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Work Permit

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Malaysia

Malaysia work permits and visas

Updated on:
16 Jan, 2024
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EOR in 
Malaysia
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169
/month
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EOR in 
Malaysia
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$
169
/month
(billed annually)
$
199
/month
(billed monthly)
Employ contractors and employees in 160+ countries

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Malaysia represents a significant opportunity for international employers interested in expanding into the digital economy. With a government-led commitment to expanding tech and digital innovation, it's no wonder why more companies are looking to expand into this Southeast Asian country's market.  

In addition, Malaysia is a beautiful and technologically advanced country that digital nomads and remote workers find appealing, which means both employees and employers can harness remote employment in the country.

However, with this significant opportunity comes potential risks to both the employee and employer, who will need to navigate the Malaysia immigration system and ensure their employment relationship complies with Malaysian laws.

Whether you're an employer looking to hire a candidate moving to Malaysia or relocate an existing employee, or a worker wanting to move to the country, you will need to ensure the correct work permits in Malaysia are obtained prior to an employee beginning work in Malaysia.

Continue reading to learn about the types of Malaysia work permits, requirements and how to apply for a work permit in Malaysia.

Types of work permits in Malaysia

There are several types of work permits available in Malaysia. The type of work permit for which you apply will depend on factors like the type of job you're being hired to do and your country of origin.

Below is a list of the types of work permits in Malaysia.

Employment pass

The Malaysia employment pass (EP) is a type of long-term Malaysia work permit that entitles you to work in the country if you've been offered a job by an employer who is legally entitled to operate there.

With an employment pass, you can live and work in Malaysia for up to five years as long as you have a valid employment contract and your EP has been approved for this amount of time.

To receive an employment pass, you must first receive approval to fill the relevant position from the Expatriate Services Division or another relevant agency and then receive approval of your work entitlements from the Immigration Department of Malaysia.

In addition to the work permit you can obtain as an employee, one of the significant benefits of the Malaysian employment pass is that you can bring dependents and visitors.

Below is a list of the secondary passes that you can apply for with an employment pass:

  • A dependent pass. This pass is available to immediate family members of the visa holder, including:
  • Your spouse
  • Your biological child or children
  • Your adopted child or children
  • Your parents or your spouse's parents
  • A long-term social visit pass. This pass is available to immediate family members who are visiting the visa-holder in Malaysia, including:
  • Your spouse
  • Your biological child or children
  • Your adopted child or children
  • Your parents or your spouse's parents
  • A secondary employment pass. This pass is available to individuals working as a maid for the visa-holder

Temporary employment pass

A temporary employment pass, also called a visitor's pass, is a type of short-term Malaysia work permit that entitles you to work in the country if you meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Plantation
  • Services
  • You are a foreign national between the ages of 18 and 45 years old
  • Your home country is one of the countries listed below:
  • Vietnam
  • Uzbekistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Thailand
  • Sri Lanka
  • Philippines (a temporary employment pass is only available to male Phillipino individuals)
  • Pakistan
  • Nepal
  • Myanmar
  • Laos
  • Kazakhstan
  • Indonesia (male individuals from Indonesia cannot receive a temporary employment pass for a job within the manufacturing industry)
  • India (individuals from India cannot receive a temporary employment pass for a job within the manufacturing industry)
  • Cambodia
  • Bangladesh (individuals from Bangladesh can only receive a temporary employment pass if they're being hired within the plantation industry)

The eligibility requirements for a temporary employment pass are significantly more restrictive than an employment pass, and this type of Malaysia work permit is issued for shorter periods.

Temporary employment passes are issued for a 12-month period, although you can apply to renew your temporary employment pass annually for a maximum period of ten years.

Professional employment pass

A professional employment pass also called a professional visit pass (PVP), is a type of short-term Malaysia work permit that entitles you to live and work in the country if you're being hired to fill a highly skilled position.

To receive a professional employment pass, the organization you work for must be approved by the Expatriate Services Division. In addition, you will need to meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The role you're being hired for falls into one of the following categories:

The professional employment pass differs from the other two types of Malaysia work permits because it is only valid for 12 months and cannot be renewed. You can, however, apply for another PVP once your initial PVP has expired and you've returned to your home country.

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Malaysia visa requirements

When applying for a Malaysia work permit visa, you'll need to meet the minimum Malaysia visa requirements to have your application approved. In addition, the work permit application process requires the participation of both the employer and the employee, as the employer will need to provide documentation indicating their legal entitlement to operate in Malaysia and their interest in hiring you.

Although the exact application process and requirements will vary based on the type of visa or work permit you're applying for, you will need to meet some or all of the following Malaysia visa requirements to have your work permit application approved:

  • A completed application form for the relevant visa
  • Printed on a single, double-sided sheet of A4-sized printer paper
  • A valid passport that is at least six months from its expiration date
  • A photocopy of your passport
  • Two additional color photos that meet the following specifications:
  • The photo must be 35 millimeters by 50 millimeters in size.
  • The photo must have been taken within the last six months.
  • The photo must have a white background.
  • Your face must be centered in the photo, occupying a space of roughly 25 millimeters by 30 millimeters.
  • You should be facing forward, looking directly at the camera.
  • You should have a neutral facial expression.
  • You should be dressed in dark clothing.
  • You should not wear anything that covers your eyes. (Prescription glasses are acceptable, so long as your eyes are visible behind them.)
  • Your face should be free of any headgear. (Head coverings worn for religious reasons are acceptable.)
  • A receipt proving you've paid the associated visa application fee; you must pay the fee via a bank draft.
  • Original Letter of Approval from the Immigration Department of Malaysia
  • Photocopy of the Letter of Approval from the Immigration Department of Malaysia
  • Resume or curriculum vitae proving you're qualified to perform the job you're being hired for
  • An employment letter indicating your employer has extended a valid job offer
  • Employer documents that prove they're legally entitled to hire in Malaysia, including the following:
  • The employer's company profile
  • The employer's company registration
  • The employer's company license
  • The employer's list of workers (must submit two copies)
  • A Letter of Authorization from your employer entitling you to act on their behalf throughout your immigration process

Note: All documents submitted with your Malaysia work permit application must be in English originally or include a copy translated into English.  

How to apply for Malaysia work visa and permits

The exact process for obtaining a work permit in Malaysia will depend on the type of work permit you need, your country of origin, and other factors. However, you can follow these steps to apply for a work permit in Malaysia:

  1. Your employer will need to request that you be hired to fill the position from the Expatriate Services Division or another government agency. (The agency varies based on the permit for which you're applying.) Your ability to move to Malaysia will depend on the ESD approving that you be hired to fill the position.
  2. Once your hiring request has been approved, your employer will submit a work permit application on your behalf.
  3. Once your work permit application has been processed, you can apply for a Visa With Reference (VDR), which entitles you to enter and stay in Malaysia. (Note: this step is optional, depending on your country of origin.) You can apply for a VDR at your local Malaysian consulate or embassy,
  4. Once you've entered Malaysia, you can receive your official work certification by visiting the nearest immigration office.

Unlike some countries, in Malaysia both the employee and employer will need to be involved in the Malaysia work permit application process, and an employee can only receive a work permit if an employer has offered them a job.

How long does it take to get a work permit in Malaysia?

There is no guaranteed time frame in which your work permit application will be processed, but according to the Expatriate Services Division, it should typically only take about five business days.

Planning to hire or work in Malaysia? Here's how Skuad can help

Whether you're an employee planning a move to Malaysia or an employer looking to relocate an existing employee or hire someone new who's moving to Malaysia, ensuring you have all the necessary work permits and visas is essential.

As you navigate the ins and outs of international immigration and employment, consider partnering with Skuad to help ensure this process goes as smoothly as possible. Skuad is available to help manage onboarding, international payroll, and other essential aspects of international employment.

FAQs

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about obtaining a work permit in Malaysia and successfully navigating the Malaysia immigration system.

How can I get a work permit in Malaysia?

Your employer will need to help you apply for a work permit in Malaysia. Below is a list of steps to apply for a work permit in Malaysia:

  1. Your employer requests to hire you from the relevant government agency.
  2. Once you've been approved, your employer will file a work permit application.
  3. You apply for a Visa With Reference at your local Malaysian embassy.
  4. Visit an immigration office once you enter Malaysia to receive your employment pass certification.

Can foreigners work in Malaysia now?

Foreign nationals can work in Malaysia as long as they have obtained the necessary Malaysia work permits. There are restrictions on who can apply for certain types of permits, but if your permit application is approved, you will be legally entitled to live and work in Malaysia.

How much is a work permit in Malaysia?

The cost of a work permit in Malaysia may vary based on the type of permit you're applying for (e.g., employment pass, temporary employment pass, etc.) However, the initial cost of both an employment pass and a professional employment pass is RM 800 (roughly $178).

How long does it take to get a work permit in Malaysia?

The Expatriate Services Division typically processes Malaysia work permit applications within five business days. However, the process may take longer based on factors like the type of work permit you're applying for and whether any adjustments are needed to your application.

To avoid potential complications arising from your work permit taking longer to process, you should allow extra time.

Can Americans work in Malaysia?

Americans who are issued a Malaysia work permit are legally entitled to live and work there. However, it's important to note that the length of time you can stay in Malaysia and whether or not your family is entitled to move with you depends on the type of work permit you receive.

limited-offer-banner
EOR in 
Malaysia
Monthly
Annually
(Save upto 15%)
$
169
/month
(billed annually)
Start Hiring Now

Employ contractors and employees in 160+ countries

Get started
limited-offer-banner
EOR in 
Malaysia
$
169
/month
(billed annually)
$
199
/month
(billed monthly)

Employ contractors and employees in 160+ countries

Table of Content

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