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Many people from various countries have chosen to work in Malaysia. In order for them to do so, they require a valid work permit such as an Employment Pass. Employers in Malaysia must also be certain to avoid breaking laws related to the hiring of foreign workers in Malaysia when they do so.

Malaysia Foreign Workers

Why Foreign Workers Are Important to Malaysia’s Economy

Foreign workers of various skill levels in Malaysia generate much revenue to the Malaysian economy. Their economic contribution should not remain unmentioned when the economic growth of Malaysia is discussed. Foreign workers in Malaysia are generally concentrated in several states of the country. Most of the immigrants to Malaysia choose to live and work in Sabah. Among the primary reasons why Sabah has been able to attract many foreign workers is its proximity to other Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines. The cultural diversity of Sabah as well as the prominent role of agriculture in the state have also caused many foreign workers to opt to find work within the area. Other areas of Malaysia in which a large number of foreign workers live and work are Selangor and Johor. According to the latest statistics, the states of Sabah, Selangor, and Johor combine to contain nearly two-thirds of all foreign workers in Malaysia. Other areas of Malaysia which are home to many foreigners include Kuala Lumpur, Sarawak, Pahang, and Penang.

There are several reasons why foreign workers are essential to the Malaysian economy. The most important of these is that foreign workers provide labor whenever and wherever it is needed. Foreign workers contribute to the Malaysian economy by providing either skilled or unskilled labor. Labor is much required in the manufacturing industry of Malaysia in order to ensure its continuity and growth. Many foreign workers are also employed in the agricultural sector of Malaysia. Other industries of Malaysia which also employ relatively high numbers of foreigners are the construction industry, the wholesale retail industry, and the accommodation industry.

The contributions of foreign workers also drive Malaysia’s economic growth. Through the contributions of these foreigners, particularly in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors as well as other sectors that do not necessarily require skilled labor, the country is able to produce much as well as export its products to other markets. As a result, the country’s economy is able to continue growing. Therefore, foreign workers are of great importance, not only to their employers but also towards the economic growth of the entire nation.

How a Malaysian Business Owner Might Hire Foreign Workers

Employers in Malaysia should ensure that their potential foreign employees have visas and work permits to enable them to enter and work in the country. Foreign workers are expected to acquire a work visa before starting work in the country. Foreign workers are also expected to comply with Malaysian laws to enable them obtain the required visa and consequently work permits to enable them to secure jobs in Malaysia. Malaysian employers are to sponsor their employees as well as secure their working rights to ensure that they easily obtain access into the country via visa. However, securing these working rights might pose to be one of the primary challenges for companies which have just begun operating or have only recently entered the Malaysian market. Nevertheless, such companies or employers who might be interested in hiring foreign workers should consider contacting professional firms who will be of assistance in acquiring the services of the foreign workers.

One of the easiest ways to hire a foreign worker into the Malaysian workforce is to own a company. Among the easiest sectors in Malaysia in which foreigners could be hired are the manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and services sectors. Potential employers of foreigners in Malaysia should be aware that the employment of foreign workers is subject to a quota requirement set by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Should you be interested in owning a company based in Malaysia yourself, we at Paul Hype Page & Co are always willing to serve your needs. We will work with you to ensure that everything you might require related to incorporation in Malaysia is satisfied. We will also ensure that your company’s incorporation is completed in a legal and legitimate manner.

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How a Foreign Worker in Malaysia Might Acquire a Work Permit

Every foreign worker in Malaysia must receive a valid work permit before commencing work in the country. The process of acquiring a work permit which is valid in Malaysia begins with the employer’s application for a foreign worker quota approval. The employer is first required to obtain approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs to enable the company to hire any foreign employees. Upon submitting the application, the employer would then be interviewed regarding the need to hire one or more foreigners. The employer will be expected to have or produce the following documents: the application form for the foreign workers’ quota, a photograph or brochure directly related to the company, a receipt for the levy, the original payment form, and any additional documents which will vary depending on the sector involved. An employer can be expected to pay an amount ranging from RM410 to RM1,850 over the course of the entire application process. The exact amount will depend on the sector involved.

Approval of expatriate status may sometimes be necessary. Employers should be aware that not all foreign employees are qualified to work in Malaysia. However, they may sometimes be expected to hire foreigners to certain positions. These include positions which require highly skilled personnel or managerial positions which might not necessarily be able to be filled by local employees. Other such positions might include executive positions as well as other key positions such as leading managerial positions. The employer will equally require the following documents: the employment contract with the corresponding revenue stamp, the application form known as DP 10 attached to the original employment contract, any regulatory compliance documents or certificates, and expatriate income tax receipts.

Application for an Employment Pass is the next step. When the quota approval and expatriate check have been successfully completed, the employer may then proceed to offer the potential employee an Employment Pass so that the foreign employee may fill the position required in the company. The employer must also submit an application to Malaysia’s Immigration Department to explain why the position must be filled by a foreigner and not by a local employee.

It might be the case that you are yourself a foreigner in need of an Employment Pass which is valid in Malaysia. If such is the case, let us at Paul Hype Page & Co provide you with the help you need in order for you to receive one. Our staff members are always willing to work with anyone who requires an Employment Pass. You will always have our assurance that upon the completion of the process, you will have legally obtained an Employment Pass which will permit you to work in Malaysia.

The employee would usually then undergo a medical examination. It is typically a requirement for foreign employees to undergo a medical screening before leaving their home country. The medical centers which provide the medical screening must be registered and approved by FOMEMA before the foreigner’s entry into Malaysia.


Don’t leave your Employment Pass application to chance

Paul Hype Page & Co have our in-house licensed employment agency registered with the Ministry of Manpower and offer a full spectrum of work pass services. We will provide a thorough assessment of all factors of your application and ensure that they meet MOM current standards of review. Our reliable guidance and high success rate come with years of experience and continually staying abreast with Singapore’s immigration regulatory updates.

Call us at +65 6221 4711 or contact us now for a free consultation.

Foreign Workers in Malaysia FAQs

Is it possible for a Foreigner who lives in Malaysia to hold multiple visas at the same time?2020-04-29T12:02:05+08:00

It is not possible for a foreigner who lives in Malaysia to hold more than one visa at the same time. However, a businessperson who needs to enter the country in the future for business purposes can apply for a specific visa. The same is true of an individual who is involved with the conducting of business activities between governments.

Which Countries send the most Foreign Workers to Malaysia?2020-04-29T12:01:11+08:00

According to the latest set of statistics, the majority of foreigners who work in Malaysia today are from Indonesia. Other countries which have relatively high numbers of immigrants who work in Malaysia include Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and India. Other countries which send many of their citizens to work in Malaysia include Pakistan, the Philippines, Vietnam, and China.

2021-02-02T17:34:55+08:00February 21, 2020|2 Comments


  1. Daniel July 6, 2020 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    Just to inquire… if a company in Malaysia dont have a local malaysian partner directors, can they still hire foreign workers? Thank you

    • Tiwi July 17, 2020 at 10:39 am

      Hi Daniel

      Yes a Sdn Bhd company is not limited by the employees they can hire, regardless of their directors. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact us via Paul Hype Page.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Warm regards

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