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Can a Dependant Pass Holder Start a Business in Malaysia?

4 min read|Last Updated: August 10, 2022|
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As an entrepreneur, it will be hard to resist establishing a business in Malaysia especially when the Company Act 2016 has ease so much of the regulation to attract more foreign investors to do so.

When you’re living in Malaysia as a dependant pass, you are still eligible to establish a Malaysian-registered Company if, you register as a foreigner instead of a pass holder.

However, it is a different story entirely when you wish to establish a Malaysian-registered Company or work in Malaysia as a dependant pass holder. According to the Immigration Department of Malaysia, a dependant pass holder is not allowed to be employed unless the employer has attained an Employment Pass (EP) for the employee.

For those who holds a Professional Work Permit (DP10) visa instead of an Employment Pass visa, you are also allowed to work. However, the company that you are employed with must be approved by either the Immigration Department or approving agencies like MDEC and MIDA.

Once your job has been approved, you do not need to change your Dependant Pass with an Employment Pass visa, as this will be done by the hiring company. Companies must file applications via the Malaysian Expatriate Services Division (ESD) website. This is available via the Immigration Department of Malaysia’s website.

What is a Dependent Pass?

As most people are aware of, an Employment Pass (EP) holder is eligible to apply for Dependant Pass (DP) in order to bring in some of their family members into Malaysia. This DP is normally used for:

  • Spouse
  • Children (under 18 years old)
  • Legally adopted children (under 18 years old)
  • Parents of EP holder
Malaysia Corporate Secretary Liyana

Can Dependent Pass holder work in Malaysia?

A dependant pass (DP) holder is not allowed to work in Malaysia unless the employing Company apply for suitable work visa such as Employment Pass before hiring them.

As such, the work visa application is subject to the requirements and conditions imposed by the Immigration Department of Malaysia.

Can Dependent Pass start a business in Malaysia?

According to Company Act 2016, a foreigner is allowed to incorporate a Company and become a sole owner as long as they have legitimate local residential address. Some of the business structures available are:

  • Private Limited Company (Sdn. Bhd.) – Most preferred
  • Public Limited Company (Berhad)
  • Subsidiary
  • Branch

Being a dependant pass holder gives you the advantage of:

  • Having local residential address
  • Being physically present in Malaysia
  • Having local contact number
  • Having the knowledge on who to approach for advice

  • Having the knowledge on how business is run in Malaysia

However, the business establishment will be based on having you as a foreign director instead of a dependant pass holder. Once you have established the business in Malaysia, you may appoint a third-party Human Resource (HR) provider or hire your in-house HR to apply for the employment pass on your behalf.

Once the Company has attained an EP for you, you may now legitimately be hired by the Company as a foreign employee.

Key Points to Note About Being a Dependent Pass Holder

It is important to note that consent in writing must be given by the Immigration Department before employment can commence. The process of converting a Dependant Pass to an Employment Pass may have varying timelines. This could be due to several factors, including more time needed for the verification of official documents. You must also obtain an endorsement on your passport from the Immigration Department before you can start working.

Other factors to consider when finding a job as a Dependent Pass holder

Finding employment in Malaysia as a foreigner can be challenging. There are a lot of requirements which need to be met. There is also a substantial cost involved for companies and finding the right company who is willing to sponsor your employment pass is where a lot of foreigners tend to struggle. It’s not impossible, but it may prove to be a frustrating process.

Finding suitable employment is easier if you’ve got a network of connections to help you. Knowing the right contacts can be a big help in this context. Browsing local expat forums where others might be facing a similar situation is another approach you could turn to. Alternatively, you may search local online recruitment websites like Jobstreet, Monster Jobs, and Scoot for employment opportunities.

Thinking of setting up a company or would like to work in Malaysia? Reach out to us for a free consultation to see how we can support your journey!

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Are Foreigners allowed to set up a Sdn Bhd Company in Malaysia?2020-04-27T15:17:22+08:00

Malaysia’s company laws allow people of any nationality to set up a Sdn Bhd company there. Conversely, foreigners may not start a sole proprietorship or partnership in Malaysia. 

Is it possible to dissolve a Sdn Bhd Company2020-04-27T15:16:41+08:00

Although a Sdn Bhd has everlasting business continuity, it may nevertheless be dissolved. Of course, all the steps of company dissolution must be completed before such may take place. 

Must Every Sdn Bhd Company have shareholders?2020-04-27T15:15:46+08:00

All Sdn Bhd companies are required to have shareholders before they many conduct business operations. It is illegal for such a company to operate if it does not have any shareholders.

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Join the discussions

  1. Kim August 4, 2022 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    If i am holding a dependent pass and a company tried to apply an employment pass for me but unfortunately got rejected. Will it jeopardize or forfeit my dependent pass or it will still be retained?

    • Tiwi August 12, 2022 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Kim,

      Not to worry, your dependent pass will still be retained unless you initiate a cancellation process.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Fadzlin Shafie November 10, 2020 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    what happen to dependant visa of expat after they divorce?

    • Tiwi November 13, 2020 at 3:44 pm

      Hi, you can cancel the dependent pass after they divorce.

      Please contact us via Paul Hype Page to discuss further.

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