Malaysia allows expatriates from various countries to work and live here. From general workers to highly-skilled professional, companies here may employ foreigners to fulfil the positions required but is subjected to certain requirements with accordance to the Malaysia’s immigration law.
Malaysia is seen as a hot spot for job seekers from all around the globe as the country’s economy is growing steadily and is seen as a viable destination to work and live. Given the multitude of local and foreign owned companies here, there are abundance of employment opportunities which are not only limited to locals, but also for talented and skillful foreigners as well. These job opportunities are prevalent in major urban areas as there are increased demand for highly-skilled individuals to fill up the various position in many industries.
For the foreign individuals who wish to work and live in Malaysia, they will require a work pass to do so. Choosing to work without a valid work pass is against the law and the hiring company who intend to employ foreign workers is fully responsible to ensure that all of their employees hold a valid work pass.
There are different types of work passes issued by the Immigration Department of Malaysia and each pass has its own set of requirements. Broadly, there are 3 main work passes that is available here which include the Employment Pass, Professional Visit Pass and Residence Pass-Talent.
Restricted Sectors from Work Pass Application
With Malaysia’s stringent rules on immigration, foreigners are restricted from working in certain sectors in the country as these sectors are strictly reserved for locals only. The restricted sectors are as following:
- Non-exclusive restaurants
- Textile industry
- Mini markets and supermarkets (less than 3,000sq)
- Jewellery stores
- Convenience shops
- Medical hall (traditional and alternative medicine)
- Pavement stores
- Wet market stalls
- National strategic interest
- Fuel stations (both with and without convenience store)
Requirements for Hiring Company to Employ Foreign Workers
It is not only the foreign workers who should comply with the Malaysian laws to obtain the work passes, but Malaysian companies are also expected to oblige. When a company begins to enter the Malaysian market, the company is solely responsible to secure the work passes for their employees.
As an employer, it is possible for you to employ foreign workers but there are several requirements that must be met. Companies should take note of the restrictions on hiring foreign employees, such as limiting hiring to construction, manufacturing, agricultural, plantation and services sectors.
Apart from that, employment of foreign workers is also subjected to quota requirements from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA).
Application for Foreign Quota Approval
As an employer, you must first obtain approval from the Local Centre of Approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) to hire foreign workers to work in Malaysian based companies.
Generally, companies operating in construction, agriculture, plantation, manufacturing and services industries may be approved to hire foreign workers. Once the application is submitted, an interview will take place with employer and authorized representative from the Ministry of the company’s particular sector. Once the application is successful, a conditional letter of approval is issued to the employer to allow the hiring of foreign workers.
Obtaining approval of Expatriate Status
Not all foreigners may be qualified to work in Malaysia, and employers should be aware that only certain positions are available for them, which are usually highly-skilled managerial or technical positions that cannot be filled by the locals. The positions include:
- For key posts: Top managerial post for foreign companies operating in Malaysia
- For executive posts: Professional or mid-managerial positions
- For non-executive posts: Highly-skilled, technical positions that require relevant experiences.
After these expatriates meet the prerequisites, employers are to submit all necessary documents to the Immigration Department.
Application of Employment Pass
Once the quota approval and expatriate checks are done, the employer may start submitting the work employment pass application to fill in the key positions in their company. Along with the application, the employer must also submit a letter that justifies why the position may only be held by a foreigner and not a local, prerequisites, experiences and qualifications for that position to the Malaysia Immigration Department through their online portal. Most importantly, the authority will want to know the potential benefits that the foreign employee will bring to the company and to the country.
Once this is approved, the letter of approval for the employment pass will be provided.