Malaysia Employment Pass

Complete guide to obtaining a Malaysia employment pass

Foreign nationals who want to work in Malaysia will need a Malaysian work visa. To get a work visa, you must find an employer in Malaysia who is willing to hire you. If you want to work in a Malaysian company or organization in a professional and high-skilled position, you will need a Malaysia Employment Pass.

The Employment Pass is one of the work permits types which the Malaysian government issues. Before you can receive an Employment Pass for Malaysia, your employer must get approval from an authority body to hire you.

This article will detail the process and requirements of getting an Employment Pass for Malaysia.

Types and Conditions of Malaysia Employment Passes

There are three types of Employment Passes for Malaysia, depending on your position and salary.

Employment Pass Category 1, which includes key post positions in a company, such as executives, CEOs, technical or managing directors, project managers etc.

  • You must have a monthly salary of at least RM10,000.
  • You must have a work contract of up to five years.
  • The EP can be renewed.
  • You are allowed to hire a Foreign Domestic Helper.

Employment Pass Category 2, which includes managerial and professional positions in a company, such as a marketing or investment manager, lecturers, directors, architects, etc.

  • You must have a salary between RM5,000 and RM9,999.
  • You must have a work contract of up to two years.
  • The EP can be renewed.
  • You are allowed to hire a Foreign Domestic Helper.

Employment Pass Category 3, which includes non-executive positions in a company that require significant work experience and specific technical or practical skills. For example, designers (fashion, manufacturing, furniture), craftsmen, food technologists, etc.

  • You must earn a monthly salary between RM3,000 and RM4,999.
  • You must have a work contract of up to two years.
  • The EP cannot be renewed more than two times.
  • You are not allowed to hire a Foreign Domestic Helper.

Who is Eligible for a Malaysia Employment Pass?

To qualify for a Malaysia Employment Pass, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have proper academic qualifications required for the job.
  • You must have at least three years worth of relevant work experience. If your academic qualifications are smaller, you may require more years of relevant work experience.
  • You must work in a managerial, executive or technical position which requires specific skills.
  • You must meet the required salary requirements.
  • You must not take up work in a sector which is considered restricted.

How to apply for a Malaysia Employment Pass?

As a foreign employee, you do not have to apply for your own Employment Pass. it is your employer who submits the application on your behalf in Malaysia, before you travel. The process of obtaining a Malaysian Employment Pass is divided into two parts:

  1. Your employer has to request approval to hire you through the Expatriate Committee (EC) or another authorized approval agency. This process is known as applying for an Expatriate Post.
  2. Once the Expatriate Post application is approved, your employer has to submit the Employment Pass Malaysia application at the Immigration Department of Malaysia.

Applying for Expatriate Post

Depending on your profession, your employer has to apply for the Expatriate Post at one of the following government-approved agencies:

  • 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.
    • The Expatriate Committee operates under the Immgration Department of Malaysia.

Once the Expatriate Committee or another authorized agency has approved your employer’s application to hire you, your employer must apply for your Employment Pass.

Applying for the Employment Pass

Your employer has to submit the Employment Pass application in the Employment Pass Division of the Immigration Department of Malaysia. They have to submit the application by mail or in person.

When your employer applies for the Employment Pass, they must submit the following supporting documents:

  • Employment Pass application form.
  • Passport size picture of you, in line with Malaysia photo requirements.
  • A copy of your passport.
    • Your passport must be valid for at least six more months from the date you intend to enter. In any case, your Employment Pass cannot be longer than the validity of your passport.
    • If you are from the PRC, include two copies of your passport.
  • Letter or approval for Expatriate Post from the relevant authority body.
  • Authorization from the company to submit the application.
  • Your Employment Contract or an Offer and Acceptance Letter.
  • Your CV and copies of your diplomas and certificates.
  • A copy of your employer’s company profile from Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).

The Malaysia Employment Pass processing time is three days.

Arriving in Malaysia (Malaysian Visa With Reference)

A Visa With Reference (VDR) means that you had to get approval from the Immigration Department of Malaysia (ie. the Employment Pass) before the Malaysian Representative Office abroad could issue you a visa. The VDR is simply an entry visa issued to foreign nationals who are travelling for long-term purposes, such as for work or studying.

Most foreign nationals who want to travel to Malaysia for work must apply for a Malaysian Visa With Reference. You are exempt from holding a VDR only if you are from one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Cyprus
  • Dominica
  • Fiji
  • Gambia
  • Grenada
  • Guinea Republic
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Lesotho
  • Liechtenstein
  • Malawi
  • Maldives
  • Mauritius
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • Swaziland
  • Switzerland
  •  Tanzania
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • United Kingdom
  • Vanuatu
  • Western Samoa
  • Zaire
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

If you are a national of the countries mentioned above, you can enter Malaysia without a Visa With Reference, only with your Employment Pass approval letter.

You have to apply for a Malaysia Visa With Reference at the nearest Malaysian Embassy or Consulate.

Once you arrive in Malaysia, you must appear in person at an Immigration Office and submit your Employment Pass fee payment as well as your passport. The Immigration Officers will affix an Employment Pass sticker on your passport, endorsing your stay, and issue you with an expatriate card.

Can I bring my family members to Malaysia with an Employment Pass?

Yes, as a Malaysia Employment Pass holder, you are allowed to bring your dependents with you, unless you are a Category 3 EP holder.

Malaysia Employment Pass holders (Category 1 and 2) can bring the following family members through a Dependent’s Pass or a Long Stay Social Visit Pass:

  • Spouse (husband and wife)
  • Children under 21 years of age

The Dependent’s Pass allows the holder to join their family member in Malaysia, but they’re not allowed to work, unless they convert their Dependent Pass to an Employment Pass.

The Long Stay Social Visit Pass allows the holder to visit their family member in Malaysia for a temporary period longer than six months, up to five years.

Malaysia Employment Pass holders (Category 3) are not allowed to bring their family members with them to Malaysia.