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 to do so.
The EP provides the holder with a contract of employment which is valid for up to five years. This work permit will allow expatriates 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 (usually a Sdn Bhd) on behalf of the overseas company.
Under the Professional Visit Pass, the foreign professional will be in Malaysia for temporary employment and will have to return to their country of origin after 12 months or sooner. 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, approval must be given by the Expatriate Committee (EC) or other relevant authorities. Only after approval has been granted can the foreigner accept the Employment Pass 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 Malaysia-based company can employ. If a company wants to hire foreigners, it 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 the Employment Pass, the foreigner may only work for companies which have been named in the 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 for this pass must have a fixed monthly salary of at least RM10,000. Applicants must also have a valid employment contract of at least five years.
- Employment Pass Category II (EPII) – Applicants for this work pass must have a fixed monthly salary of between RM5,000 and RM9,999. Applicants must also have a valid employment contract of at least two years.
- Employment Pass Category III (EPIII) – Applicants for this work pass must have a fixed monthly salary between RM3,000 to RM4,999 monthly. Applicants must also have a valid work contract not exceeding 12 months.
Companies regulated by an approving agency must submit an approval letter from the relevant agency for each Employment Pass application. This is true of all Employment Pass applications for Employment Passes of all three categories. Companies regulated by a regulatory body will be required to submit a letter for each Employment Pass application, regardless of which Employment Pass category is involved.
Eligibility Criteria for a Malaysia Work Visa
- Qualifications – bachelor’s degree or higher
- Minimum of three years of work experience in the relevant field
- Diploma holders must have at least five years of work experience in the relevant field
- Technical certification or equivalent holders must have at least seven years of work experience in the relevant field
Shareholders and Directors
- Minimum of 30% equity in the company
- Status as an SSM-registered director
Shareholders must meet both requirements stated.
Information for EPIII Holders
Companies which are part of an unregulated sector must submit a letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs seeking exemption from the minimum salary requirement for EPIII. If a company intends to apply for an 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.
EPIII holders in Malaysia who have renewed their passes twice or in each of the last three consecutive years must leave the country. They must serve a three-month period before they can apply for an EPIII pass again; this is also true of EPIII holders who intend to change employers. However, exemptions are given to holders who intend to convert their passes to an EPI or EPII. EPIII holders who plan to change employers will similarly be able to apply for a new EPIII with the new employer once the three-month period is over.
Sectors Barred from Employment Pass Application
- Textile industry
- Non-exclusive restaurants
- 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 Duration
The Employment Pass registration process in Malaysia will involve the following steps:
- Before applying for an Employment Pass, one must check if the company is eligible to lodge an application
- Applications can be made at the Immigration Department online at https://esd.imi.gov.my.
- Request approval before lodging an application. This takes seven to 14 working days depending on the approving body.
- Issuance of Employment Pass, which takes seven to 14 working days
Documents Required for Employment Pass Application
To apply for your work visa in Malaysia, the following documents will be required:
- Copy of the company’s profile
- Copy of the company’s telephone bill
- Copy of the MyKad or passport belonging to the company director
- Tenancy or Sale and Purchase Agreement
- SSM Form 49 (certified true copy)
- SSM Form 9 (certified true copy)
- SSM Form 24 (certified true copy)
- Copy of the e-SSM printout
- Copy of the Local Authorities License if applicable
- Other business licenses if applicable
- Copy of the latest financial report of the company
- Exemption letter from the minimum salary requirement (Category EPIII only)
- Other documents which may be requested
How We Help You with Your Employment Pass Application
The experienced and fastidious team of Paul Hype Page & Co can help you apply for your Malaysia Employment Pass quickly and efficiently. Our scope of services covers all your business needs in one sitting.
Paul Hype Page & Co employs Malaysia’s leading company formation experts. We assist entrepreneurs and help them set up businesses in Southeast Asia. We comply with the governments of Southeast Asian countries as well as all existing statues, laws, and regulations so that you can focus on what matters most – running your business.
Malaysia Employment Pass FAQs