This report is based on a prior study that ISIS Malaysia did for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Malaysia in 2016–2017. The research team would like to thank UNHCR Malaysia for entrusting it with the initial research on refugees and work rights in Malaysia. UNHCR Malaysia was extremely helpful in providing access to stakeholders and experts, as well as procuring the latest statistics and data during the course of the research. The research team would also like to thank the various stakeholders that we engaged for the wealth of information provided. The information that we obtained both officially and off-the-record went a long way in enriching our understanding of the complex dynamics of refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia and the policy challenges of granting them permission to work.


About the ISIS Malaysia National Interest Analysis Series

The ISIS Malaysia National Interest Analysis (NIA) Series aims to comprehensively and critically examine key issues impacting the national interests of Malaysia from a policy angle. At its essence, the NIA aims to encapsulate the crux of a particular issue, what it really means to Malaysia, and what we ought to do about it. In a world and region that is more globalised, interactive and interdependent than ever before, these issues are multi-sectoral and can range from a gamut of foreign policy, economic, environmental, social, cultural, security and technological concerns. While the methodologies might differ depending on the issues at hand, its common yardstick is that Malaysia’s national interest is taken to broadly be the policies, actions and conditions needed for the nation’s diplomatic, security, social and economic prospects.

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