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Employment Passes in Malaysia


If you're contemplating of working in Malaysia, you can give it a go via the expatriate programme. In Malaysia, an expatriate is classed as a foreigner qualified to fill the following type of posts:

• a top managerial position in a foreign owned company based in Malaysia;
• a professional or mid-level managerial post;
• a highly skilled non-executive post.

An expatriate must hold a job offer in the country from a sponsoring company. Automatic approval is given to people who meet the above criteria and are paid above a certain amount each month. The job offer must be for employment that lasts for a minimum of two years and meets the scheme's minimum salary requirement. There is no age limit on applications to enter Malaysia as an expatriate. Applicants must hold a passport which is valid for at least 18 months.

The Expatriate Committee (EC) or the relevant authorities must first give approval for a foreign worker to fill the position.

An Employment Pass is also subject to a minimum contract period, usually two years, and a minimum monthly salary. Fees apply, which are charged on a yearly basis. There is also a processing fee, which is paid at the time of application.

Applicants should also apply for a Dependent Pass for any eligible family members they wish to live with them in Malaysia. Dependent passes are granted to the following family members of the holder of an employment pass: husband or wife, children under the age of 21, disabled children and adopted children.


An i-Pass is currently being implemented and replaces the i-Card for expatriates. It is an identification document issued to foreigners working in Malaysia on an Employment Pass.

The i-Pass is obtained from the local Immigration Office, where applicants have their photograph and thumb prints taken. Holders of an i-Pass do not need to carry their passport when travelling within Malaysia.

Visitor's Pass

Foreign workers in the following approved sectors can get a Visitor's Pass:

• manufacturing;
• plantation;
• agriculture;
• construction;
• services.

The Local Centre of Approval, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is responsible for approving quotas. There are some exceptions. For example, cooks from Thailand do not require such approval.

Several criteria apply for applicants under this scheme:

• must be between 18 and 45 years old;
• may not bring their family to Malaysia;
• may not change jobs without permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs;
• may not work in Malaysia for longer than five years;
• may not marry a local resident or migrant worker who works in Malaysia.

All details and dates on the pass must be adhered to, and the pass can be taken away if any conditions are not met.

Foreign domestic helpers from Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam may work in Malaysia, although conditions do apply.

Visitor's Pass (Professional)

The Professional Visitor's Pass is issued to foreigners with specialist skills who plan to work in Malaysia for up to 12 months. An application must be made outside Malaysia. Applicants include:

• advisers to the government;
• auditors;
• consultants;
• jockeys;
• machine maintenance or installation professionals;
• professors/lecturers/speakers;
• researchers/assistant researchers;
• technical advisers;
• other experts approved by the Director General of Immigration.

Malaysia Automated Clearance System (MACS)

MACS is for Singaporean citizens and permanent residents who travel frequently to work, study or stay in Malaysia. It is essentially a fast-track immigration scheme to support the economic development of the Iskandar Region in Johor and to assist investors.





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