Obtain an EP in MY

Expats who wish to work and live in Malaysia will require a work permit as per the Immigration law. The Immigration Act is the main legislation in Malaysia which handles immigration and foreign employment issues. Included in the legislation are the entry visas and work permit. Obtaining a work permit for Malaysia is an elaborate process as detailed attention is needed to meet the requirements of Malaysia’s strict laws.

Type of Work Passes

There are different types of work permit issues by the Malaysian government. Broadly, there are 3 type of work passes that a foreigner could apply for, namely:

All these passes are to be sponsored by the employer of the Malaysian company. In order to do so, all the Malaysian companies must be registered with the relevant Immigration Department.

Employment Pass Requirements

An employment pass (EP) is issued for the purpose of employment up to a certain period depending on the category it falls under. The statutory requirement states that an employment pass holder is a tax resident in Malaysia. To apply for an Employment Pass, there are several requirements to be met which include:

  • Salary qualification
  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree and above
  • Possess several years of working experience (in the same industry or position applied)
  • Possess the right expertise or skillset that cannot be filled by a Malaysian candidate


The Employment Pass is divided into 3 categories:

  1. Category I (EPI) – for applicants who earn a fixed monthly salary of at least RM10,000 and a valid employment contract for a minimum of 5 years.
  2. Category II (EPII) – for applicants who earn a fixed monthly salary of at least RM5,000 up to RM9,999 and a valid employment contract of 2 years.
  3. Category III (EPIII) – for applicants who earn a fixed monthly salary of between RM3,000 to 4,999 and a valid employment contract period not exceeding 12 months.


Employment Pass Application Process

Submission of the Employment Pass application should be completed by the employer of the Malaysian company on behalf of the expatriate.

Prior to applying for an employment pass, foreigners should secure a job first in the country and receive the job offer letter from the sponsoring company. If you are an applicant, make sure to hold a valid passport for at least 18 months.

The application can be submitted via the Expatriate Services Division (ESD) online system. As a part of the pass application process, a reference number will be issued so that applicants may track the progress of the application on the Immigration Department of Malaysia’s official portal.

There is no specific timeline stated by the authority, as each application is processed individually. The average timeline is around 3-4 weeks and for some cases, there might be delays. These delays can be caused by the employer for not submitting the application correctly to the immigration department, or not complying with the requirements.

Confirmation for a successful application may also take more than a month as the employer will need to revisit their paper works, or the approving authority may require more information and legally endorsed qualifications.

You will need to allow the authority some time as they will need to review the different documents and there may be additional steps required to complete the application process.

To ensure a successful application, the employer may engage a professional immigration specialist with extensive experience as they are usually well-endowed with fast-track methods.