Facts and Figures
32.4 million
GDP per Capita PPP (2021)
USD 29,617.3
International migrants as a share of the total population (2021)
Women as a Percentage of International Migrant Stock (2020)

Malaysia’s resources and strategic location has made Malaysia a major destination country for migrants from Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and African countries. Majority of migration to Malaysia is due to economic opportunities while a substantial number of irregular and vulnerable migrants come to Malaysia seeking protection from violence, persecution and violations in their home country.

Malaysia is also recognised as a destination and a transit country for trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, with migrants often falling prey to unscrupulous recruiters which leaves them stranded and undocumented.

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 the largest migrant-receiving country in Southeast Asia. The migrant workers are from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, and other Asian countries in smaller numbers including India, Cambodia, and Lao PDR; and engaged 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 per cent of the Malaysian workforce (ILO)  and dominating low-skilled and semi-skilled jobs. The presence of regular migrants also requires their employers to pay into health and insurance government programmes, which support social protection schemes, among other benefits to the overall Malaysia economy.

As of December 2021, a total of 180,440 refugees and asylum seekers were registered by UNHCR. The vast majority, 86 per cent, are from Myanmar comprising Rohingya, Chin and other ethnic groups. The Rohingya group makes up 57 per cent or 103,380 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.


IOM Malaysia’s resettlement assistance includes supporting resettlement countries to arrange interviews, making travel arrangements, coordinating with IOM offices in resettlement receiving  countries, assisting with exit formalities, and organizing departure and transit assistance at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.


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 any significant 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 under IOM auspices.

Within the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), IOM Malaysia has collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) in advocating to the government through Malaysia’s COVID-19 Immunization Task Force; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation; and Ministry of Home Affairs to include non-citizens, including those with no documentation in the national immunization programme. 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.


IOM Malaysia’s Counter Trafficking and Immigration and Border Management initiatives are in support of the Government’s efforts to combat trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants which include capacity building activities for relevant authorities and the provision of direct assistance to vulnerable migrants, including victims of trafficking.

The Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST) initiative works with private and public sector actors to realize their potential in upholding human and labour rights of migrant workers in business operations and supply chains with the aim to protect migrant workers.

Cultural orientation

IOM Malaysia’s cultural orientation team provides classes to refugees bound for a resettlement country, covering topics such as how to take a flight, cultural adaptation, information about on-arrival assistance, education, personal health and healthcare systems, how to get a job, general laws as well as individual rights and responsibilities.

Career Opportunities
Title Category Closing Date
Administrative Assistant G4 20 September 2022
Migration Health Physician (multiple positions) NO-B 18 September 2022
Senior Migration Health Physician NO-C 24 August 2022
Senior Operations Assistant, Compliance G6 23 August 2022
Senior Operations Assistant, Data Processing G6 15 August 2022
Migration Health Nurse G5 11 August 2022
Medical Assistant (multiple positions) G4 11 August 2022
Senior Medical Assistant G6 11 August 2022

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Contact information

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Malaysia 570, Jalan Bukit Petaling
50460 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 9235 5400
Fax: +603 2145 1094
Email: iomkualalumpur@iom.int
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IOMMalaysia

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 iomkulinq@iom.int 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 myinquiries@iom.int