As Malaysia is blooming to become a highly developed country, the flourishing economy and stable labour market have contributed to great employment prospects for expatriates.  Expatriates are drawn by the opportunity to incorporate a Company, work as a work pass holder, and live here as the economy is forecasted to continue growing steadily.

The country is fuelling a need for knowledge and skills from around the globe, and if you wish to work and live in Malaysia, you will need to obtain a work pass to do so.

To obtain one, one must first understand the various type of work passes offered by the Malaysia government and how it benefits you.

What is Malaysia Employment Pass?

An employment pass is typically a type of work visa that acts as official permit that the government agency in Malaysia will issue to authorised foreign nationals to work in Malaysia for a particular period. Foreign nationals are required to have work visa before working in Malaysia.

The Advantages of Having a Malaysia Work Visa

As a work pass holder, there are various advantages a person can attain while gaining experiences outside of their home country. Some of the main benefits are:

  • Entitled for employee provident fund (EPF) contribution which is normally beneficial for retirement and savings planning schemes
  • Entitled for SOCSO coverage scheme which provide social security protection to employees
  • Eligible to apply for Residence Pass – Talent
  • Eligible to apply permanent residency
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Types of Malaysia Work Visas

As of 1 September 2017, all work passes are previewed by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Immigration Department of Malaysia. The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued three (3) types of work permits available for employers to apply for their foreign workers:

  • Employment Pass
  • Temporary employment pass
  • Professional visit pass

In order for the potential foreign workers to start working in Malaysia, the employment pass application will be strictly reviewed by the relevant government agencies. The employer is also expected to abide by the rules and regulation imposed by the government by hiring these foreign workers as well as meet the criteria imposed by each work pass.

Employment Pass

This type of pass is normally for foreign workers who are offered a contract with a Malaysian registered Company. It is for foreign expatriates with specific skills commonly used for the technical and managerial positions.

Within the employment pass program, there are three (3) categories:

Employment Pass (Category 1)Employment Pass (Category 2)Employment Pass (Category 3)
Employment Criteria
  • At least MYR 10,000/month as basic salary
  • The contract period is at least 60 months (5 years)
  • Highly skilled positions such as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Managing Directors (MD), Project Managers etc.
  • At least MYR 5,000/month to MYR 9,000/month as basic salary
  • The contract period is at least 24 months (2 years)
  • Medium skilled position such as investment managers, foreign directors, lecturers for specific subject etc.
  • At least MYR 3,000/month to MYR 5,000/month as basic salary
  • The contract period is at least 12 months (1 year)
  • Low to medium skilled position that local talent unable to offer such as designers, craftsmen, food technologists etc.
Eligibility
  • Have proper academic qualification suitable for the position offered
  • Have at least three (3) consecutive years of worth relevant work experiences for the position offered
  • Must work in managerial, executive, or technical position which requires specific skills
  • Must meet the salary requirements
  • Have proper academic qualification suitable for the position offered
  • Have at least two (2) consecutive years of worth relevant work experiences for the position offered
  • Must work in managerial, executive, or technical position which requires specific skills
  • Must meet the salary requirements
  • Academic qualification or specific professional certificate must be relevant to the position offered
  • Have experience for relevant work position is beneficial
  • Must work in position which requires specific skills that the local is not able to offer
Remarks
  • Allowed to bring in dependant such as spouse and children who are below 18 years old
  • Allowed to hire foreign domestic helper (which is subject to approval)
  • Renewable and will be assessed on the individual criteria
  • Allowed to bring in dependant such as spouse and children who are below 18 years old
  • Allowed to hire foreign domestic helper (which is subject to approval)
  • Renewable and will be assessed on the individual criteria
  • Not allowed to bring in dependant such as spouse and children who are below 18 years old
  • Not allowed to hire foreign domestic helper
  • Renewable up to two times (maximum 3 years of holding such pass) and will be assessed on the individual criteria

Temporary Employment Pass

This pass is normally for Malaysian registered Companies who are in need of semi-skilled foreign workers in specific sectors. This pass is also known as Visitor Pass. Its validity is up to 12 months (1 years) and the employers can apply for an extension on a yearly basis for up to 10 years.

There are two types of such pass:

  • Sectors allowed – construction, plantation, agriculture, manufacturing, and services
  • Foreign domestic helpers

Professional Visit Pass

This pass is only eligible for those foreign expatriates with necessary qualifications and skills to work in Malaysia on a temporary basis of 12 months (1 years). They are to provide their services in a Malaysian registered Company on behalf of an overseas Company and is not allowed to apply for dependant’s pass.

Business Visas

In Malaysia, it does not issue any businesses visa which is common for other known countries such as Singapore where it is usable for businessmen to travel back and forth a country without obtaining visas from their home country. Hence, those required to travel for business purpose are advisable to obtain tourist visa.

All these work passes are not considered as long-term pass and renewal are required before the end of the validity period. The responsibilities to apply these work visa falls to hiring Companies. Foreign expats are not allowed to apply such visa and if the hiring Companies has state otherwise, the Malaysian government has the right to penalise and suspend any work pass eligibility within the Company for such offense.

Thinking of setting up a company or would like to work in Malaysia? Reach out to us for a free consultation to see how we can support your journey!

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FAQs

How long does it take for a work visa application to be approved?2021-09-29T15:24:45+08:00

There is no specific timeframe given by the Ministry of Home Affairs when it comes to application of work visa for foreign workers. It may take around 6 months to 12 months, depending on the completeness of documents furnished by the employing Company.

How can I cancel my work permit in Malaysia?2021-09-29T15:24:21+08:00

The employing Company must cancel the work permit on behalf of the candidate at least 3 working days or within one month (30 days) of intended departure or termination date – whichever is earlier.

How can I apply dependant pass for my family members?2021-09-29T15:23:57+08:00

Once you have a valid Employment Pass (Category 1 or 2), you are entitled to apply Dependant Pass (DP) via the Expatriate Services Division (ESD) website.

How can I know which type of work visa is suitable for the position offered?2021-09-29T15:23:27+08:00

The type of pass depends on the employment contract offered by the employing Company. If the Company is offering you a 5-year contract with monthly salary of MYR 11,000/month, then the most suitable work visa will be Employment Pass (Category 1).

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