Foreign workers in Malaysia

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Malaysia is seeing fewer skilled foreign workers and expatriates, while low-skilled migrant workers flood its shores. Nearly 40% of migrant workers had no formal education, as compared to the 10% with tertiary experience.
Nepali English daily, Republica, said 253 Nepali workers died in Malaysia in 2012, making it one of the "deadliest destinations" for them to come and work.[1]
Malaysia is seeing fewer skilled foreign workers and expatriates, while low-skilled migrant workers flood our shores.

Foreign workers in Malaysia numbered 3.5 million as of mid-2011, comprising 1.5 million legal foreign workers and 2 million illegals.[2] Of these, Bangladeshis (both legal and illegal) accounted for 500,000, roughly one-sixth of all foreign workers in Malaysia (as of 2009).[3]


2.  Skilled foreigners on the decline: Malaysia is seeing fewer skilled foreign workers and expatriates, while low-skilled migrant workers flood its shores. Nearly 40% of migrant workers had no formal education, as compared to the 10% with tertiary experience.[4] Even so, there are more skilled migrant workers in Malaysia than there are skilled jobs.[4] The share of migrants in skilled occupations has declined sharply from a peak level of 10% in 2002 to 5.8% in 2008.[4] This was due to rising domestic education levels, with the overall skill level of the natives increasing.

According to a 2011 World Bank report entitled "Malaysian Economic Monitor: Brain Drain", many foreigners were forced to take up jobs lower than their skills levels. The findings come as no surprise, especially with Malaysians shunning low-level jobs in favor of high-paying ones. As such, the country's labor market has had to rely heavily on foreigners, especially in its agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Skilled foreign workers were also a very small number, consisting of less than 5% of the Malaysia's migrant worker population.[4] This, the World Bank report said, had remained the status quo since 2001.


3.  Decline of expatriates: Data obtained in 2006 showed tertiary-level migrants to be highly paid, with those in the management and professional sectors earning 50% more than Malaysian citizens.[4] All other fields, including clerical workers, technicians and other craftsmen tended to have smaller salaries than locals. This may reflect the scarcity premium of tertiary educated migrants over the Malaysian tertiary-educated workers, the report said.

As of 2010, the World Bank report revealed that there were 32,583 expatriates in West Malaysia, or a 25% drop from that of 2004 (43,406). The country with the largest number of people leaving the Peninsula was Singapore, with 60% of its 3,091 citizens (1,249) moving back south.[4] Runners-up Taiwan and Japan, on the other hand, experienced 58% drops, with 811 and 3,149 foreign citizens leaving respectively.[4] The decline, according to the report, was largely due to the global economic crisis during that time. The crisis affected not only the movement of capital across borders (particularly foreign direct investments) but also that of professional workers. On the other hand, expatriates from Bangladesh and Iran appeared to flock to the country in droves. From 2004 to 2010, 1,315 Bangladeshi and 466 Iranian expatriates came to Malaysia, indicating a 234% and 194% increase respectively.[4]

 more... at Chronology



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