Malaysia welcomes technology freelancers with open arms. Source: Shutterstock

Malaysia welcomes technology freelancers with open arms. Source: Shutterstock

Malaysia introduces new tech visa to attract blockchain talent

BLOCKCHAIN is quickly becoming a technology that is attracting attention from governments, regulators, and businesses alike because of the transparency and truth that is inherent in the solutions it powers.

The Malaysian government recently announced that it would be using blockchain to track its food supply chain and also expressed an interest in putting energy and agricultural projects on blockchain-based solutions.

That’s quite a great promise from a country where opportunities in technology are growing every day but companies are struggling to find talent to fill the positions and fuel their projects.

The country’s ministers and officials are aware of the problem, which is why, at the recent Malaysia Tech Week conference, announced a new short-term visa program to attract technology freelancers — especially those with skills in supporting blockchain projects.

“We will be kicking it (the program) off starting with blockchain jobs. The number of visas to be issued depends on the projects that will be run by blockchain companies in Malaysia,” Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Growth Ecosystem Development Vice-President Norhizam Abdul Kadir told local media.

The program is being launched in collaboration with Singapore-based blockchain outfit NEM Foundation and Estonia-based jobs platform Jobbatical. The NEM Foundation is expected to help define the skills of talent to be hired while Jobbatical hopes to supply the talent from overseas markets.

Recently, commenting on the lack of skilled talent in Malaysia, SG Education Group Founder and Chairman Seri Ganesh Palaniapan told Bernama that: In terms of preparing the necessary skilled manpower (for Industry 4.0), Indonesia and Singapore are far ahead (of Malaysia) because they have specific programs for their workers to learn from.

To Palaniapan’s point, professionals brought in as a result of the new visa program are expected to help train up local Malaysian talent in the blockchain space.

While other Southeast Asian countries don’t specifically have a visa program for blockchain talent, technology companies in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand do have other programs such as the Thai SMART visa and Hong Kong’s Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS).

This new “blockchain visa” will put Malaysia in a unique position to accelerate its digital transformation, especially in terms of blockchain projects that might help the country establish more trust and transparency when exporting palm oil and importing fruits and vegetables.

Technology talent has always been an issue for Malaysian companies — according to a recent assessment by Tech Wire Asia — indicating that the country has a significant number of open positions in the tech space, be it cybersecurity, data science, or even digital marketing.

New technology visa programs will definitely help businesses in the country accelerate their digital transformation agenda and prepare for the future.