TalentCorp said it has failed to convince the majority of Malaysians working abroad to come home.
Its CEO Johan Mahmood Merican told Astro Awani that in the past four years, it has attracted 3,600 Malaysians home through its Returning Experts Programme (REP) – a figure he admitted was a "drop in the ocean".
The World Bank reported there are more than one million Malaysians working abroad.
Efforts to bring home professional Malaysians have remained stagnant, he said, and things are not looking up.
"Malaysians abroad at this juncture would need more persuasion to return home given the current economic and political climate," he reportedly said.
TalentCorp was set up to attract Malaysians working abroad home in the face of growing brain drain.
Among others, the REP offers tax exemptions and fast track of permanent residency for foreign spouses and children but Johan said it has found this approach lacking.
"We have learned from the analysis conducted by the World Bank and taken heed of their recommendations that the REP is most effective in ensuring the return of Malaysians abroad when it was connected with an employment offer.
"We are now working closely with our partners to identify jobs available for professionals overseas. We know that the offer must be attractive enough for them to once again join Malaysia’s workforce," Johan was quoted as saying.
He said TalentCorp’s focus is on Malaysians who are keen to return but do not see favourable conditions at home, and not those who have decided to remain overseas.
He said shrinking employment in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries may encourage some to return.
This will also likely stop younger Malaysians from going to these countries to build their careers, he said.
Editor's Note: Astro Awani has since amended their article. The original article stated that Johan admitted TalentCorp "failed" to convince the majority of Malaysian working abroad to return home. The amended version states that TalentCorp is facing an "uphill battle" to do so.