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How to Apply for Malaysia Work Visa Guide 2022

12 min read|Last Updated: August 31, 2022|
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Malaysia’s growing economy, tax incentives, and government support for private company incorporation have drawn many foreign investors to establish a business here. Over the past decade, the country’s economy has grown substantially. This makes Malaysia an ideal country to establish a business or make a living as an employee for foreigners and in order to do so, they will require a Malaysia work visa.

Foreigners who want to start their own business in Malaysia  or who are seeking employment and want to apply for a visa should know that there are three main types of work visas available. Each work visa has its own benefits and cons and is suited for businesses, class of businesses, and investors.

What is Malaysia Work Visa?

A work visa is basically official permit that the government agency in Malaysia has issued to authorised foreign nationals to work in Malaysia for a particular period of time. Foreign national is required to have work visa in order to start working in Malaysia.

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 visas 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, their 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.

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:

  • Salary eligible for the pass holder is MYR 10,000 above with a contract of more than 60 months (5 years). They are allowed to bring dependants and is allowed to hire foreign domestic helper – which is subject to approval. This pass is renewable.

  • Salary eligible for pass holder is MYR 5,000 and not more than MYR 10,000 with an employment contract of at least 24 months (2 years). This pass is renewable, and they’re allowed to also bring in dependants and hire foreign domestic holder.

  • Salary eligible for pass holder is at least MYR 3,000 but not more than MYR 5,000 with an employment contract of at least 12 months (1 years). This pass is only renewable for at least two (2) more times. However, they are not allowed to bring in dependants or hire foreign domestic helper.

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.

Employment Pass Specialist Lera

Recruitment terms and conditions to employ foreign workers

There are several terms and conditions highlighted by the Ministry of Home Affairs – Immigration Department of Malaysia for employers to abide with:

1. The foreign workers are only allowed to work within these sectors:

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Plantation
  • Agriculture
  • Services

2. Employers must first obtain the quota to hire foreign workers from the Ministry of Home Affairs, One Stop Centre (OSC)

3. Foreign workers must be the age of at least 18 years old above but below 45 years old at the time of the application is made

4. May retrieve the certified PASS for Immigration Security Clearance (ISC) at source country based on this list

5. The foreign workers must be deemed fit and healthy as approved by the medical centre in the source country based on this list

6. The foreign workers must not be one of those listed foreign individuals who are prohibited from entering Malaysia under Section 8 (3) of Immigration Act 1959/1963

Requirements to apply for an Employment Pass

The candidate eligible for the employment pass must:

  • 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 as mentioned earlier

The one responsible to apply for this pass is the employing Company. They are responsible to do so on behalf of the foreign candidate they wish to hire.

The Company is to apply for an “expatriate post” at one of the following government agencies:

  • Multimedia Development Corporation – for jobs in the technology sector

  • Malaysia Industrial Development Authority – for the manufacturing and services sectors

  • Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation – for jobs in the biotechnology sector

  • Central Bank of Malaysia – for sectors of finance, banking, and insurance

  • Securities Commission – for the securities and futures market sectors

  • Expatriate Committee – for sectors that are not under the above

Once approved, then the hiring Company is able to proceed with the Employment Pass application to the Immigration Department of Malaysia. These documents are required:

  • Employment pass application form
  • Passport copy (preferably certified by notary republic)

  • Letter of approval from relevant authority

  • Employment contract (must clearly highlight the position, salary offered, employment duration and job scope)

  • CV and education certificate (preferably certified by notary republic)

  • Employing Company latest profile (business plan and Company profile – can be retrieve from Company Secretary)

For those who have applied for the Employment Pass and was rejected, you may want to read our article on the reasons for rejection here.

Requirements to apply for Temporary Employment Pass

The candidate eligible for this type of pass:

1. Must work in one of the following sectors:

  • Construction
  • Plantation
  • Agriculture
  • Services
  • Manufacturing

2. Must be from the following countries:

  • Bangladesh – only allowed to work in plantation sector through via government agreements
  • Cambodia
  • India – not allowed to work in manufacturing sector
  • Indonesia – Male citizens allowed to only work in manufacturing sectors whilst females are allowed to work in all sectors
  • Kazakhstan
  • Laos
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines – Female citizen are not allowed to work in any sectors

  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan

  • Vietnam

3. Must be at least 18 years old but below 45 years old during the application time

4. Is deemed fit and healthy to work by the approved medical centre

5. Employer has obtained foreign worker quota from the Ministry of Home Affairs

6. Have undergone Immigration Security Clearance (ISC) verification

Once all the eligibility is checked, then the employing Company may proceed to put in the application:

1. Must apply visa approval letter from Immigration Department of Malaysia

2. Must submit VDR application form (using the e-service in Immigration Department official website)

3. Letter of quota approval from Ministry of Home Affairs

4. 12 and IM.38 visa application form (can be found in the official website as well)

5. Receipt of payment for levy

6. Security bond – insurance guarantees/bank guarantee

7. Passport copy (preferably certified by notary republic)

8. Passport sized photo of applicant

9. Medical certificate issued by the approved health centre from applicant home country (valid for 3 months)

10. Foreign Worker Compensation Scheme (insurance)

11. An insurance policy of Health Insurance Protection Scheme Foreign Workers (SPIKPA) (health insurance)

Once visa approval letter is approved, the foreign worker is able to apply the visa with reference (VDR) from Malaysia embassy (if needed). Then, they are to collect the Immigration Security Clearance (ISC) at their home country.

Lastly, the temporary employment pass will be then issued once the foreign worker has passed the Foreign Worker Medical Examination Monitoring Agency (FOMEMA) medical examination in Malaysia within 30 days of arrival.

Requirements to apply for Professional Visit Pass

The candidate eligible for the professional visit pass:

  1. Foreign artist (filming and performance)
  2. Islamic missionary
  3. Other religious worker such as Gurukkal, Granthi, Priest etc.
  4. International students attending religious courses studies with Malaysia Bible Seminary
  5. Government officials traveling for official purpose
  6. Jockey expert
  7. Volunteer
  8. International student under mobility program or industrial training

The employing Company may proceed to put in the application:

  1. Passport copy (preferably certified by notary republic)
  2. 12 and IM.38 visa application form (can be found in the official website)
  3. Letter of offer from Malaysian registered Company
  4. Employing Company latest profile (business plan and Company profile – can be retrieve from Company Secretary)
  5. Academic certificates
  6. Letter of approval from Department of Religion and Islamic Religious Department (if required)
  7. Bank guarantee (for China citizens)

Once approved, the foreign worker is able to apply the visa with reference (VDR) from Malaysia embassy (if needed). Once arrived in Malaysia, the foreign worker is to visit the Immigration Department of Malaysia to receive the professional visit pass sticker on their passport.

Comparative Guide to Malaysia Work Visas

If you are unsure of which work visa is most suitable for you and the pros and cons of each work visa, you can check out our guide here.

Timeline for Work Visas Applications in Malaysia

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.


Come down to our office or get in touch virtually for an employment pass assessment.

Contact us now >


Does a Labuan International Company Have to be based in Labuan?2020-04-27T12:21:32+08:00

As is implied by its name, a Labuan international company must be based in Labuan. Any company based in any other part of Malaysia may not be classified as such a company. 

Can a person hold more than one of Malaysia’s work permits at the same time?2020-04-27T12:20:12+08:00

Each work permit has different criteria. Each work permit is also targeted at a different group of workers. Therefore, a person cannot hold more than one of Malaysia’s work permits at the same time.

Can anyone of any nationality receive a visa in Malaysia?2020-04-27T12:19:33+08:00

There are no restrictions on the identity of a visa holder in Malaysia. Anyone who fulfils the criteria as stated by the authorities may receive a visa. 

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Join the discussions

  1. Mb Raju Ahmed August 25, 2022 at 6:52 am - Reply

    I am a welder i am working in saudi arabia i want to go to malaysia

    • Paul Hype Page August 25, 2022 at 9:46 am

      Hi Mb Raju Ahmed, sorry, we do not help in finding jobs. ALl the best!

  2. Jaswant November 22, 2019 at 9:14 am - Reply

    I have a tailoring shop. Can I apply permit for my employee (tailor) under my company. My tailor is from India

    • Tiwiyah Kumaran November 25, 2019 at 9:53 am

      Hello Jaswant,

      As long as your employee has fulfilled all of the criteria which are to be fulfilled for Employment Pass application, your employee will receive an Employment Pass.

      For further information regarding the Employment Pass or any of Malaysia’s other work visa, please contact us.

      Thank you.

  3. Muhibur Rahman November 5, 2018 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    I am intarested to please details send m.
    2 Years Business Visa for Investors and their Families
    Under this scheme, investors can apply for a 2 year business visa for themselves and their families by incorporating a Labuan International Company. Such companies are 100% foreign owned and have minimal paid-up capital requirements. Incorporating such a company does not require investors to apply for a WRT License.

    Corporate tax on net profits in a Labuan International Company is at 3% or RM 20,000 whichever is lower. Visa endorsement takes place in approximately 60 days and investors can apply for 3 to 4 poisitions of foreigners with work permit under the company. A registered office is also not required.

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