Essential Employment Paperwork in Malaysia



Foreign nationals who wish to work in Malaysia are all required to secure a work permit. Bear in mind that obtaining this permit can be a quite lengthy process and it is not a good option to seek employment without one since this country strictly implements laws against illegal workers. 

As with most countries abroad, a Malaysian employer will only be allowed to hire a foreign national after proving to the government that no equally qualified local can fill the vacancy. In this country, the approval to hire an expat comes from various agencies that are connected with the Immigration Department. Employers who receive a go signal from one of the government agencies assigned to their industry can start the work permit application on behalf of their expat employees. 

Types of Work Permit 

As mentioned above, the application for a work permit can only be made in Malaysia with the help of the employer and the forms should be in Bahasa Malaysia. This type of permit is usually valid from six months up to five years and is classified into three categories: 

Employment Pass 

This type of permit is issued to foreign nationals who have skills in managerial or technical position. The employment pass is normally valid for two years and will only be granted at the discretion of the Malaysian Expatriate Committee or relevant agency. 

Temporary Employment Pass 

The Temporary Employment Pass is given to semi or unskilled expats who wish to work in Malaysia. It is issued for those whose proposed monthly salary is less than USD 1,120 or RM 5000. This type of permit is usually valid for three years and can be extended annually. Keep in mind that the temporary employment pass is only issued if there is an approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Professional Visit Pass 

The Professional Visit Pass is issued to expats who remain employed by company in their home country and will only go to Malaysia because their services are required by a Malaysian employer. This permit is given to volunteers, trainees or technical experts and is usually valid from six months up to one year.

"Local immigration eased their policies somewhat in recent years, and I now have a 4-year working visa with the option to apply for Permanent Residence upon its expiration.”- Duncan Horne, Expat in Kuantan, Malaysia

Requirements for the Work Permit 

A valid passport with at least 18 months of validity is one of the most essential requirements when applying for a work permit. There is also an age requirement whereas the expat must be 27 years to and above to qualify or at least 23 years old if he will work in the IT sector. Other relevant documents needed are: 

  • Employment Contract (signed by the employer and the employee)
  • Letter of appointment from the employer
  • Letter of Approval issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Copies of the employee’s passport
  • Employee’s CV and certificates supporting his qualifications
  • Medical Report issued from the employee’s home country (approved by the Malaysian Ministry of Health)