TalentCorp was formed in 2011 to attract the best and brightest Malaysians working overseas back. There are over a million overseas Malaysians and some of them are at the top of their career. Entice them back with various tax incentives along with permanent residency for foreign spouse and children and you will have a steady line of Malaysians heading back.
In 2014 only about 2500 Malaysians had returned. The number hasn’t increased by much with by 2017 only 4568 Malaysians returning.
So what is the problem ? Many of the returned Malaysians cite problems with the program. One returnee was penalised as he chose to marry his fiancé after applying the Returning Expert Program. He was shocked to find out that TalentCorp could only offer a long term social pass instead of the cited permanent residency. The program is riddled with unwritten rules that are not disclosed to the applicants. Multiple visits are required to the Immigration department and TalentCrop is unwilling to assist since the KPI has been met.
Other returnees claim that Malaysian immigrations have little knowledge of the program and are clueless on how to assist returning Malaysians. TalentCorp too is not tapping on to the highly skilled foreign spouses of the returning Malaysians and many end up as housewives.
As many as five returning Malaysians interviewed looked at leaving as soon as the mandatory five year period expires. Many have maintained their permanent residencies or have acquired citizenships abroad and look to relocate.
Since Pakatan Harapan government took over nothing has been done to revamp the program. They could for example introduce fast track permanent residency for foreign spouses and children from first world countries or simply reduce the red tape surrounding the whole program.
TalentCorp is a great idea with poor execution. Malaysia desperately needs talent to boost the New Malaysia image. If it can’t look after the talents that are brought in, how can it be used to attract more.