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Any foreigner who intends to live and work in Malaysia is required to possess one of the work visas which are valid in the country. Only those who have fulfilled all necessary criteria will be allowed to receive any of the three types of work visas issued by the Malaysian government.

Work Visa in MY

Most countries have provisions allowing foreign nationals to be employed in local companies. Foreigners must possess prerequisite documentation prior to starting work or opening a business in these countries. Such is the case in Malaysia as well. Malaysia’s immigration authorities ensure that the conditions under which foreigners can work in the country are carefully regulated. The Immigration Department of Malaysia is tasked with enforcing laws that govern the stay of foreign workers in the country. Under normal circumstances, foreigners remain in Malaysia by using tourist passes. However, tourist passes do not give them the freedom to seek employment in Malaysia. Attempting to do so would cause them to be categorized as illegal workers due to a lack of documentation. In order to obtain employment in Malaysia, a foreign worker must possess a work visa.

Definition of a Work Visa

A work visa is a document giving a citizen of a foreign country the legal authority to obtain employment within a country. Work visas are issued according to a set of criteria determined by each country. Malaysia restricts the number of work visas it issues yearly in order to protect its locals from unemployment. Employers must provide enough proof that a position to be filled by a foreign national cannot be filled by a local. As a result, it may sometimes be difficult for a foreigner to seek a work visa in Malaysia.

Work visas are a means for countries to improve foreign relations through the sharing of labor. This is because foreigners from any country must acquire work visas from the government of the country in which they will work before beginning employment. Work visas can be issued to individual foreigners upon their application or to specialists. In Malaysia, the details of work visas depend on one’s contract with the malaysian gorvernment.

Want to Start business in Singapore
Want to Start business in Singapore

Work Visas Available in Malaysia

The Malaysian Immigration Department issues three types of work visas which differ regarding duration of stay, type of work to be done, and amount of salary to be earned. These three types of work visas are the following:

Employment Pass

This is a type of work visa is issued to foreigners seeking professional positions especially in managerial and technical capacities. Such positions may include medical experts, accountants, and chief executive officers, among others. For this work visa, the professional must be earning a salary of at least RM8,000 every month. However, the Malaysian government imposes a limitation on the professional positions that can be filled by foreigners. Some professional positions are overcrowded; therefore, bringing more foreign nationals into such positions would put locals out of work. This visa expires after two years; it may either can be renewed or terminated.

Professional Visit Pass

This work visa is issued to foreign nationals working for foreign companies who have come to work for a company in Malaysia. The Professional Visit Pass is normally valid for a period not exceeding six months. It is mostly recommended for professionals who work as consultants, trainees or volunteers in Malaysia.

Temporary Employment Pass

A Temporary Employment Pass is issued to unskilled and semi-skilled laborers who are seeking employment positions in industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and construction, among others. This work visa must be approved by the respective industry in which the foreigner is seeking employment. It is valid for two years with an option for renewal on a yearly basis.

The preceding three visas are the most commonly issued by the Malaysian Immigration Department. However, there are other visas as well that can be used by foreigners. For instance, if an expatriate wishes to move family members to Malaysia for the purposes of work, the foreigner is obliged to apply for a Dependent Pass for each family member who moves to Malaysia. This pass is valid for two years.

How a Foreigner Becomes Eligible for a Malaysian Work Visa

The Immigration Department of Malaysia defines the terms and conditions under which a foreign national can be declared eligible for an employment position in Malaysia. These terms apply to all foreign workers regardless of the industry in which they are seeking employment. The following are some of the conditions of eligibility for a work visa in Malaysia:


According to the Malaysian Immigration Department website, foreigners are only accepted in the in the manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and service industries. This condition was imposed is in a bid to restrict the level of foreign entry into Malaysia’s market.


Prior to employing foreign nationals, employers or companies must adhere to the quota set by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The quota dictates the number of foreign employees that can be employed in any given industry at any given time.

Age Limit

Foreign workers must be between 18 and 45 years old at the time of work visa application. In some industries, however, the age bracket begins at the age of 23; such is also not true of the IT industry in which the age limit is 26.

Certified PASS from Immigration Security Clearance (ISC) in the Source Country

On its website, the Immigration Department of Malaysia lists the countries from which Malaysia accepts foreign workers. In the source countries, Malaysia has established Immigration Security Clearance agencies that issue individuals with a certified PASS prior before they enter Malaysia. Only a foreign national with a certified PASS is allowed to apply for a work visa through the Immigration Department of Malaysia.

Medical Certification

A foreign worker must be considered medically fit before being given a work visa or permit. The foreign worker is therefore required to submit a certified medical report from any recognized medical institution in the source country.

Not Blacklisted from Entering Malaysia

Passes are issued to those who are not prohibited from entering Malaysia. The Immigration Act of 1959/1963 lists certain conditions that could be possible grounds for prohibition from entering the country. As such, foreign nationals must ensure that they do not violate the provisions of the Immigration Act prior to applying for a work visa.

It should also be noted that the process of acquiring a work visa in Malaysia may take longer than expected. This fact is due to more minor bureaucratic requirements as well as legal fees which are linked to the process. Foreign companies can also apply for work visas. All work visas in Malaysia for which foreign companies apply are required to follow the requirements of registration of companies according to Malaysia’s company laws. A foreigner seeking to start a business in Malaysia will also be required to have a personal work visa.

Should you require any assistance regarding the obtaining of a work visa which is valid in Malaysia, we at Paul Hype Page & Co are able to assist you. Our team of experts will work with you in order for you to receive any work visa which you might need to begin working and living in Malaysia. We will ensure that the entire process is completed in the proper manner.

Advantages Received by Foreigners Who Are Eligible for Malaysian Work Visas

There are numerous advantages that are tied to being eligible for a work visa in Malaysia. For one, a foreign national can relocate family members to Malaysia by applying for Dependent Passes. This reduces the need to travel in and out of the country on a frequent basis. Eligibility for a work visa also allows parents and in-laws to have access to a Long-Term Social Visit Pass which allows family members to remain in contact with one another.

Regarding employment advantages, a foreign worker eligible for any work visa in Malaysia is entitled to a minimum monthly salary of at least RM5,000. The exact salary amount will depend on the industry of which the worker is part. Contributions to the Employee Providence Fund will also be made in the foreign worker’s name. Such contributions build up as pension. Other benefits include contributions towards health and social insurance; their values depend on employment contracts.

Foreign workers in Malaysia who own an Employment Pass may be eligible to apply for a Residence Pass-Talent, a 10-year renewable pass allowing one to apply for jobs in other companies. To receive this pass, one must have five years of work experience including three years of work experience in a Malaysian company. Ownership of this pass also eases applications for permanent residency in Malaysia.


Although the process of obtaining one is long and rigorous, a Malaysian work visa allows its owner to benefit from numerous advantages. There are also many work visa application options; some are targeted at individuals while others allowing holders to relocate their family members. Anyone interested in applying for a work visa which is valid in Malaysia can anticipate that their life in Malaysia will be a positive experience.

Work Visas in Malaysia FAQs

From which Countries do most Foreign Workers in Malaysia Originate?2020-04-28T17:30:49+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?2020-04-28T17:30:06+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?2020-04-28T17:29:24+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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