The migrant experience is not monolithic. There are gradients of class, gender, sexuality, race, nationality, skin colour and dis/ability that influence how individual migrants are perceived, the policies that are imposed upon them and the choices migrants are allowed to make.

This explainer focuses on the experiences of migrants in Peninsular Malaysia, addressing some common myths and misperceptions about migrants here. It spotlights some of the motivations or driving forces for migrants to Malaysia; explains the policies that define the kind of work they can engage in; and discusses the laws and practices that shape the spaces migrants can inhabit. It examines their struggles to access justice and their lived experiences in Malaysia.  

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Katrina Jorene Maliamauv is a human rights activist, writer and educator. She writes as someone with migrant grandparents, and with perspectives, insight and observations gained through her work with migrants and refugees in Malaysia for more than a decade.

Veshalini Naidu is a multidisciplinary artist who merges poetry, visual arts and theatre in their response to gender, sexuality and race in Malaysia. They illustrate for advocacy groups and non-profits, and is currently a designer with Queerit, an queer, feminist, anti-capitalist design agency.