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Part-Time Jobs for International Students in Malaysia

We've listed down some top part-time work options that you can take up while studying abroad in Malaysia

Mahesh Ramani

Non-Malaysian students are allowed to work on a part-time basis during semester breaks, festive holidays or more than seven days of holiday for a maximum of 20 hours a week.

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The past five years have seen a spike in interest among international students aspiring to study in Malaysia. This is especially among students from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It was Singapore that spearheaded the boom in the higher education sector in the region.

Though Malaysia has a strong balance of public universities and private institutions; the country did not actually inspire a lot of confidence among international applicants for a long period of time. Dedicated efforts by the Malaysian government to create a world-class educational hub resulted in the creation of the Iskandar EduCity Project. The Project offers easy access for international educational institutions of repute to start a satellite campus in Malaysia. Newcastle University, University of Southampton, University of Reading and Netherlands Maritime University are some of the important international universities which are a part of the EduCity project. These institutions are in addition to Malaysia’s renowned universities like - Universiti Uttara Malaysia (UUM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Universiti Kebangsan Malaysia (UKM).This article will examine the quality of student life in Malaysia and the various part-time job opportunities and post-study work options available for international students in Malaysia. 

Student Life:

Malaysia comprises 11 states and two federal territories and is a constitutional monarchy. The country is a melting pot of different cultures with a mix of Indian Chinese, Japanese and European influence. The country offers a varied landscape with a mix of forests, mountains, pristine beaches and modern cities with towering sky-scrapers. The cost of living is lesser when compared to Singapore and the country has a strong public transport network. Islam is the primary religion in the country though it offers a secular atmosphere with Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries co-existing with mosques and churches.

Students are advised to opt for on-campus accommodation, which offers a complete package for living and food costs. Living off-campus and spending more time and money on travel and food is better not advisable. The costs will vary depending on the city where the student lives. Kuala Lumpur will definitely be a bit more expensive to live as it is the national capital city.

Rules and Regulations Regarding Part-Time Jobs:

Non-Malaysian students are allowed to work on a part-time basis during semester breaks, festive holidays or more than seven days of holiday for a maximum of 20 hours a week.Non-Malaysian students are permitted to work in restaurants, petrol kiosks, mini markets and hotels except in the following positions: cashier, singer, masseur, musician, Guest Relations Officer.

All students aspiring to work part-time must have a valid ‘Student Pass’. 

Applicants for the ‘Student Pass’ should submit:

  • A photocopy of their passport (pages containing information of the bearer and the valid Student Pass pages) 
  • Address, Contact number and letter from the prospective employer 
  • RM120.00 (Non-refundable processing fee) 
  • The application to work part-time must be forwarded by the representative of the University to the Immigration Department Headquarters Malaysia. The University must provide a supporting letter allowing the Non-Malaysian student to work, and which includes the dates of the semester breaks.
  • Students will be interviewed, after which the application will be either approved/declined.
  • The passport of students whose application has been approved will be endorsed accordingly.

The University is required to submit a quarterly report to the Immigration Department about the students’ academic progress.  The extension of the approval to work will only be given if the student maintains a good academic record.


The down-side of living in a place where the cost of living is less - is that the salaries on offer are also not very high. Wages usually get capped at around RM 150 for a week’s worth of work. These earnings can be used for minor expenses and one definitely needs to have strong financial support to study and live in Malaysia. One cannot subsist on wages earned by part-time work. 

Post-Study Work Rights:

To be honest, the scenario is not that great for international students to find a job within Malaysia after their studies. When a job is announced the first preference is for Malaysian citizens. It is advisable to look for a job in one’s own country rather than waiting and finding a job in Malaysia. International students who are lucky to land a job in Malaysia on completing their studies; need to secure an ‘Employment Pass’ before they can start working.

We hope that you found this article useful and interesting. Please share your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.

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