Is time running out for long term expats in Malaysia

Is time running out for long term expats in Malaysia

Is time running out for long term expats in Malaysia

What turns a relocating expat professional in Malaysia into a permanent resident?

Traditionally, a posting to Malaysia involves an expat professional’s transfer to his company’s overseas office and is almost always temporary in nature. A package of incentives such as housing and children’s education allowances and other perks encourage acceptance, but it’s true that not every expat who arrives returns home after his or her contract expires. In this amazing country, temporary can become permanent for a number of reasons.

Malaysia’s spectacular island archipelago attracts long-term residents with enough get-up-and-go to recognise a good thing whilst they’re living it. Long-stayers are likely to be involved in entrepreneurial activities such as import/export, owning restaurants, being life coaches and becoming independent financial advisors to the established expat communities. They’re all in love with the Malaysian weather, the fascinatingly rich and varied culture and , most importantly, the low cost of living and quality of life.

Johor Bahru, George Town and even Kuala Lumpur are amongst the world’s least expensive destinations for expatriates, with long-stayers used to living the dream not wanting to ever wake up. Sunday brunches, long lazy afternoons in tropical bars, children safely ensconced in private schools, golfing weekends and personal housemaids are all part of the dream and explain why those intoxicated with Malaysian expat life do their very best to never, ever leave. Another important attraction is that accents, university pedigrees and social standing don’t matter a jot in the country.

However, dreams tend to fade, and life in Malaysia for long-stayers is getting increasingly difficult. The economy is slowing down, the ringgit currency is getting weaker and small businesses are floundering or even failing. Even the mega-rich expats who made their stash in the good times and purchased luxury pool villas are feeling the strain and having problems getting a good night’s sleep. Couples thinking of divorce are staying together due to financial necessity, and homes aren’t selling now the housing market is weakening. Even very desirable residences advertising heavy price reductions aren’t selling and, even if they do, the cash won’t go far back at home.

Renters are moving to cheaper districts, children are being relocated to less expensive schools and shopaholic wives are definitely not having the time of their lives. Some are taking to alcohol-fuelled stress relief, others are researching alternative cures for their boredom and depression, and many expats are fully aware the good times are running out fast. However, there’s one thing about long-term expats that somehow manages to defy all predictions – they never, ever stop trying.

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