How to Apply for a Work Visa in Malaysia

Malaysia is one of those countries in Asia that are close to the Filipinos’ hearts – for historical, practical, and geographical reasons.

In the past, many Filipinos, especially those coming from Mindanao migrate to the Malaysian state of Sabah to escape the war in the region, find work, and start a better life.

To this day, Malaysia still is one of the top destinations in Asia where many Filipinos go for work. If you’re interested in coming over here in Malaysia, you first need to know the basic requirements for applying for a work permit.

How to Apply for a Work Visa in Malaysia

Guide to Applying for a Work Permit in Malaysia

Like in many countries, a work permit is essential before you can start working here in Malaysia. However, there are several ways for you to obtain a work permit:

1. Application from your Company or Employer

The first approach is the more convenient one for the migrant worker or foreign employee entering Malaysia to work. The company or the employer will file the application for their foreign employee’s work permit to allow them to travel to Malaysia for work.

2. Entering using a Social Pass then Applying for a Work Permit

Otherwise, those who are looking for work may travel to Malaysia first on social passes and then, later on, apply for a work permit afterward.

ImportantMalaysia imposes stringent laws for illegal workers, so it is highly recommended not to start working before the working permit is issued.

Also, if you’re coming with your family for work, your dependents will also have to apply for their own working permits if they wish to work in Malaysia.

Requirements to Apply for a Work Permit in Malaysia

To start your application for a work permit, you need to prepare the following documents:

  • Copy of applicant’s passport;
  • One passport photo;
  • A letter of a work permit application from your employer;
  • Visa application;
  • Letter of approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs;
  • Original receipt of fees paid;
  • Visa with the Reference application form;
  • Medical report from the country of origin approved by the Ministry of Health Malaysia.

When preparing your documents, make sure that your passport has a remaining validity of at least 18 months; you must be at least 27 years of age (except for those applying to work in the IT sector, where the required minimum age is 23). Malaysian work permits are typically issued for periods between 6 months and 5 years.

Employers who wish to process the application for visa and work permit can be viewed on the official website of the Malaysian Immigration Department.

Types of Work Passes you can Apply for

The type of work pass you get is mainly based on the type of job and skills you possess when you come here to Malaysia.

  • Employment Pass: This pass is issued to employees with specific skills, usually for technical or managerial jobs. The minimum period is usually 2 years. The Employment Pass is classified into three categories:
    • Category I – The applicant must receive a monthly base salary of above MYR 5,000 and have an employment contract with a minimum validity period of 24 months. Applicants may bring eligible dependent(s) and/or foreign domestic helper(s), subject to approval and the employment pass may be renewed.
    • Category II – The applicant must receive a monthly base salary of above MYR 5,000 and have an employment contract with a maximum validity period of 23 months. The employment pass may be renewed.
    • Category III – As of July 2015, Malaysia has introduced this employment category which is available to foreign nationals working on contracts of 12 months or less and with monthly salaries ranging from MYR 2,500 to 4,999. This type of employment pass may be renewed up to two times. Under this category, applicants are not allowed to bring dependent(s) and/or foreign domestic helper(s).

Important Notes:

– It is mandatory for successful applicants to obtain a Visa with Reference prior to entry into Malaysia;

– Employers who wish to employ expatriates under employment pass (Category III) are required to obtain an exemption from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) prior to submission of the employment pass (Category III) application. MOHA approval is granted on an annual basis.

  • Temporary Employment Pass: Issued for employment for less than 2 years or for jobs with a monthly salary less than RM 5000.
  • Professional Visit Pass: Issued to foreign nationals who remain employed by the company in the home country but are required by a Malaysian company to provide certain services for a period of up to 6 months.

What is the Process for Applying for a Malaysian Work Visas?

As mentioned earlier, your employer has to apply for a Malaysia work permit on your behalf. They must submit an application with the Immigration Department of Malaysia. Once the Immigration Department approves the application, you may travel to Malaysia or apply for a visa with reference if you are a visa-required national.

Here is the application process for a foreign employee’s work permit:

1. Applying for Expatriate Post or Quota Approval

The employer has to apply for an Expatriate Post from the Expatriate Committee (EC) or another relevant authority agency before they apply for your Employment Pass.

There are several agencies appointed by the Malaysian government for the approval of Expatriate Posts:

  • 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.

If your employer will hire you using a Temporary Employment Pass, he/she has to apply for quota approval at the Local Centre of Approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

2. Getting the Approval for a Malaysian Work Permit

Once your application for a work permit has been submitted by your employer to the Immigration Department of Malaysia, and once it is approved, you will receive a visa approval letter, which allows you to travel to Malaysia.

3. Applying for a Malaysian work visa (Visa with reference)

Visa-required nationals need to apply for a Malaysia Visa with Reference from a Malaysian Embassy or Consulate to be allowed entry to the country.

A Malaysian Visa With Reference means that the applicant had to get the visa approved by the Malaysia Immigration Department before they could apply at an Embassy/Consulate.

On the other hand, Visas Without Reference are tourist visas, which are issued by the Embassy/Consulate without needing approval from the Immigration Department.

4. Collecting your Work Permit

Once you arrive here in Malaysia, you need to submit your passport and pay for the Pass at the Malaysian Immigration Department. They will process your application and issue you with a sticker on your passport and a work permit card. Only then will be allowed to legally work in the country.

Although foreign workers can try either of the two ways to get a work permit here in Malaysia, it is best to find an employer first and have them process your documents so you won’t encounter any complications when you get here.

In recent years, Malaysia has become very strict when it comes to dealing with illegal foreign workers staying in the country. So, keep in mind that when looking for a job (which you can now do online), it is best to look for an employer first who will help you get a visa to work in Malaysia.

Are you planning to work in Malaysia in the future? What do you think will be your challenges when applying for a work pass? Are there any tips that you would like to share to help our kababayan find an employer easily and get a work pass as soon as possible? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below!

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