Islamic Lifestyle

Malaysia planning work visas for digital freelancers

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is planning a visa programme for tech freelancers to work in the country as a way to accelerate the growth of its digital economy.

The government body said in a statement on Tuesday that it has submitted the plan, under the country’s Professional Visit Pass programme, to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

“This new offering will attract more high-skilled talents in emerging technology such as Artificial Intelligence, blockchain and cyber security, and allow them to work with Malaysian technology companies for 3-12 months,” said MDEC.

MDEC itself will facilitate the digital freelancers and work with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration Department.

MDEC growth ecosystem development vice-president Norhizam Abdul Kadir told local press the programme will start with blockchain jobs and the number of visas to be issued will depend on the projects that will be run by blockchain companies in Malaysia.

MDEC will work with NEM, a foundation that aims to provide blockchain technology platforms to enhance enterprise, and Estonia-based tech recruitment platform Jobbatical.

Estonia last year said it was planning to allow one-year visas for digital nomads but the programme has not yet been rolled out. It is, however, the first country in the world to offer an “e-Residency” visa that allows digital entrepreneurs to start and manage a European Union-based company online. It offers holders a government-issued digital ID, the ability to sign and transfer documents digitally, open a bank account in any EU nation, and access payment services.  

In Southeast Asia, Malaysia’s northern neighbour Thailand launched in February 2018 its SMART Visa programme that targets highly-skilled professionals and talents, including in sectors smart electronics, automation and robotics and digital. Visa holders can stay in ther country up to four years without the requirement of a work permit.

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