Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia–In a bid to establish itself on the digital nomad map, Malaysia has introduced the DE Rantau Program, specifically designed for digital nomads and remote workers.
The DE Rantau Nomad Pass will be open to applicants from October 1 onwards. It has an application fee of 1,000 Malaysian Ringgit ($220) and will be valid for 12 months which can be renewed without leaving the country. Dependents such as children or spouses can be added to the application for a fee of 500 ringgit ($110) per person.
Applicants should have a minimum annual income of $24,000 and produce proof of an active three-month work contract or multiple shorter contracts of the same duration.
The next big hub of Southeast Asia
The DE Rantau Programme is an initiative by Malaysia Digital (MD). It is the first of the two-stage “digital catalytic” programs planned for 2022, designed to generate economic growth by embracing digital nomads.
The aim of the program (as stated on the website) is to establish “Malaysia as the preferred digital nomad hub in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) while boosting digital adoption and promoting digital professional mobility and tourism across the country.”
“We have a robust infrastructure, affordable cost of living, cultural diversity, a multilingual population, delicious cuisines, and many more offerings to strengthen our position,” said Tan Sri Annuar from the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.
Certification systems in place
Malaysia has created a certification system that accommodation providers must go through to be considered digital-nomad-ready. Hubs are to meet standards to be certified (30mbps fiber-cable internet connections and co-working facilities). The identified digital nomad hubs will include Penang, Langkawi, Kedah, and Kuala Lumpur.
Its neighbor, Indonesia, is close behind in the race to be Southeast Asia’s leading digital nomad hub. Bali has long been a favorite destination for remote workers with its low living costs and scenic spots.
Digital nomad co-working spaces are getting increasingly popular worldwide, with many countries offering a digital nomad or remote worker visa. Nomad hubs have created technological and cultural clusters, which greatly benefit a growing economy.
Check out more about the program here.