- Country Name: Malaysia
- Capital: Kuala Lumpur
- Population: 30,980,000 (2016 estimate)
- Language: Bahasa Malaysia
- Time Zone: MST (UTC+8)
- Dialing Code: +60
- Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
This FAQ has been created as an introductory guide to immigration procedures for Malaysia. Since rules and requirements in every country are constantly changing and each case must be assessed on its own merits, for in-depth and up-to-date advice, please contact us.
Please note, we can only advise on matters relating to immigration and are unable support you with employment in a new region. We do however have a network of trusted partners that can support your move, so please visit Our Partners page for further information.
Banking, biotechnology, electronics, petroleum and gas industry and education are all sectors in Malaysia which offer employment opportunities for expats.
However; the large majority of expats working in Malaysia are there temporarily on a Professional Visit Pass (PVP) for up to 1 year at a time.
There are two different types of passes that allow foreign assignees to take up employment in Malaysia:
The Professional Visits Pass: for assignees to work temporarily in Malaysia for up to a maximum of 12 months while remaining on their home entity employment contract and payroll.
The Employment Pass: for assignees to take up employment for over 12 months on a Malaysian employment contract and payroll.
Processes and requirements will vary according to the labour market at the time of application, the type of work permit being applied for, the nationality of the applicant, the country of application and personal circumstances of the assignee and any family dependants. We, therefore, recommend that you contact us for up-to-date information.
However, the general process generally involves the sponsoring company obtaining approval to hire a foreign national at the immigration department in Malaysia. Once approved, an application for the assignee’s employment pass must be submitted to the same department. At the same time, and depending on the nationality of the assignee, the department may issue an approval letter.
Upon receipt of this letter, the assignee can make an entry visa application at the respective Malaysian High Commission overseas. Post-entry to Malaysia original passport(s) of the principal applicant (and any accompanying dependents) must be taken to MDEC for endorsement.
Requirements will vary according to the type of work permit, country of application, and nationality of the applicant and any dependants.
Applicants will be required to submit a variety of personal documents to support the application which include, but are not limited to:
Processing times will vary according to the type of work permit, country of application, and nationality of the applicant and any dependants. However, an indication of processing times is as follows:
The Professional Visits Pass: Typically takes 1 to 3 months until entry to Malaysia, and a further 1 week before the whole process is completed.
The Employment Pass: Typically takes 1 to 2 months until entry to Malaysia, and a further 1 to 3 days before the whole process is completed
Employment passes are initially issued for a period of between 2-3 years and extendable in increments of 2 years.
Nationals from specified countries can enter Malaysia and be issued with a Social Visit Pass (SVP) on arrival for tourism and business purposes. This allows them to stay for between 30- 90 days (depending on an individual’s nationality).
It is strictly prohibited to carry out any work related activity on an SVP.
Therefore, while there is nothing to stop you from looking for jobs, you would not be able to commence any form of employment until you have acquired the appropriate work authorisation.
Permanent residency is only available to foreign nationals who fall under the following criteria:
a) High Net Worth Expats: Investors with a minimum of $2 million USD in a fixed deposit account at any Bank in Malaysia which is can only be withdrawn after 5 years.
b) Highly Skilled Expats: The assignee must be recognised as “World Class” by any International Organisation.
c) Points Based System: Assignees who achieve a minimum of 65 points out of 120 will be considered for permanent residency.
All other aspects of the relocation process will be impacted by the decision to approve your Employment Pass and leaving this to the last minute can increase anxiety in relation to the move to Malaysia.
Furthermore, some supporting documentation will require legalisation/translation, which, depending on the country of origin, may take several weeks.
As such, it is important to ensure that the immigration part of the relocation process is started as early as possible and this must be well in advance of your actual assignment date to Malaysia.