Malaysia’s Employment Pass (EP) is a work visa or permit which allows foreigners or expatriates, who wants to work in the country or take up a desired position with a Malaysian company.
The EP provides the holder with a contract of employment which goes for up to 60 months. This Malaysia work permit will allow expats to enter the country to legally work and live.
The Employment Pass is different from a Professional Visit Pass, which only allows foreign professionals to provide services or undergo practical training with a Malaysian company (preferably a Sdn Bhd) on behalf of the overseas company.
Under the professional visit pass, the foreign professional is here for temporary employment, and will have to return to their country of origin after a maximum of 12-months. Foreigners who wish to remain longer prefer to apply to be an Employment Pass holder.
Employment Pass Application Process
Before a foreigner can become an Employment Pass holder in Malaysia, the approval must be given by the Expatriate Committee (EC) or the other relevant authorities. Only after approval has been granted can the foreigner then fill his required position and the Employment Pass visa issued at the Immigration Department of Malaysia.
Prior approval is needed because the Malaysian government currently has restrictions imposed on the number of foreign workers a Malaysian-based company can employ. If a company wants to hire foreigners, they must prove to the government why the foreigner is vital and important to the position. They must also provide reasons why a local is unable to fill the position. Companies must request a quota from the Immigration Department before proceeding with the work pass application.
Once the foreigner has successfully obtained their Employment Pass, they can only work for company which has been named in their Employment Pass application. If the foreigner wishes to change companies, they will be required to lodge a new Employment Pass application and obtain approval.
Types of Employment Pass and Eligibility Criteria
There are three categories of Employment Pass permits in Malaysia:
- Employment Pass (EP) – Applicants of this pass must have a fixed monthly salary of RM10,000 minimum. Applicants must also have a valid employment contract of at least 5-years minimum.
- Employment Pass Category II (EPII) – Applicants of this work pass must have a fixed monthly salary of RM5,000 minimum. Applicants must also have a valid employment contract of at least 2-years minimum.
- Employment Pass Category III (EPIII) – Applicants of this work pass must have a fixed monthly salary between RM3,000 to RM4,900 monthly. Applicants must also have a valid work contract not exceeding 12-months.
If a company intends to apply for EPIII, the company must submit a letter to seek exemption from the minimum salary requirement. The letter must be sent to the relevant governing authorities.
Malaysia has several agencies which are responsible for overseeing the support and approval of expatriate job postings in the relevant sectors:
- Companies regulated by an Approving Agency must submit an approval letter from the relevant agency for each Employment Pass application (this includes Employment Pass Category 1, 2 and 3).
- Companies regulated by the Regulatory Body, they will be required to submit a letter for each Employment Pass application (for Category 1,2 and 3).
- Companies which fall within the unregulated sector range must submit a letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs seeking exemption from the minimum salary requirement for EPIII.
Companies will be able to facilitate the approval based on their respective industries.
- Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
- Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA)
- Central Bank of Malaysia (BNM)
- Securities Commission (SC)
- Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA)
- Malaysia Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC)
- Public Service Department Malaysia (JPA)
- Expatriate Committee (EC)
Regulatory Bodies in Malaysia that You Need to Know
- Ministry of Education
- Ministry of Tourism and Culture
- National Sports Institute/Council
- Ministry of Youth and Sports
- Ministry of Health (Traditional and Complementary Medicine)
- Department of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Transport
- Ministry of Agriculture andAgro-based Industries
- Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation
- Department of Mineral and Geoscience
- Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
- Equestrian Association of Malaysia
- Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB)
- Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (PUSPAL unit)
*Employment Pass applications in the unregulated sectors will be assessed by the Expatriate Committee. For EPIII applications, approval must be received from the Ministry of Home Affairs first.
To be eligible for a Malaysia work visa, the applicant must meet the following requirements:
Expats and Knowledge or Skilled Workers
- Qualification must be degree or higher.
- Minimum 3-years’ work experience in the relevant field.
- Diploma holders must have at least 5-years’ work experience in the relevant field.
- Technical certification or equivalent holders must have at least 7-years’ work experience in the relevant field.
- Must have a minimum of 30% equity in the company
- Must be an SSM-registered Director for the company
*Note: Shareholders must meet both requirements stated.
EPIII holders in Malaysia who have renewed their passes twice or for the past 3-years consecutively must leave the country. They must serve a 3-months cooling off period before they can apply for an EPIII pass again.
*Exemptions are given if holders intend to convert their passes to EPI or EPII
EPIII holders who intend to change employers must leave the country and serve the 3-months cooling off period. They will then be able to apply for a new EPIII with the new employer once the 3-month period is over.
Sectors Restricted from Employment Pass Application
- Textile industry
- Non-exclusive restaurants
- Supermarkets and mini markets (less than 3,000sq)
- Convenience stores
- Jewellery shops
- Medical hall (traditional and alternative medicine)
- Wet market stalls
- Pavement stores
- National strategic interest
- Fuel stations (both with and without convenience stores)
Malaysia Employment Pass Application and Timeline
The Employment Pass registration process in Malaysia will involve the following steps:
- Before applying for your Employment Pass, check if the company is eligible to lodge an application
- Applications can be made at the Immigration Department online (https://esd.imi.gov.my)
- Requesting approval for the post before lodging application ( 7-14 working days depending on approving body)
- Issuance of Employment Pass (7-14 working days)
*Note: If an application is rejected, an appeal may be lodged 14-days after receiving notice of the decision.
Documents Required for Employment Pass Application
To apply for your work visa in Malaysia, you will need to provide the following documents:
- A copy of the company’s profile
- A copy of the company’s phone bill
- A copy of the MyKad/Passport belonging to the company director
- Tenancy/Sale and Purchase Agreement
- SSM Form 49
- SSM Form 9
- SSM Form 24
- Copy of the e-SSM printout
- Copy of the Local Authorities License if applicable
- Other business licenses where applicable
- Copy of the latest financial report from the company
- Exemption letter from the minimum salary requirement (Category EPIII)
- Other documents which may be requested
*Note: Form 49,9 and 24 must be certified true copies
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