World Bank recommends changes to improve REP and RP-T

PUTRAJAYA, 26 June 2015 –The World Bank’s report “Improving the Effectiveness of TalentCorp’s Initiatives” released today concludes that Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad’s (TalentCorp) Returning Expert Programme (REP) and Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) initiatives are effective in attracting and retaining talent with skills that Malaysia needs.

At the same time, the World Bank’s report recommends changes to both REP and RP-T to improve effectiveness going forward. The report was launched today in the presence of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dato’ Sri Abdul Wahid Omar.  

The report highlighted that the REP is effective in attracting people with the skills that Malaysia needs. It is most effective for individuals who already have a job in Malaysia when they apply, as they are over 40 percent more likely to return as a result of the REP incentives. The REP was found to offer positive monetary value rather than a cost to Malaysia, with net fiscal benefits estimated at RM27,000 per returned applicant.

Further, the report provides data that Malaysians living in OECD countries have grown from 121,000 in 1990 to 171,000 in 2000 and 311,000 in 2010. The World Bank views these Malaysians as a rich talent pool to be tapped to fill Malaysia’s skill gaps, especially given the highly educated nature of diaspora in OECD countries, where 54.5 percent had completed tertiary education or above. The World Bank report highlights the opportunity to attract Malaysians back through jobs. Career opportunities was the most cited reason for originally migrating abroad, based on the feedback of 72 percent of the survey respondents.    

Meanwhile, the report concludes that the RP-T is effective in retaining individuals who are filling some of Malaysia’s skill gaps. The World Bank found that RP-T expatriates earn 4.3 times and REP returnees earn 2.3 times more the wages of comparable Malaysian professionals, suggesting the programmes target highly skilled talent and that employers value international experience.

The report proposes several recommendations for improving the REP and RP-T initiatives, including:

  • TalentCorp to focus on connecting Malaysian professionals abroad to job opportunities, given the Malaysians abroad are highly educated, professionally opportunistic, and well-networked individuals who react positively to career opportunities;
  • To continuously review and refine both the REP and RP-T eligibility criteria to better align with skillsets in shortage for Malaysia. Towards this, as announced in the 11th Malaysia Plan, TalentCorp and the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA) will lead an effort to develop a common platform to identify skills shortages in Malaysia to better coordinate the Government’s human capital interventions;
  • To revise the RP-T eligibility to allow for expatriates applying from abroad and thus, remove the current RP-T criteria of minimum 3 years’ experience in Malaysia; and
  • To better meet the needs of applicants’ families, such as facilitating non-Malaysian spouses to work and schooling for children.

“Malaysia’s robust economic growth is creating high-value career opportunities across our priority sectors, so it is important to match these opportunities with the best talent available. This will ensure that our companies are globally competitive and are able to drive the Malaysian economy further,” said Dato’ Sri Abdul Wahid Omar.

Truman G. Packard, Lead Economist of the World Bank said, “Malaysia has set itself ambitious talent development goals and it is making progress in many areas, not least with the REP and RP-T initiatives. However, despite the fact that Malaysia’s workforce is increasingly well-equipped to fill new job positions, skills shortages are evident and there are a number of areas where TalentCorp can consider improving its offering.”

TalentCorp’s CEO Johan Mahmood Merican added, “TalentCorp welcomes the World Bank’s recommendations and will strive to be more effective in meeting Malaysia’s talent needs, leveraging on global Malaysians and top expatriate talent.”


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