Malaysian government announces new work permit process and expat i-pass card

The Malaysian Government has launched a new work permit (Employment Pass and Professional Visit Pass) process for information and communication technology (ICT) companies, which will be adjudicated by Malaysia”s Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC).  Additionally, the Government has announced the implementation of a new ID card for foreign nationals.

New Work Permit Process

ICT companies that are not part of Malaysia”s Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) must register before they can file work permit applications with the MDeC.  Once this has been completed, various documents will need to be signed and returned to the MDeC.  Stage One of the work permit application process will take around five to nine working days.  Stage 2, when the application is passed to the Malaysian Immigration Department, will take around three to five working days to be completed.

There will be no changes to Employment Pass procedures for companies that are already part of MSC.

Newland Chase predicts that the change of processing authority will increase processing times for applications in the immediate future.  It is also quite likely that the MDeC may alter the requirements in terms of necessary supporting documents and fees for work permit applications. 

The long term aim of these changes is clearly to actually reduce processing times for IT companies, and by streamlining the applications process to pass through one adjudicator, the MDeC, it is hopeful that this will be achieved.

New Expat “i-Pass” card

Malaysia has also introduced a new i-Pass card (replacing the now-discontinued i-Card), which will be automatically issued to foreign nationals when an Employment Pass or Professional Visit Pass passport endorsement is completed. The cards are then validated by government authorities and the card holder is notified.  Cards can be collected on behalf of a foreign national by an authorised agent.

The i-Pass card will mean that within peninsular Malaysia foreign nationals are no longer required to carry their original passports with them, for identification purposes, as long as they carry the card.  However, i-Pass holders travelling to East Malaysia must carry a passport to clear immigration.

If you employ staff in Malaysia or are a foreign national working there, and wish to learn more about these changes and how they may affect you, please contact us.


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