Malaysian Work Visas: An Overview

Mon, Oct 30, 2023

0 min read

Are you considering Malaysia as your next long-term destination? Wondering what kind of visas are available to expats who want to work here? Let us give you an overview and break it down for you.



Visa Issuers


A work visa is commonly known as an Employment Pass (EP) and are issued by the Malaysia Expatriate Talent Service Centre (MYXpats Centre). Some may come under the purview of different authorities depending on the sector or region of work such as:

  • Manufacturing (Malaysian Investment Development Authority)
  • Malaysia Digital (MD; previously known as MSC) status & ICT (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation)
  • Banking, Finance & Insurance (Bank Negara Malaysia)
  • Capital market (Securities Commission of Malaysia)
  • Government Contractual Posts (Public Services Department)
  • Expat jobs in the ECERDC Region (East Coast Economic Region Development Council)
  • Expat jobs in the IRDA Region (Iskandar Regional Development Authority)



List of Work Visas


Here’s a list of common work visas available:

  • Employment Pass (Category I, II, and III):
    • Employment Pass Category I (EP I): Valid for up to 5 years, this pass is for highly-skilled expatriates and is typically issued to those with specialized skills and qualifications.
    • Employment Pass Category II (EP II): Valid for up to 2 years, this EP is for expatriates who are skilled and qualified, but not as skilled as EP I applicants.
    • Employment Pass Category III (EP III): For unskilled or semi-skilled workers. EP III is valid for a shorter duration, and the renewal process may be more frequent.
  • Professional Visit Pass (PVP):
    • PVPs are suitable for foreign professionals who are temporarily in Malaysia for a short-term assignment or project. It is typically valid for up to 12 months and can be extended.
  • Intra-Company Transfer (ICT):
    • ICTs allows employees of multinational companies to be transferred to a Malaysian branch or subsidiary for a specific period.
  • Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T)
    • RP-Ts are a 10-year renewable visa for highly skilled expatriates which aren’t tied to a company. This visa is only eligible for expats who have been employed in Malaysia for a minimum of 3 years. This is the only visa where expats are required to apply for it on their own.



Non-work but related visas:


  • Dependent Pass (DP):
    • DPs are for immediate family members (spouse and children) of EP holders. It allows them to stay in Malaysia during the EP’s employment period. DP holders are not able to be employed until they get their DP converted into an EP.
  • Long-Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP):
    • LTSVPs are for foreign nationals who wish to stay in Malaysia for extended periods for reasons other than employment, such as spouses of Malaysian citizens. LTSVP holders may work in Malaysia without an EP.
  • Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H):
    • The MM2H program is for retired expatriates who want to live in Malaysia on a long-term basis. It offers multiple visa options, including social visit visas and ten-year multiple-entry visas.
  • Student Pass:
    • This pass is for international students who come to Malaysia for educational purposes. A Student Pass holder is not eligible be employed in Malaysia but may pursue internships or industrial training programmes as part of their course of study.



How To Apply for A Work Visa


There is currently no way for an expat to apply for a work visa on their own (unless applying for RP-T). They will need to receive a letter of employment from a Malaysian company, and the company will need to apply on their behalf.

Remember, all work visa-related charges should be processed and costs borne by the company. If the company asks you to pay for the application process, it may be a job scam.

Curious to know what opportunities are available in Malaysia? Browse job openings here.

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