Between 2018 to 2020, the Malaysian government officially estimated that the country hosted approximately 1.4 to 2 million documented migrants, and unofficial estimates of 1.2 to 3.5 million additional migrants (as reported by the World Bank) - thus making Malaysia one of the largest migrant-receiving country in Southeast Asia. Migrant workers come from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, and other Asian countries in smaller numbers including India, Cambodia, and Lao PDR; and engage in industries including manufacturing, plantation, agriculture, services (hospitality and security), and domestic work. Labour migrants in these corridors are key contributors to the economies of both Malaysia and their countries of origin, representing an estimated 20% of the Malaysian workforce (ILO) and dominating low-skilled and semi-skilled jobs. The presence of regular migrants also requires their employer to pay into health and insurance government programmes which support social protection schemes, among other benefits to the overall Malaysia economy.
As of end of September 2022, a total of 183,430 refugees and asylum seekers were registered by UNHCR. The vast majority (86%) are from Myanmar comprising Rohingya, Chin and other ethnic groups. The Rohingya group makes up 58% or 105,870 of the total refugee population in Malaysia. The remaining refugees originate from countries including Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Sri Lanka, among others.
For more information on IOM in Malaysia, please refer to the Infosheet.
- Resettlement and Movement Management
IOM Malaysia works closely with government agencies, UNHCR, airlines, airport authorities, and other partners to enable resettlement as a durable solution for refugees. IOM Malaysia’s resettlement assistance encompasses a wide range of activities including selection mission support by facilitating refugee interviews and visa application form filling, booking and purchase of airline tickets for international travel, exit permit processing, ground transportation, airport departure, and transit assistance.
To learn more about IOM resettlement assistance, kindly click on this link: https://www.iom.int/resettlement-assistance
To learn more about IOM movement assistance, kindly click on this link: https://www.iom.int/movement-assistance
Important messages for refugee and migrant communities:
Who does what in the resettlement continuum?
- Refugee Status Determination: UNHCR
- Referral to the resettlement countries: UNHCR
- Decision on resettlement acceptance: Government of the receiving country
- IOM assistance with travel arrangements starts once the beneficiary has been accepted for resettlement.
- The receiving country contacts IOM to make travel arrangements for approved cases.
- IOM contacts cases once travel instructions are received.
If you have been accepted for resettlement and want to provide updated information to IOM Malaysia, you may call IOM Movement Operations on +603 9235 5400 or email email@example.com
For protection and assistance, and other inquiries, please contact UNHCR directly through the web pages on the UNHCR website https://refugeemalaysia.org/contact/
- Migration Health
IOM Malaysia’s medical team conducts health assessments for all refugees who have been accepted for resettlement to a third country. These include physical examinations that assess their health status and identify medical conditions which may require treatment prior to their departure; medical follow-ups and special care after their resettlement; and provision of health education and vaccination. The medical team also provides pre-embarkation checks for migrants who are traveling as part of IOM programmes.
Within the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), IOM Malaysia collaborates with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) in advocating for the inclusion of migrants and vulnerable populations in the Malaysian government's immunization and vaccination programmes as part of the COVID-19 response. The UN advocacy and engagement effort includes presenting possible solutions on ways to include migrants without threat of arrest and detention and to create an enabling environment, collaborating with NGOs to reach out to migrants in local languages, and providing mobile vaccination centres that migrants and refugees feel comfortable approaching, without requiring an identification document to receive the vaccination.
Under the Protection Division, IOM Malaysia prioritises promoting and upholding the rights of migrants and their communities via various programmatic activities by working closely with the Malaysian government, NGOs and other partners through capacity development, stakeholder dialogues and the development of materials for training and dissemination. IOM also advocates to reduce protection risks of individuals in vulnerable situations and exposed to exploitation, and to elevate their capacities and knowledge on services available to them through direct assistance support. Research for evidence-based data is a key priority for IOM to assist the Malaysian government in policy-making decisions specifically in areas linked to trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, drivers of transnational migration, and recommendations to address factors contributing to migrants being in irregular situations. These initiatives directly respond to the Malaysian government’s efforts to tackle the challenges of combatting trafficking in persons as outlined in the National Action Plan on Anti-Trafficking in Persons 2021-2025 (NAPTIP 3.0) by providing victim-centered assistance and services that conform to international standards.
Within the same division, IOM Malaysia also runs the Assisted Return, Readmission, and Reintegration programme, which assists victims of trafficking and exploitation, stranded migrants and other vulnerable groups who want to return home but lack the means to do so. The programme provides access to humanitarian and direct assistance including identification, screening, psychosocial first aid, and coordination of travel documentation for other vulnerable groups who are in similar situation. With the support of the Government of Malaysia, diplomatic missions and NGOs, IOM Malaysia has provided direct assistance to approximately 1,000 vulnerable migrants since 2005. IOM Malaysia also provides support to Malaysians who have been stranded or exploited abroad to return home, supporting over 600 Malaysians since 2010.
Any inquiries or request for support and assistance on matters related to assisted Return, Readmission and reintegration can be forwarded via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Labour Mobility and Social Inclusion Division
The Labour Mobility and Social Inclusion Division aims at leveraging migration for sustainable development, most notably through national and regional partnerships with the private sector, migrants and Governments to promote ethical recruitment standards and combat forced labour. Under this unit, IOM has established the Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST) project, which is an initiative that works with private and public sector actors to realise their potential in upholding human and labour rights of migrant workers in business operations and supply chains with the aim to protect migrant workers.
IOM also works with labour recruiters through the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) initiative to raise awareness about ethical recruitment practices; provide practical training and tools; support labour recruiters with ethical recruitment practices; provide practical training and tools; support labour recruiters to demonstrate compliance to the IRIS standard of ethical recruitment; and access responsible recruitment markets based on the Employer Pays Principle.
- Cultural orientation
IOM has worked in partnership with the Australian Department of Home Affairs; the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC); the UK Home Office; the Korean government; and the Japanese government, among others to deliver pre-departure Cultural Orientation training for refugees and beneficiaries accepted for resettlement in those countries.
IOM Malaysia’s Cultural Orientation team provides training for refugees accepted for resettlement on cultural norms, rules and regulations in the host country, relevant information regarding travels and what to expect on arrival, health, and access to education and employment opportunities. Since 2005 until present, all departing refugees receive Cultural Orientation, according to the country they are resettling to such as Australia, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea and United Kingdom.
To learn more about the Cultural Orientation programmes offered at IOM, kindly click on the following links:
Australian Cultural Orientation
Canadian Cultural Orientation Abroad Programme
UK Cultural Orientation and English Language Training (CO-ELT)
- Career Opportunities
Title Category Closing Date Senior Project Assistant (Migrant Protection and Assistance) G6 7 June 2023 Migration Health Physician (multiple positions) NO-B 5 June 2023 Project Assistant (MPA) G5 7 June 2023 Medical Assistant (multiple positions) G4 13 June 2023
- Contact information
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Malaysia 570, Jalan Bukit Petaling
50460 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 9235 5400
Fax: +603 2145 1094
If you have been accepted for resettlement and want to provide updated information to IOM Malaysia, you may email IOM Resettlement and Movement Management unit at email@example.com or call +603 9235 5400. For protection and assistance and other inquiries, please contact UNHCR directly through the web pages on the UNHCR website https://refugeemalaysia.org/contact/
If you have any inquiries or require support and assistance for matters related to assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR), kindly email firstname.lastname@example.org