring a boost to the country’s economy.
As seen in Singapore a few years ago, the visa is likely to bring with it floods of venture capitalists keen to invest in the entrepreneurs who take up the offer.
Malaysia’s world class architecture, cosmopolitan attractions and business prospects, combined with its proximity to beautiful beaches, highlands and traditional culture make it an appealing country for expats.
Current international residents in the capital rate it for its excellent nightlife and food and say their quality of life has improved since moving to Malaysia.
British engineer Alex Moore moved to Kuala Lumpur eight months ago. He said: “It is ridiculous, despite being on a slightly lower salary than in the UK, I spend far less on rent and my apartment comes with a gym, pool and cleaner. The entertainment in KL is fantastic and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten as well as I do here.
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“Despite not being Malay there are also really clear job progression routes here and there would be a lot of opportunity for someone to set a business up here. The country is filled with enterprise and opportunity. “You can fly to the rest of SE Asia for nothing for a weekend in Bali, Hong Kong, Bangkok or wherever really.”
Malaysia’s proximity to the rest of SE Asia also brings with it other benefits; it also means a business set up there would be close to other huge markets including Singapore and Hong Kong, creating great opportunities for trade and /or expansion.
Malaysia’s Treasury Secretary-General, Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, said the pass would not be a free for all though, and a committee would be set up to judge the eligibility of the applicant.
He said: “The committee will also monitor the progress of their companies. If their businesses are doing well, including opening up job opportunities for locals, we will consider extending the passes.”
The appeal of Malaysia to an entrepreneur is wide; residential and business rents are far cheaper than those in the US and UK, as is the living wage of a local workforce.
Not only does leave business owners with more money to pump back into their business, but it also reduces the amount of capital needed to raise before starting up, and bootstrapping in SE Asia can also provide entrepreneurs with invaluable international enterprise experience.
Expat entrepreneurs may also be tempted by Irwan’s promise not to burden entrepreneurs with heavy taxes. A rate has yet to be set but looks likely to a fraction of that in the UK or US. He added: “Foreign entrepreneurs should take advantage of the 600 million population in Southeast Asia, which is a very large market to penetrate.”