guide to malaysian work visas for expatriates and employers in malaysia

Malaysian Work Visas For Foreigners: Types, Requirements, And Application Steps


Obtaining an expatriate visa in Malaysia is essential for foreigners seeking to work in the country. The Malaysian government has specific policies and procedures to regulate the employment of expatriates, and before starting employment, foreign talents must obtain a valid work visa. Employers must also comply with the relevant regulations and requirements.

The Malaysian work visa application process can be complex, but understanding the necessary documents and application procedures is critical for expats seeking to work in Malaysia. This article aims to provide expats and employers with comprehensive information on the expat visa in Malaysia application process. Whether you are a foreign worker seeking employment in Malaysia or an employer looking to hire foreign talents, this guide will be an essential resource to aid you in navigating the visa application process with ease.

What work visas are available in Malaysia?

work available in malaysia

Several types of work visas are available in Malaysia, each designed to meet specific requirements and circumstances. It’s important to note that each type of work visa has specific requirements and eligibility criteria that must be met. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to research and understand the different types of work visas to determine which best suits your needs and circumstances. Here are some of the most common work visas available for expatriates in Malaysia:

  1. Employment Pass

The Employment Pass is the most common work visa for highly skilled expats, managers, and executives. This employment pass is suitable for professionals who earn a minimum monthly salary of RM5,000 and hold a degree or diploma from a recognised institution. The Employment Pass is valid for two years and can be renewed for up to ten years, subject to the employer’s satisfaction and other requirements. This pass is commonly referred to as an expatriate visa in Malaysia.

  1. Professional Visit Pass

The Professional Visit Pass is suitable for foreign professionals coming to Malaysia for a short-term assignment, consultation, or training. The pass is valid for up to six months and can be extended up to twelve months, subject to approval from the relevant authorities. This pass is also commonly used as an expatriate visa in Malaysia for professionals who do not qualify for an Employment Pass.

  1. Temporary Employment Pass

The Temporary Employment Pass is for unskilled and semi-skilled foreign talents hired for short-term employment, typically under two years. This permit is commonly used for foreign manufacturing, construction, and service workers.

  1. Residence Pass-Talent

The Residence Pass-Talent suits highly skilled foreign professionals working in Malaysia under Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme. The programme allows foreigners to live and work in Malaysia long-term. The Residence Pass-Talent is valid for up to ten years and allows holders to bring their spouses and dependents to Malaysia.

  1. Dependent Pass

The Dependent Pass is for the spouses and children of expatriates in Malaysia. The pass is valid for the course of the work visa held by the sponsor and allows dependents to live and study in Malaysia.

Malaysian work visa requirements

required work visa

Depending on the sort of work visa you are seeking, there may be restrictions for a Malaysian work visa. Before requesting a work visa for Malaysia, you must ensure you have all the required paperwork and are qualified. It’s best to start the application procedure as early as possible to avoid delays since it can take several weeks to many months. Nevertheless, every application for a work visa must meet a few standard standards.

  • Valid Passport

Your passport must have at least six months of validity. Additionally, it must have at least one blank page for the visa stamp.

  • Medical Examination

You must undergo a medical examination from a panel of doctors approved by the Malaysian government. The medical exam includes a chest x-ray, blood tests for HIV and syphilis, and a physical examination. You must provide the medical examination report along with your work visa application.

  • Education And Professional Qualifications

You may be required to provide evidence of your education and professional qualifications. This may include diplomas, certificates, or any other relevant qualifications.

  • Employment Contract

Provide a copy of your employment contract with a Malaysian employer. The employment contract must include details such as your job title, salary, duration of the contract, and other terms and conditions.

  • Passport-size Photographs

Supply two recent passport-sized photographs that meet the Malaysian government’s requirements. The photographs must be in colour, taken against a white background, and show your entire face without headwear or accessories.

  • Application Form

Complete the relevant application form for the sort of work visa you are applying for. You can download the application form from the Malaysian Immigration Department’s website or obtain it from the nearest Malaysian embassy or consulate.

  • Other Supporting Documents

Depending on the type of work visa you are applying for, you may need to provide additional supporting documents, such as a letter of recommendation from your previous employer or a business plan if you are applying for an Entrepreneur Pass.

What is the application process like?

visa application process

It is essential to remember that the particular requirements and processes may change based on your nationality and the type of work visa you are applying for. If you are a highly trained worker, you can be qualified for another kind of work visa with a distinct set of requirements. 

If you have any concerns or queries, it is crucial to thoroughly read the application instructions and seek the advice of a professional immigration lawyer or agent. The general steps in the application procedure are listed below.

  • Find A Malaysian Employer

To obtain a work visa in Malaysia, you must first find a job with a Malaysian employer willing to sponsor your work visa. You can search for job openings online, through recruitment agencies, or by contacting Malaysian companies directly.

  • Submission Of  Application

After your employer has obtained the necessary approvals, submit your work visa application to the Malaysian Immigration Department. You and your employer must complete and sign the application form. You must also submit supporting documents, including a medical examination report, a police clearance certificate, and proof of your qualifications and work experience. In addition, you will need to pay the relevant fees.

  • Wait For Approval

Once you have submitted your application, you must wait for the Malaysian Immigration Department to process it. The processing time can vary as it depends on the sort of permit you are applying for and the department’s workload. Check the application status online or by contacting the Malaysian Immigration Department.

  • Obtain Visa

If your work visa application is approved, obtain a visa from the nearest Malaysian embassy or consulate. You must provide your passport, visa application form, and other supporting documents, such as your letter of approval from the Malaysian Immigration Department and proof of accommodation in Malaysia. You may also need to attend an interview at the embassy or consulate.

  • Travel To Malaysia

Once you have obtained your visa, you can travel to Malaysia and start your job. You would need to undergo a medical examination and obtain a work visa endorsement on your passport within 30 days of your arrival in Malaysia. Your employer will be responsible for arranging these procedures.

Let MISHU assist with your work visa needs

Employers seeking to hire foreign talents will benefit from working with a business consultant who can assist with the application process and ensure compliance with Malaysian immigration laws and regulations.

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