Malaysia today opened applications for permanent resident status or resident passes in a bid to attract highly skilled foreign professionals, including Indians.

“We hope the highly-skilled and professional workers from abroad will contribute to the government’s effort to make Malaysia a high-income nation by the year 2020, in line with the Economic Transformation Programme,” Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.

Hussein said this initiative was a joint effort with the Immigration Department and Talent Corporation Malaysia Bhd.

Malaysia heavily relies on foreign labour for its unskilled and semi skilled sector. A majority of the workers are from neighbouring Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan.

However, it also faces a shortage in skilled professionals. For the first phase, the focus will be on applications recognised by Talent Corporation.

The pass holders would be allowed to work without any employment restrictions for five to 10 years, and the period could be extended, Hishammuddin said, adding their immediate family members would be allowed to stay in the country and enjoy the same facilities.

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