In Covid-Era Experiment, Malaysia Tries Dramatic Reduction in Migrant Labor

SINGAPORE—With Covid-19 reducing migrant labor in many countries, some governments are testing whether their economies can run with fewer foreign workers than in the past.

Among the most aggressive is Malaysia, a country of 33 million people that has long relied on several million low-paid foreigners to toil in its factories, construct shopping malls and harvest its rubber. Businesses credit these workers with keeping products competitive as the country grows richer and local incomes rise.