Malaysia Work / Employment Visa: Comparative Guide 2024

8 min read|Last Updated: May 29, 2024|

Malaysia is a great location for foreign workers to live and work. Foreign investors that have the intention to expand their business in Malaysia will find it much easier to send their senior team from their home country to manage the newly Malaysian registered Company via a work visa, such as the Employment Pass.

Malaysia has its own set of regulations and laws when it comes to the employment of foreign nationals. Hence, the Immigration Department of Malaysia has imposed that each employing Company must apply for the right work visa to employ foreign workers. Once the foreign expat attains his Malaysian work visa, only then do the foreign nationals enter Malaysia and start working.

How to Work in Malaysia?

For foreign talents who wish to live and work in Malaysia, they are first required to attain a work visa. The Malaysian Expatriate Talent Service Centre (MYXpats Centre) is the department who are responsible for processing and issuing all Employment Pass (EP) related documents.

A Malaysian registration company may only proceed with an Employment Pass application once it registers and approves by the Expatriate Services Division (ESD).

What are the Types of Visas in Malaysia?

Malaysia has three types of working visas. The type of visa you select when you apply for Malaysia work visas would depend on your job and the skills involved. The types of visas issued in Malaysia for working professionals are:

Visa Type Purpose
Employment Pass (EP) For employees who have a specific skill set (usually technical or managerial).
The minimum period for this pass is 2-years. EP Malaysia is available in Category I, II and III.
Temporary Employment Pass For employees with a monthly salary of less than RM5,000.
Also, applicable for employees with an employment period of less than 2-years.
Professional Visit Pass (PVP) For employees with a monthly salary of less than RM 5,000.
Also applicable for employees with an employment period of
less than 2-years with a view of them undergoing training with a Malaysian
company on behalf of an overseas company on a temporary basis.
Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) For expatriates with monthly salary of RM15,000 excluding allowances or bonuses.
The RP-T can be renewed every 10 years is offered to expatriates with exceptional
skills who wish to actively participate in bolstering Malaysia’s economy over an extended period.

Employment Pass vs Professional Visit Pass (PVP)

Employment Pass visas allow a foreign expat to take up employment with a Malaysian-registered Company. This visa will be subject to the length of the employment contract the employing Company has offered.

The foreigner must hold either managerial or technical positions to be eligible for this visa. Employers will lodge the Employment Pass application on behalf of the foreign expat. EPs are valid for up to 60 months, and approval is issued by the Expatriate Committee (EC).  Other approval agencies include the Ministry of Home Affairs. Holders of this visa can bring their family members with them under the Dependant Pass visa.

On the flipside, the PVP is a work pass visa which allows foreign nationals to take up professional work in Malaysia. The visa is valid for a maximum of 12 months. To qualify for this visa, the foreigner must be residing outside Malaysia at the time of application.

Eligible positions for this type of visa include:

  • Professor
  • Lecturers
  • Speaker
  • Researcher
  • Consultants
  • Technical advisors
  • Maintenance installation and fixing experts (machines and equipment)

PVP holders are not entitled to bring their family members with them or apply for the Dependant Pass visa.

Professional Visit Pass (PVP) Prerequisites

All PVP applications must be made outside Malaysia unless the foreigner is applying for an extension. Applications must be submitted by either an employer, sponsor, or school in Malaysia.

If applications are lodged by the school, it should be made at least one month before the learning or teaching commences. Applications must be sent to the Federal Government Administrative Centre (Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan). Certain categories of the PVP shall be subject to consideration, and these categories include:

  • Other experts/volunteers
  • Filming and performance by foreign artists
  • Islamic missionary
  • Practitioners/Other religious workers
  • International students who are undergoing religious courses with the Malaysia bible seminary
  • Government to government program or on government purpose

The validity of the PVP will be subject to the requirements and conditions of Malaysia’s immigration rules and policies for a period not exceeding 12 months. Any applications for a PVP, made to undergo training at a factory or hotel, are applicable for a period not exceeding 6 months.

The employing Company must put in the application:

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

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

Employment Pass vs Temporary Employment Pass (TEP)

To be an eligible Employment Pass holder, a foreigner must be a degree (or above), diploma or technical certificate holder. They must also have the relevant work experience required for each qualification level.

The categories for Employment pass are as follows:

malaysia employment pass categories
A TEP will enable semi-skilled and unskilled foreign workers to work in Malaysia. Occupational roles include agriculture, manufacturing, mining, service sectors and construction. TEPs are valid for up to 3 years.

However, they are subjected to yearly extensions. This would depend on the availability of the specified occupation. TEPs can only be issued after quota approval has been given by the Local Centre of Approval. Family members are not eligible to apply for a Dependant Pass visa.

Temporary Employment Pass (TEP) Prerequisites

All quota approval applications must be lodge with the Local Centre of Approval, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Levies must also pay to the same department. Employers must apply for the Visa with Reference (VDR) and the Visitor’s Pass (TEP). Foreign workers must be outside Malaysia at the time of application. They are only can to enter Malaysia once the application informs about the approvals.

 Foreigners will be allowed to enter Malaysia via these permitted entry points:

  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Foreign workers must have a working visa from Malaysian Representative Offices overseas.
  • Other entry points are from Thailand and Indonesia. Foreigners from here must obtain a working visa from the Malaysian Representative Office in that country.

Foreigners will also be required to undergo medical examinations at FOMEMA-registered clinics/health centres to obtain a clean bill of health. The Visitor’s Pass (Temporary Employment) sticker can be obtained from the State Immigration Office, or at the Malaysian Immigration Headquarters, Putrajaya.

Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) Prerequisites

The Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) program is a 10-year renewable visa designed for exceptionally skilled expatriates from various fields like Oil, Gas, Energy, ICT, Finance, Education, and Business, aiming to make sustained economic contributions to Malaysia. To be eligible, you need:

  • Three years of work experience in Malaysia.
  • A valid Employment Pass with over 3 months validity.
  • Good tax payment history for the past 2 years.
  • A monthly salary of over RM15,000 (excluding extras).
  • Educational qualifications (degree, diploma, or certificate) and 5 years of work experience in general.

Employment Pass vs Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T)


The RP-T holds a significant difference from other types of employment Visas because, unlike other employment passes, the RP-T is not necessary to apply by the employer. Instead, submission must be made by the applicants themselves, and not by any agent. This suits its purpose to cater to professionals seeking to work and live in Malaysia without being bound by the employing company. Hence, this comes with the perk of RP-T pass holders not needing any form of working pass or visa conversion in the case of a change of employer.


Typically, Malaysia Dependent Pass holders can’t work under the conditions of the Dependent Pass. If a family member of an EP holder wants to start working, they must convert their Dependent Pass into an Employment Pass.

However, spouses of RP-T holders can seek employment without applying for Employment Passes of their own.

Children under 18 can also pursue primary and secondary education in Malaysia.

Other Notes

Presently, the Government is only reviewing applications from foreign professionals who have been employed in Malaysia for a continuous period of three years or more at the time of their RP-T application.

Malaysia’s Immigration Requirements

Effective from June 2016, there are new work visa Malaysia requirements that all foreigners must be aware of. These changes must be considered when lodging your work permit application. The changes were introduced by the Immigration Department of Malaysia, and they include:

  • Employment Pass and PVP holders must show a copy of the approval letter upon arrival. You will not be able to enter the country while your work visa is still under review.
  • Foreigners must exit Malaysia to renew their work visas. In-country renewals are no longer applicable.
  • For Employment Pass Category I and II holders, the minimum monthly salary of RM5,000 can no longer include allowances. Allowances will not count to meet the minimum salary requirement.

malaysia employment pass key information

Which Nationalities Require a Malaysia Working Visa?

  • All individuals who are looking to work in Malaysia will require a work visa, regardless of nationality.


Get in touch with us virtually or come down to our office for work visa assessment.


From which Countries do most Foreign Workers in Malaysia Originate?2024-05-07T17:23:16+08:00

The Malaysian workforce includes a great many foreign workers. Most of them come from other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Among the countries from which many foreign workers in Malaysia originate are Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

How are Racial and Religious Minorities Treated in Malaysia?2024-05-07T17:23:41+08:00

The Malaysian government gives all people living there, including foreign workers, opportunities to freely express their religion without fear of discrimination. People of racial minorities are accepted as valued members of Malaysian society. Malaysia’s acceptance of diversity is one of the reasons many expatriates prefer Malaysia to other Southeast Asian countries

How does the Cost of Living in Malaysia Compare to that of other Countries?2024-05-07T17:23:31+08:00

The cost of living in Malaysia is fairly low compared those of most other countries as well. The prices of commodities are low and accommodation is cheap. This gives one an opportunity to save much money while at the same time enjoying life in Malaysia.

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  1. Profile Picture For PHP
    Jasmin October 6, 2022 at 7:37 am - Reply

    Does one need to be in one’s home country for the VDR to be processed?

  2. Profile Picture For PHP
    Lara June 20, 2022 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    If I didn’t submit enough documents for EP application for foreigner, can the company submit my docs online? If can, is it possible for the company to process to the payment step and add in pending docs later on EP application online process?

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Paul Hype Page June 30, 2022 at 9:09 am

      Hello Lara,

      If insufficient number of documents were submitted and you were prompted to resubmit your documents you will be able to resubmit your documents once again. If your application got rejected, we will be able to submit a new application for you.

      Hope this helps!

  3. Profile Picture For PHP
    R.B January 4, 2022 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    Hi. Are remote jobs needing endorsement pass if one is married to a Malaysian?

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Paul Hype Page January 5, 2022 at 11:37 am

      Hi R.B.,

      If you or your spouse is on a dependent visa, you/they will require a valid working visa to work.

      Best Regards,

  4. Profile Picture For PHP
    Gucchi December 16, 2021 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Hi. I just asking about PVP visa requirement. Based on my understanding, this visa requirement of passport expire date is over the one year?

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Paul Hype Page December 21, 2021 at 10:21 am

      Hi Gucchi,

      Yes, your passport should have at least 12 months validity.

      Best Regards,

  5. Profile Picture For PHP
    Furqan A. October 15, 2021 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Can the Employelment Pass (EP) be extended after 60 months completion? If yes, whats the procedure for it. Pla guide.

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Paul Hype Page October 20, 2021 at 8:53 am

      Hi Furqan,

      Yes, you can renew your EP before it expires. You may renew for period up to 5 years for category 1 visas.

      Should you require assistance on your renewal as the owner of a foreign company, feel free to reach out to us on WhatsApp and we’ll can share more about our services.

      Best Regards,

  6. Profile Picture For PHP
    Wnie September 14, 2021 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Hello, i have a question of Professional Visit Pass (PVP) , is that employees who holding PVP can get a monthly salary of less than RM5,000? I found that most of the website stated the position is non salaried.

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Paul Hype Page September 17, 2021 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Wnie,

      For PVP holders, there is no stated salary requirement but they should meet the following requirements:

      1. Foreign talents with acceptable professional qualifications or skills
      2. Employed by an overseas company
      3. On behalf of the overseas company, provide services or undergo training with a Malaysian company with supporting documents

      Hope this clarifies! Feel free to continue our conversation in our forum:

      Best Regards,

  7. Profile Picture For PHP
    Michael January 15, 2021 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    Hi there, thanks for all the info on this page. So even though its MCO again and I’m already in Malaysia on visitor pass, we still have to exit the country to begin procedure for employment pass??

  8. Profile Picture For PHP
    Connie November 26, 2020 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    Hi, can I know if one Indonesian already work in Malaysia for many years, he still require work visa to remain working in Malaysia, right? And the visa is applied by his employer. How about that foreigner is married to local people (Malaysian), will there be any changes on his work visa?

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Tiwi November 27, 2020 at 5:42 pm

      Yes, all foreigners will require work visa to remain working in Malaysia. If a foreigner is married to a Malaysian, the eligible foreigner will be issued a Social Visit Pass for a period of 5 years. They are allowed to work in Malaysia with the Social Visit Pass.

      Please contact us via Paul Hype Page to discuss further.

  9. Profile Picture For PHP
    Yu Shyang November 15, 2020 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    My girl friend is from Thailand but she is not over 27 years old. Can she still come if i give her a managerial position under my own sdn bhd. ?

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Tiwi November 17, 2020 at 10:29 am

      Yes, your girlfriend can hold a managerial position under your own Sdn Bhd company. You can apply an employment pass for her so she can work under your company.

      Please contact us via Paul Hype Page to discuss further.

  10. Profile Picture For PHP
    Pedro October 16, 2020 at 2:14 am - Reply

    Hi Paul Hype Page,

    Thank you for the post – it was extremely helpful. I have one question – as an individual who qualifies for Category I Employment Pass, if I’m interested in finding work in Malaysia, I would first need to secure a role at a company and the company would need to submit the application for the EP visa on my behalf. Is that correct?

    Thank you.

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Tiwi November 6, 2020 at 11:39 am

      Hi Pedro,
      Please be informed you need to have a job secured first and only after that you can submit your employment pass application

      Please contact us via Paul Hype Page to discuss further.

      Thank you for your question.
      Warm regards

  11. Profile Picture For PHP
    Mohammed Musaed September 14, 2020 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    Hello, good afternoon
    I would like to ask you, at the moment i have social visa and i am staying in Malaysia.
    So if i want to apply for working visa in Malaysia my company will apply for me which type of visa?
    Since i am fresh graduated engineer with bachelor degree and salary less than 3k

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Tiwi September 28, 2020 at 9:54 am

      Hi Musaed,

      You should apply EP Category III.

      Please contact us via Paul Hype Page to discuss further.

      Thank you for your question.
      Warm regards

  12. Profile Picture For PHP
    William Chiong July 30, 2020 at 10:00 am - Reply


    I own a manicure shop and i would like to apply working visa for my girlfriend under my company. She is from Thailand. Is it possible to apply working visa for her? Any requirements?

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Tiwi September 4, 2020 at 10:21 am


      Kindly note the following requirements for an Employment Pass application:

      Individual requirements:
      – Have a job offer in Malaysia OR incorporate your own company in Malaysia.

      – Work in a managerial, executive or specialised job.

      – Have acceptable qualifications, usually a good university degree, professional qualifications or specialist skills.

      The below are the different categories of an Employment Pass. Kindly note that we only provide services for a category 1 EP.
      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.

      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.

      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.

      Company requirements:
      – The company must have the relevant business licenses
      – The company should be operational for a recommended period of 3 to 6 months
      – The company must have the minimum paid up capital in the bank account

      Please contact us via Paul Hype Page to discuss further.

      Thank you for your question.
      Warm regards

  13. Profile Picture For PHP
    Andie Phoon July 15, 2020 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Hi, I have an American co-worker who was supposed to come to Malaysia before COVID-19 hit and MCO was enforced. We’re hoping that he can come sometime in August, but we are unsure if we can apply for him to have the Employment Pass in Category III. He was initially offered a Digital Marketing executive position within our company, but because of COVID-19, we had to suspend the offer until we knew we could apply for an EP visa.

    Would he still be eligible for the EP Category III visa?

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Tiwi July 22, 2020 at 11:21 am

      Hi Andie

      Yes, you are able to apply for his visa. We are unable to advise you on the specifics of his approval chances without further information. Please contact us via Paul Hype Page to discuss further.

      Thank you for your question.

      Warm regards

  14. Profile Picture For PHP
    Kenneth Tan July 8, 2020 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Hello Admin, just wanted to ask, as I am an expat here in Malaysia working under an employment pass visa. What if for example my Employment Pass was not renewed by my employer, so can I apply for social visit pass after the Employment Pass visa expire as I plan to stay either a month just to find or look for work, is that valid reasoning for social pass visa? Does that reasoning of finding a new job or work in Malaysia a valid reason for a month stay more in Malaysia (after my visa expire) that can Immigration can approve? Or is that social visit pass falls on the premise of what you called on the above query on “special pass extension”? Please help me as i really wanted to stay more in Malaysia after my visa expire so that i could still look for job opening. Appreciate for your kind reply and advise on this personal matter. Thank you and more power to your team!

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Tiwi July 17, 2020 at 10:41 am

      Hello Kenneth

      Yes you would be best suited for a special pass extension. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact us via Paul Hype Page.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Warm regards

  15. Profile Picture For PHP
    kim June 27, 2020 at 7:44 am - Reply

    Hi i am currently under EP category 3, and i got a job offer of fixed monthly remuneration package (RM4000 Basic salary + RM2000 language allowance). Am i eligible for category 2 visa?

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Tiwi July 15, 2020 at 9:25 am

      Hi Kim
      No, you will only be eligible for EP category 3. If you have any further inquiries, please contact us at Paul Hype Page.
      Thank you for your comment.
      Warm regards

  16. Profile Picture For PHP
    Lily Martinez June 25, 2020 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Hi I just want to ask something. Because my friend was currently stopped to work because of this covid-19, their company close but he was applying work to anyone who could employ him. His visa was going to expire next month. How can he renew that?

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Tiwi July 6, 2020 at 11:44 am

      Hi Lily
      If he has not found a job, he can apply for a special pass extension that will give him additional time to get his affairs in order before leaving the country.
      To facilitate further discussion, please contact us at Paul Hype Page.

      Thank you for your comment.
      Warm regards

  17. Profile Picture For PHP
    Surulimasthan Abbas manthiri June 20, 2020 at 7:07 am - Reply

    Hi Paul Am surulimasthan.. Am work as tooling engineer MNC company. Now my EP 2-this year is 9th year renewal. If I would like to continue with 10+ years work at same company with same EP2 Visa what are documents Need to apply further next year visa renewal process. Please help to inform will advice to my HR team..
    Suruli masthan

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Tiwi July 6, 2020 at 11:08 am

      Hi Suruli Masthan
      The documents required will depend on your application, and it is up to the ESD to call for supporting documentation. Your employer should have the necessary documents on hand from your previous renewals, and if they are called to furnish additional documents, you can provide that as required.
      To facilitate further discussion, please contact us at Paul Hype Page.
      Thank you for your comment.
      Warm regards

  18. Profile Picture For PHP
    Lordan Manliclic January 21, 2020 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    Hi, Now I am working in Malaysia with Manufacturing working Visa. I apply on other Company they want to hire me for Engineer with Expat category. My contract and working visa expired on this coming March 2020. No need cooling period for a foreigner?

    • Profile Picture For PHP
      Tiwiyah Kumaran January 23, 2020 at 10:33 am

      Hello Lordan,

      If you would like to continue working in Malaysia, you will need a valid work visa. Therefore, our advice to you is that you have your work visa renewed as soon as possible. because it will soon expire.

      Any work visa can be renewed at any time as long as all possible renewals have not been used.

      For further information on any of Malaysia’s work visas, please contact us at any time.

      Thank you for your question.

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