Malaysia’s economy and the job market are progressing rapidly. As construction, Health, Information Technology, and many other industries are booming, the need for skilled workers is increasing. This opens a lot of job opportunities in world-leading firms in Malaysia. With a lot of emerging job opportunities, Malaysian companies allow foreigners from general workers to highly skilled professionals to fulfill job positions. It is also considered a hot spot and a feasible destination to work and live for job seekers from all around the globe due to its economic growth.
Requirements to hire foreign workers
For an employer to sponsor an employee for work in Malaysia, there are certain requirements and criteria that must be met in accordance with the country’s immigration law. There are also some restrictions set by the Ministry of Home Affairs i.e the Immigration Department for employers to abide by before hiring foreign employees, such as
- Foreign workers are allowed to work in limited sectors.
- The Employers must first obtain the quota to hire foreign workers from the Ministry of Home Affairs, One Stop Centre (OSC)
- The age bracket for foreign workers is between 18 years to 45 years at the time of submission of the application.
- The employee must hold a relevant work permit and visa to enter Malaysia etc.
- Foreign workers must be declared fit and healthy by the medical center of their country.
- May retrieve the certified PASS for Immigration Security Clearance (ISC) at the source country based on this list
- The foreign workers must not be one of those listed foreign individuals who are prohibited from entering Malaysia under Section 8 (3) of the Immigration Act 1959/1963
Malaysia Work Permit
Foreigners who wish to be employed in Malaysia will have to get a Malaysian work visa. “Work visa” encompasses the entire process of obtaining authorization to work, ie. getting a Malaysia work permit.
Types of Malaysian Work Permits
The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued three types of work permits for employers to apply for their foreign workers:
- Employment Pass
- Temporary employment pass
- Professional visit pass
The Employment Pass is normally issued to foreign workers who are offered a contract with a Malaysian-registered Company. It is for foreign expatriates for highly skilled positions, such as technical or managerial positions. Before you can receive an Employment Pass, your employer in Malaysia has to get approval from the Expatriate Committee or a relevant agency to hire you. It has three categories:
Salary eligibility for pass holders is MYR 10,000 or above
- contract of more than 60 months (5 years)
- Dependants are allowed to hire
- Foreign domestic helpers are allowed
- Pass is renewable
Salary eligible for pass holder, more than MYR 5,000 and less than MYR 10,000
- The employment contract of at least 24 months (2 years)
- Pass is renewable
- Dependants are allowed
- Foreign domestic helpers allowed
Salary eligibility for pass holders, at least MYR 3,000, less than MYR 5,000
- The employment contract of at least 12 months.
- Pass is renewable for at least two more times
- Dependants are not allowed
- foreign domestic helpers are not allowed
Criteria to apply for an Employment Pass
The candidate eligible for this type of pass should:
- Have proper academic qualifications suitable for the position and relevant diplomas or certificates.
- Have at least three consecutive years of relevant work experience for the position offered
- The monthly salary should be a minimum of RM3,000 per month, and in certain sectors RM10,000 per month.
Temporary Employment Pass
Temporary Employment Pass also referred to as the Visitor Pass, is for Malaysian registered Companies that require a semi-skilled foreign worker in a specific sector. Its validity is up to one year and the employer can apply for an extension on yearly basis for up to 10 years.
Criteria to apply for a temporary Employment Pass
It is issued for the following two categories:
Foreign Worker Temporary Employment Pass
The foreign national is only allowed to work in the following sectors i.e: Manufacturing, Construction, Plantation, Agriculture, and Services. Nationals from approved countries can only receive this type of Pass.
Foreign Domestic Helper (FDH) Temporary Employment Pass
To work as a Foreign Domestic Helper, you must be a woman between 21 and 45 years of age. No specific qualifications which are considered highly skilled are required for a temporary employment pass. The candidate for temporary employment pass must be from the following countries:
- Bangladesh, only allowed to work in the plantation sector via government agreements
- India, is not allowed to work in the manufacturing sector
- Indonesia, Male citizens are allowed to only work in manufacturing sectors while females are allowed to work in all sectors
- Philippines, Female citizens are not allowed to work in any sectors
- Sri Lanka
The candidate must be at least 18 years old but below 45 years old during the application time. He Should be declared fit and healthy to work by the approved medical center. The Employer should obtain a foreign worker quota from the Ministry of Home Affairs. After checking the eligibility criteria, the employing Company may proceed to put in the application:
- Must apply visa approval letter from the Immigration Department of Malaysia
- Must submit the VDR application form (using the e-service on the Immigration Department’s official website)
- Letter of quota approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs
- 12 and IM.38 visa application form (can be found on the official website as well)
- Receipt of payment for levy
- Security bond – insurance guarantees/bank guarantee
- Passport copy (preferably certified by notary republic)
- Passport sized photo of the applicant
- Medical certificate issued by the approved health center from applicant’s home country (valid for 3 months)
- Foreign Worker Compensation Scheme (insurance)
- An insurance policy of the Health Insurance Protection Scheme Foreign Workers (SPIKPA) (health insurance)
Upon receiving the approval letter, the foreign worker is able to apply for the visa with reference (VDR) from the Malaysian embassy (if needed). Then, they are to collect the Immigration Security Clearance (ISC) in their home country. The temporary employment pass will be then issued once the foreign worker has passed the Foreign Worker Medical Examination Monitoring Agency (FEMA) medical examination in Malaysia within 30 days of arrival.
Professional Visit Pass
The professional visit pass is only eligible for foreign expatriates with the necessary qualifications and skills who want to work in Malaysia temporarily for up to one year.
Requirements to apply for Professional Visit Pass
The candidate eligible for this type of pass:
- Foreign artist (filming and performance)
- International students attending religious courses studies with Malaysia Bible Seminary
- Islamic missionary
- Other religious workers such as Gurukkal, Granthi, Priest, etc.
- Government officials traveling for official purpose
- International student in mobility program or industrial training
- Jockey expert
- The employing Company may proceed to put in the application with the following documents:
- Passport copy (preferably certified by notary republic)
- 12 and IM.38 visa application form (can be found on the official website)
- Letter of offer from a Malaysian registered Company
- Employing Company’s latest profile (business plan and Company profile, can be retrieved from Company Secretary)
- Academic certificates
- Letter of approval from the Department of Religion and the Islamic Religious Department (if required)
- Bank guarantee (for China citizens)
- Similar to the application of the Temporary Employment Pass, the foreign worker is able to apply for the visa with reference (VDR) from the Malaysian embassy (if needed). Once arrived in Malaysia, the foreign worker is to visit the Immigration Department to receive the professional visit pass sticker on their passport.
Malaysia does not issue business visas, so those individuals travelling for business purposes can do so through a tourist visa. To apply for a tourist visa, the applicant must show proof of having sufficient funds while his stay in Malaysia and must possess a valid return ticket.
How to get a work visa to work in Malaysia?
The employer you are going to work for has to apply for a Malaysia work permit on your behalf. They must submit an application to the Immigration Department. Once the Immigration Department approves the application, you may travel to Malaysia or apply for a visa with reference if you are a visa-required national.
Applying for Expatriate Post or Quota Approval
Your employer has to apply for an Expatriate Post from the Expatriate Committee (EC) or some other relevant authority agency before they apply for your Employment Pass. The government has appointed the following agencies to be in charge of approving Expatriate Posts:
- Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) for the sectors of manufacturing and services.
- Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) for the technology sector.
- Central Bank of Malaysia (BNM) for the sectors of finance, insurance, and banking.
- Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp – BC) for the sector of biotechnology.
- Securities Commission (SC) for the sector of securities and futures market.
- Expatriate Committee (EC) for sectors other than the ones mentioned above.
Your employer has to apply for quota approval if they intend to hire you with a Temporary Employment Pass. The Local Centre of Approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in charge of issuing quota approvals. If one of these agencies approves the expatriate post or quota, your employer has to submit an application for the work permit at the Immigration Department of Malaysia.
The Immigration Department has to approve your work permit application before your arrival. If your application is approved, you will receive a visa approval letter, that will allow you to travel to Malaysia.
This is where the process changes, depending on your nationality. If you are a visa-required national, you must obtain a Malaysian entry visa with reference from the Representative Office nearest to you.
Applying for a Malaysian work visa (visa with reference)
Visa-required nationals must apply for a Malaysia Visa With Reference from a Malaysian Embassy or Consulate to be allowed to enter the country. A Visa With Reference means that the applicant had to get the visa approved by the Immigration Department before they could apply at an Embassy/Consulate.
Visas Without Reference, on the other hand, are tourist visas, and they are issued by the Embassy/Consulate itself without needing approval from the Immigration Department. If you are not a visa-required national, you can travel to Malaysia with your Visa Approval Letter.
Getting your work permit issued
After you arrive in Malaysia, you must submit your passport and pay for the Pass at the Malaysian Immigration Department. They will process your application and issue you with a sticker on your passport and a work permit card. You can start working.
Are you allowed to bring your family members with a Malaysian work visa?
Only holders of Employment Passes are allowed to bring their families along. You can bring the following family members through the Malaysia Dependent’s Pass:
- Your spouse
- Your dependent children under 21 years old
The following family members can visit an employment pass holder through a Social Visit Pass:
- Children over the age of 21
- If your spouse wants to work, they must apply for their own work permit.
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