23. Jun, 2018
Disclaimer: This information is purely to help those who intend to marry a Malaysian. It is just a guideline. This should not be quoted as authentic reference. For exact and proper procedure you must consult the relevant departments like JPN, JAWI, MYGov & "Majlis Agama Islam" of your area & Act 303 of “Islamic Family Law (F.T) 1984” of ‘Laws of Malaysia’.


22. Aug, 2016

FSSG is participating in a Research on Foreign Spouses of Malaysian Citizens, that is being done by University of Malaya, we do hope that Foreign Spouses will be help us to respond to the Questionnaire.

The survey will take a few minutes to complete, please give us your time and efforts, it will give us advanced understanding on the issue backed by solid statistics. Just follow these few easy steps.

1) Down load the form or Copy Paste or use this online link to fill & then download the completed form https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Yb2ZqKpRArPgB7QKoWhVZogTE1hFmCpq_GOM5U0wt0g/edit

2) Respond to the Questions - no right or wrong answer, it is not an exam.
3) Please return to FSSG by email : foreignspouses@gmail.com

4) Alternatively you can answer the questions on line at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdR0xwNUhvcCTDhiUSOfsvN_YSAE4C5lIhvvfKYtxWfSB7tow/viewform

& we will receive your responses automatically.



Thank you in Advance. 🙂🙂

Bina Ramanand
Foreign Spouses Support Group
fb page: Foreign Spouses Support Group





Dear Participant,


I am conducting a research related to the social conditions of foreign spouses in Malaysia. The purpose of this survey is to understand the issues and challenges especially in the area of work and employment faced by foreign nationals who are married to Malaysian citizens and are currently residing in Malaysia.  May I ask your cooperation by providing honest responses to the information asked. Rest assured that your responses will be treated with utmost confidentiality.

I requested the assistance of the Coordinator of FSSG to gather as many respondents as possible for this academic endeavor.

Thank you for your contribution to this important study and I owe it to you for your cooperation and sincerity.  I wish you the best in life.





Research Associate

Asia-Europe Institute

University of Malaya

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Mobile: 6019-3822-529

Email: lindalumayag2@gmail.com


Email: foreignspouses@gmail.com


















[     ] Male       [     ] Female 




Country of origin


No. of years living in Malaysia


Level of education/Highest educational attainment




Marital status

[    ] Married      [     ] Widow       [     ] Divorced   

[     ] Separated   [     ] Live-in/common law  

No. of years married to Malaysian spouse


Where did you get married?

[     ] Outside Malaysia; please specify –

[     ] In Malaysia

Ethnic background of Malaysian spouse


For example: Kadazan, Malay, Indian, Chinese etc.

Pls specify: _______________

How did you meet your Malaysian spouse?

For example: At work, on travel, via online dating site or commercial matchmaking agency

Pls specify: __________________

Your religion before marriage


Malaysian spouse’s religion


Your current religion (If converted)


No. of biological children


No. of adopted children


Have your children acquired Malaysian citizenship immediately after birth?

If No, why?

[     ] Yes   [     ] No


Please specify


Is this marriage your first marriage?


If No, how many children do you have from the previous marriage?

[    ] Yes     [     ] No




Does your spouse have  children before marriage?

If Yes, how many?

[     ] Yes   [     ] No





Do you own a house after your marriage?

If yes, are you a co-owner of the house?

[     ] Yes   [     ] No


[     ] Yes   [     ] No

Do you own a car after marriage?

If yes, are you a co-owner of the car?

[    ] Yes   [     ] No


[     ] Yes   [     ] No

Does your Malaysian spouse put your name when he/she purchases a property?

[     ] Yes   [     ] No



Your job before marriage  


Your current job



Current area of employment

For example: Construction, Hotel, Factory, Education, Media etc.

Please specify –

Estimated  income (In RM) per month


I need to work as my Malaysian spouse’s income is not sufficient for the family.


[     ] Yes   [     ] No



Job before marriage


Current job


Current area of employment

For example: Construction, Factory, Hotel, Education, Media etc.

Please specify –


Estimated income (In RM) per month




Do you have a passport?

[    ]   Yes  

[    ]   No

What visa are you holding at present?

[    ] Short Term Social Visit Pass  (1-6 months)

 [    ] Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) (1 year-5 


[    ] Student Pass

[    ] Work Pass

[    ] Permanent Resident (PR)

[    ] I already have a Malaysian IC (blue)

What type of visa was given to you as soon as you arrived in Malaysia?


[    ] Short Term Social Visit Pass  (1-6 months)

[    ] Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) (1 – 5 years)

[    ] Student Pass

[    ] Work Pass

[    ] Permanent Resident (PR)

[    ] Others; Please Specify-


I do not have money for the Security Bond.   

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No



Have you tried applying for Permanent Resident (PR) status?


If No, Why?

[     ] Yes   [     ] No



Please specify –

If Yes,  why is PR important to you?



If Yes, how long did you wait for the Permanent Resident (PR) to be approved?


Has your Permanent Resident (PR)  application been rejected before?


If Yes,Why?

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No   [    ]  I don't know



Please specify  __________





1. The process of getting a PR status was difficult and time consuming.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


2. My PR application has been rejected without any explanation from the Dept. of Immigration.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


3. I feel that male foreign spouse has more difficulty in obtaining PR status than a foreign woman spouse.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


4. If I have no PR, I have no legal rights.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


5. I will keep on trying until I get a PR.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No






 6. Getting a job in Malaysia is difficult even if I am qualified to work.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


7. I believe that by acquiring PR, it will be easier for me to apply for a job.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


8. I have PR but I am not able to gain employment.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


9. I have to obtain a letter of consent to work from my Malaysian spouse in order to work.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


10. Prospective employers are not willing to give me a job because of the statement on the visa that I am prohibited from all forms of employment.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


11. The prospective employer does not accept me even with my PR.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


12. PR status is important for a job that requires a Professional License.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No






13. My Malaysian spouse does not allow me to practice my own religion.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


14. I have to pay higher medical fee in government hospitals and clinics.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


15. I received less interest on my bank fixed deposit compared to Malaysian citizens.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


16. My employer does not contribute EPF for me.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


17. I am not permitted to make withdrawals from Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to purchase a house.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


18. I am not permitted to make withdrawals from Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for the purpose of my children’s education.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


19. Being a widow, I am not permitted to work.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


20. Being a widow I am helpless because I am dependent on my sponsor.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


21. It is unfair that my children are not given Malaysian citizenship immediately when they were born outside of Malaysia.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


22. The difficulty in acquiring a PR status gives me an idea to go back to my home country.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No


23. The difficulty in acquiring a PR status gives me an idea to go to other countries.

[    ]  Yes       [    ]   No





I do not know where to go whenever I need someone to talk to.

[     ] Yes   [     ] No

I  have friends outside my family.

[     ] Yes   [     ] No

My country friends are helpful.  

[     ] Yes   [     ] No

I have many local/Malaysian friends.

[    ] Yes   [     ] No

I have a good relationship with my in-laws.

[     ] Yes   [     ] No

I am a member of any of these associations/support group in Malaysia.

(Please choose more than one if necessary)

[    ] Foreign Spouses Support Group (FSSG)

[    ] Migrant Group

[    ] Women & Global Migration Working Group

[    ] Voluntary group, i.e. Religious Group

[    ] None

[    ] Others; please specify-

I am able to speak Bahasa Malaysia.

[     ] Yes   [     ] No

I sense I belong to Malaysia.

[     ] Yes   [     ] No


I go back to my country  for a visit every year.


[     ] Yes   [    ] No


Overall, I enjoy living in Malaysia with my Malaysian family regardless of the challenges I am facing.


[     ] Yes   [     ] No

If No, please specify-





1. What are the problems/challenges you encountered being in Spouse Visa? Please suggest how to resolve/improve these problems.





2. Kindly write your urgent concerns about your stay in Malaysia, if you have any.










Thank you very much for your cooperation!

3. Aug, 2016

Difficulties in Making Malaysia our First Home


As in other parts of the developed world, trans-national marriages are increasing in Malaysia as more Malaysians go over-seas for education and business.  Non-Malaysian or non-citizen spouses of Malaysians face many challenges in Malaysia, despite living for years here, raising children and establishing permanent homes, their immigration status remains uncertain with restrictions on their right to work. They are required to apply repeatedly for visas in order to stay in Malaysia. Applications for permanent residence and citizenship take years to be approved, without clarification provided. Daily life is made difficult as they are discriminated against as foreigners by providers of private and public services, such as banks and hospitals, schools, universities etc. The challenges of daily living contribute to marital strife. A significant number of couples leave Malaysia permanently, unable to gain security and stability.


Long Term Social Visit Pass


Non-Malaysian spouses reside in Malaysia on the Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP), the duration of this visa can vary from three months to five years, depending on the Immigration Department officer concerned.  There is a mandatory requirement for foreign spouses to have their Malaysian spouses physically present each time they have to renew their LTSVP until they receive permanent resident status, which can take decades, creating a situation of dependency, vulnerability, instability and women prone to domestic violence.  


Malaysian women who do not earn more than RM2000 per month cannot sponsor their non-Malaysian husbands and are required to find a sponsor who earns above RM2000. This poses difficulty for returning graduates who are newly married to non-citizens. This discriminatory policy on Malaysian women should be removed in line with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which Malaysia has ratified.


In some cases, male non-Malaysian spouses who are either on Social Visit Pass or on a work permit, are given a cooling off period of six months and sometimes they are asked to return and wait in the home country, this creates severe difficulties for the Malaysian women, some of whom are expectant mothers. 

Furthermore until spouses are on the One Year LTSVP they are unable to get the endorsement to work from Immigration.


Also in existence is the discriminatory practice whereby African and Chinese nationals are required to apply and renew their visas in the Federal Capital of Putrajaya and not in more conveniently located state offices, causing unnecessary expenses for young couples and severely inconveniencing spouses with infants.


There is also no provision in the law or policy to enable couples with non-Malaysian partners who are in a long term partnership, but who do not wish to enter into a marriage, to live in the country together.  There is no provision when one spouse is working overseas, as is quite common these days for IT and other Professionals who often work  in overseas projects, due consideration should be accorded to them or else their application for permanent residency will be further delayed.


These restrictions impinge on the rights of non-Malaysian spouses, keeping them in a state of dependency on their Malaysian spouses for years resulting in tension and stress for the family unit.   In actual fact, non-Malaysian spouses remain in the country at the mercy of their Malaysian spouses, including for their right to be employed, this is despite having and supporting their Malaysian children.  The Malaysian spouse at any time can cancel the visa of the non-Malaysian spouse.


Right to Employment


The visa for the LTSVP of Spouses has this statement “any form of employment is strictly prohibited – SPOUSE OF A MALAYSIAN CITIZEN”.   Many spouses however are unaware that they may work once they receive the work approval from the Immigration Department and this statement is then manually struck off the visa. 


The endorsement to work is given by the Immigration Department once the non-Malaysian spouse is able to secure an appointment letter from the employer, the company registration and the approval from the Malaysian spouse to work.   Increasingly spouses find it difficult to convince employers that they are permitted to work, due to this statement on their visa.  Securing the endorsement to work is cumbersome and restricted to the employer mentioned and for the period specified.


The endorsement to work for non-Malaysian spouses comes with the requirement of a letter written by the Malaysian spouse granting the non-citizen spouse the permission to work.  Such a letter of approval/permission is totally discriminatory, reinforces dependency on Malaysian Spouse and provides limited autonomy to non-citizen spouses. 


Until one secures permanent residency, certain sectors remain inaccessible to non-Malaysian spouses, such as insurance, banking and law.  Graduates who have these degrees find it close to impossible securing jobs in these areas until they secure permanent residency. This leads to greater economic constraint on their Malaysian family and Malaysian children, such as depriving children of good education or even a roof above them.


Even after securing permanent residency in Malaysia, doors of the government sector remains shut, with few exceptions such as positions of doctors and university lecturers.


Employer’s contribution to the social security fund (EPF) is optional for foreign spouses, although there is a mandatory contribution of 12 % for citizens and permanent residence holders.  In view of the EPF constitutes the only savings at retirement for many Malaysian employees and allows for withdrawal for property, medical and children's education, this facility should be extended to non-Malaysian spouses.  Currently, foreign spouses who have EPF are not permitted to make withdrawals from Account Two, for children’s education or purchase of their homes are informed to provide an air-ticket and withdraw the entire amount.


Until October 2008, there were severe restrictions imposed on employment, with non-Malaysian spouses only permitted to work in organisations with a paid up capital of RM200,000 – RM300,000. Although the restrictions on the right to work have been lifted, many spouses who came in the late 1980s and 1990s as youth and have not worked due to these restrictions, have lost their ‘prime time’, are now close to retirement, facing severe difficulties in finding gainful employment and with no savings for their retirement.


The Permanent Residency Process


The Immigration Department website states that non-Malaysian spouses must reside in Malaysia for a minimum period of five years on the LTSVP  before a permanent residency application can be made, the approval process can then take over 3-5 years, thus it may be over a decade before permanent residency can be obtained. 

There seems to be no clear set guidelines outlining the permanent residency application process. 

Anecdotal evidence has suggested that non-Malaysian husbands wait longer than non-Malaysian wives to hear the outcome of their permanent residency application. This is a huge challenge for Malaysian women married to foreign husbands and is a strain on the marriage and a source of stress for the family.


There have also been reports of a variation in the procedure for applications based on nationality.  This is ostensibly owing to a bias against so-called ‘sham’ marriages of convenience.  However this should not become the reason for delays, which severely restricts the rights of those in genuine marriages.


The permanent residency application is made by the Malaysian spouse and all correspondence is addressed to the Malaysian spouse, which creates difficulty if the marriage is estranged.  Mention should be made here to the copious documentation required from copies of all passports of the family, to wedding invitations, birth certificates and other documentation which would have already been submitted at the time of application for the LTSVP.  It sometimes takes years and in the past, even decades, for an application to be approved or rejected.


There is a dire need for transparency in the process of issuing permanent residency to non-Malaysian spouses of Malaysian citizens.  There is also a need to have explicit guidelines stipulating the time limits for the review of applications, reasons for rejection of the applications and judicial review procedures for permanent residency as well as citizenship applications. 




Non Malaysian wives can acquire Malaysian citizenship by registration if the marriage is still subsisting and she has resided (with permanent resident status) in Malaysia for 2 years and is of good character (Federal Constitution, Article 15(1)).  However, since obtaining permanent residence status is mired in delays, often this option is not taken up.


Marriage to Malaysian citizens does not provide any benefit to male non-Malaysian spouse. They are required to apply for citizenship by naturalisation as any other non-citizen which requires 10 years of residence (with permanent residence status).  


The language of Schedule II of the Federal Constitution must be amended to allow both Malaysian men and women to confer their citizenship on their children when the child is born outside of Malaysia to one Malaysian parent. At present only Malaysian fathers can automatically confer citizenship to their children born overseas.