Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
1st Feb 2023

Malaysia exceeds target for new international student applications in 2022

Short on time? Here are the highlights:
  • Malaysia is working to reach a long-term goal to build its foreign enrolment base to 250,000 students by 2025
  • For the moment, it has met a more immediate target to receive 50,000 new international student applications in 2022

Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) is reporting substantial year-over-year growth in new international student applications for 2022.

EMGS is the organisation charged by the government with responsibility for promoting Malaysia as a study destination, and operates under the Ministry of Higher Education. While neither EMGS nor the Malaysian government releases official figures on foreign enrolment in the country, various media reports put the total at between 130,000 and 170,000 students for 2022. Malaysia has a long-term goal to build that enrolment base to 250,000 students by 2025.

Against a more immediate target of 50,000 international student applications for 2022, EMGS reports receiving 51,270 applications "to study in Malaysian public and private education institutions" through end of December. This amounts to a 27.5% increase over the application volume for 2021.

The top five sending markets for Malaysia are China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, and Nigeria. China remains, however, far and away the country's leading source market, and we see this reflected in application trends as well.

Chinese students accounted for 47% of all new applications filed in Malaysia in 2021, and 43% of all applications in 2022. The 21,943 applications lodged by Chinese students in 2022 represents a 15% increase from the year prior. Other top senders, however, grew even faster, including Bangladesh, Nigeria, and India, and this explains why the Chinese applicants account for a smaller proportion of total applications received in 2022, even as their total volume continued to grow.

For additional background, please see:

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