A guide to the Malaysia Employment Pass work permit scheme

September 16, 2019

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As one of the most developed countries in the world, Malaysia is seen as one of Asia’s top business hubs.

As home to the 14th biggest natural gas reserve and 23rd largest oil reserves in the world, Malaysia’s oil and gas industry is highly competitive, with rapidly improving skills and technology. The country also boasts advanced infrastructures, so it’s no surprise that organisations are keen to expand their business operations to this part of the world.

But in order to work in Malaysia, expat workers need an Employment Pass. We’ve put together a helpful guide to explain what the pass is, how to apply for one and everything your company needs to provide for a successful application.

Employment Pass


What is an Employment Pass?

An Employment Pass (EP) is a work permit, or visa, that allows expatriates to get a job in their desired position in Malaysia. The EP provides workers with an employment contract that lasts for up to 60 months and allows them to live and work legally in the country.

There are two main types of EP permit:

1. Employment Pass (Categories I)

These passes allow the holder to be employed in West Malaysia, provided the hiring company has successfully registered with Immigration department. The passes can be considered for renewal, depending on the necessary requirements.

The pass holder will also be able to bring their spouse and children with them using a Dependent Pass; their parents, parents-in-law and unmarried children over the age of 18 will also be permitted, using a Social Visit Pass (Long Term).

To be eligible for these types of EP, applicants must earn a basic minimum salary of RM 10,000 (USD2,500) per month and have an employment contract that is valid for a minimum of 12 months.

2. Employment Pass (Categories II)

These passes allow the holder to be employed in West Malaysia, provided the hiring company has successfully registered with the Immigration department. The passes can be considered for renewal, depending on the necessary requirements.

The pass holder will also be able to bring their spouse and children with them using a Dependent Pass; their parents, parents-in-law and unmarried children over the age of 18 will also be permitted, using a Social Visit Pass (Long Term).

To be eligible for these types of EP, applicants must earn a basic minimum salary of RM 5,000 and up to RM 9,999 per month and have an employment contract that is valid for a minimum of 12 months.


What is the process?

The Expatriate Committee (EC) or relevant Malaysian authorities, must give approval for an expat to fill a position before the issuance of an Employment Pass can be made by the immigration department

In order for the Hiring Company to make an application, expats will need to provide the following:

  • The latest version of their Resume
  • A copy of their passport (this needs to include all pages)
  • A recent passport photo with a blue background
  • A copy of their employment contract (signed and duty stamped by the Inland Revenue Board) and job description
  • Copies of their highest educational certificates (translated into English) and a Certified True Copy (CTC) by the Embassy/High Commission/Consulate General in Malaysia, or the HR head of the hiring company
  • The supporting document from the approving agency or regulatory body (if applicable)
  • Any other documents specified during the application process

    Malaysia Employment Pass Graphics

Once all the documents have been received, the Hiring Company will lodge the application and the review process will begin.

How long does it take to process an EP application?

EP permits are typically processed within 5 working days, once all the relevant documents have been received. Once approved, the EP will be issued to the Hiring Company and you are now eligible to travel to Malaysia and commence employment.

Once you are in Malaysia your new employer has seven days to submit your passport to the Immigration department for them to stamp your passport with the EP details. Once stamped, you can remain and work in Malaysia up until the EP expiry date, unless its terminated earlier.   

Working alongside a global mobility company like Airswift, simplifies the process of applying for an EP in Malaysia. To find out more, head to our global mobility page, or contact Airswift on +6 03 2161 1790

Find out more about Airswift's experience and business services in Malaysia

Get insights into the current state of recruitment within the energy industry by downloading the Global Energy Talent Index: 

Visit the GETI site to download the report

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This post was written by: Nic Taylor, Malaysia Country Manager