Expats wanting to work in Malaysia will require a work permit. Obtaining a work permit for Malaysia is often a lengthy and complicated process, but luckily for most expats, the bulk of the process is undertaken by their employing company. 

Applying for a work permit in Malaysia

Work permit validity varies widely, depending on the duration of the work contract and the type of work permit. Applications for work permits can be submitted online via the Expatriate Services Division's website.

As part of the visa application process, a reference number will be issued so that it’s possible to track the progress of the application online.

Conditions for work permits in Malaysia

There are restrictions on the number of foreign workers a Malaysian company can employ. A company that wants to hire foreign workers will have to prove to the government that the potential employee and their position are of vital importance and the job cannot be filled by a local.

Approval of employment is granted by the Immigration Department in conjunction with different regulatory agencies, depending on the industry and nature of work the foreigner will be undertaking. Once approval has been granted, the company can begin the application process for the work permit on behalf of the expat.

Types of work permits for Malaysia

Below are the types of work permits most commonly used by expats.

Employment Pass

An Employment Pass applies to those wanting to work in Malaysia and who have specific skills, generally in technical or managerial positions. Before the Employment Pass can be issued, the employment of the foreign worker must be approved by the relevant regulatory agency. Employment Passes can be granted for up to 12, 24 or 60 months, depending on specifics such as the nature of the job, the salary earned and the length of the employment contract.

Professional Visit Pass

The Professional Visit Pass is issued to foreigners employed by an overseas company but working with a company in Malaysia on a temporary basis. The Professional Visit Pass is valid for a maximum of 12 months.

*Visa and work permit regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.