Apply for an EP in MY

Malaysia has observed an increase in tourists and expats over the last handful of years, owing to its exotic culture and local cuisine, low cost of living, and steady economy. The abundance of employment opportunity here has resulted in expats wanting to work and live in the country. As the other countries, there are rules and regulation set by the government of Malaysia and in order to reside here, you will need to comply by the immigration law and apply for a work pass.

Essentially, the Employment Pass is one of the work passes that will enable you to work and live in Malaysia. The authority issues several types of work pass according to the employment type, job skills and salary drawn. The different type work passes include Employment Pass, Professional Visit Pass and Residence Pass-Talent.

Employment Pass Application Process

Before an expat can hold the Employment Pass in Malaysia, the Expatriate Committee (EC) or other relevant authority must grant approval, only then the foreigner is able to fill his or her required position and the pass issued at the Immigration Department.

This prior approval is needed as the Malaysian government has currently has strict regulations imposed on the number of foreign workers that a Malaysian-based company can employ. If these companies intend to hire foreigners, they are required to prove to the authority on why the chosen foreigners are important to the position and how can they contribute. The companies will also need to state reasons on why a local is unable to fill the position. Before proceeding with the work pass application, companies must request a quota from the Immigration Department.

Once the application is approved and the foreign worker has acquired their Employment Pass, they are only allowed to work for the company which is stated in their application. In any case if the foreign worker intends to change companies, a new application is to be lodged and approval is needed.

Before applying – Check Eligibility

Before applying for an employment pass, foreign workers must get a job offer here and obtain the offer letter from the hiring company. There are different requirements set for each category of work pass, so make sure to check your eligibility prior to the application. Also, applicants must a hold a passport which is valid for at least 18 months.

Application Process

The employment pass application process generally involves 3 stages.

Fundamentally, the Expatriate Services Division (ESD) is the most important part of the requirement for companies who wish to employ foreigners. Companies may submit all the expat-related information required by the authority via online to facilitate the application process. This is a mandatory step, as companies must receive approval before they can hire foreign workers.  The ESD registration is the primary step in the application process and must be completed before even lodging the employment pass application.

Stage 1: Registration 

All hiring companies are required to register with the ESD as a first step. As an employer, you must create an ESD account with the Immigration Department of Malaysia via the online website. All necessary information and required documentation are to be filled and uploaded. Once done, submit your application and the Immigration will notify you if further information is needed.

During the registration process, after submitting the details and required documentation, you will need to wait for updates on your application status which you will be notified via the system. Upon approval, a Letter of Understanding must be completed and printed out. Next you will need to make an appointment with ESD and complete the registration process in order to gain full access to the ESD website.

After a successful registration, only then you can submit all expatriate application via the ESD online.

Stage 2: Projection of Expat Recruitment 

The hiring company is obligated to submit a projection of its expat talent requirements to the ESD as a step to ensure the company’s planning and estimation for the number of foreign talents needed is realistic.

Stage 3: Submission of Employment Pass application 

As foreign workers are not allowed to apply for work passes themselves, the hiring company will be the one responsible for the application. Once the ESD registration is complete, the employer may start submitting all applications via the online portal. Once all relevant documents are received along with the application, the authority will review the application and once approved, the employment pass will be issued. Do note that the applications will be assessed on an individual basis and is subjected to approval based on the merits of the application.