British Self-Employment in Malaysia.


I have kind of a specific situation, and I'd really like constructive help.   

I'm considered a 'public' entertainer - I'm a singer-songwriter, and a British Citizen.
I came to Malaysia as I was invited to perform at a festival in 2016, and I was offered many more opportunities to perform around town as a result of that, much to the delight of my family back home. (Kuala Lumpur's music scene has a glass ceiling, but it has many more resources and platforms available to lower profile entertainers than London. Musicians out here are able to support themselves and are not 'starving artists', which reassures those who worry about that status for their loved ones).

Eventually, I was offered a deal with a (British-run) publishing company to record my very first project.
My mother health severely declined during this time, and I went home to look be with her. She sadly died. Distraught, I returned to Kuala Lumpur (my partner's family home) to record the project in her honour. It has been the opportunity that has kept me going.

The plan was for it to take a month. Apparently that was ambitious, and has run over into almost a year, though I think (hope) it will soon be done. In the meantime, I keep getting many offers to perform, which is something I need to do to be able to supplement my time here completing the project. Some of these offers have been in neighbouring countries - a few times in Singapore, once in Indonesia. What started off as ad-hoc engagements in a foreign country, just started to become more of a career path (to something bigger I hope).

These overseas engagements have been opportunities for me to renew my visa - I've never been outside the 90 day window. But I don't feel at ease about my status here, and immigration is starting to drill me when I fly.

But I've done so much research.

- I've read the Double Tax Agreement between the UK and Malaysia, and I've just registered as self-employed so that I can pay tax to Malaysia/ UK.
- I applied to PUSPAL to get a performance pass, but I was declined. Contracts have never been available to me, and I am not a high-profile artist. (Think Mariah Carey, that's the kind of person that gets a PUSPAL pass).
- There are only three types of visa offered to foreigners - social visit (cannot work), Multi-visit (can work) and transit (just for passing through). Only the multi-visit visa allows you to work, but I am a British citizen - I have an automatic social visit visa and no way of applying for multi-visit as my passport allows me in easily.
- I am staying in my partner's family home - but I am not ready in any way to marry. Especially because I have the delicate matters of my mother's probate to settle. Marrying really negatively affects the status of my mother's estate, and she had very specific stipulations surrounding this.

I am planning to return home for Christmas for a few weeks to start my visa from zero. I'm trying so hard to be legitimate, but it's proving impossible. I don't even want to be a resident. Next year I would like for this project to be done, and to come for less than 180 days, do some work, go back to London, do some work.

Am I able to just be self-employed, with a valid British Visa and working as a performer and carrying highlighted documents of everything I've read + proof of self-employment? Is this enough, or do I need more?

If you know something, please let me know.

Many thanks x

There is no such status in Malaysia to be a self employed foreigner. Double taxation requires a long term visa i. e. Not tourist entries, in order to get the Residents Certificate (182 days employed or  legally residing here). You can only enter on tourist visas and you will continue to work in Malaysia illegally which is not advisable.

The only option may be for you to find a performance agent who arranges gigs and they are large enough to apply for a puspal licence and pay you a wage.

Currently you are breaking Malaysian immigration and taxation laws. This could have an impact down the line.

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