Malaysia is becoming a hotspot for people from around the world looking for job opportunities and investments, thanks to its growing economy and diverse culture. The job market in Malaysia is expanding, with lots of chances for foreigners and international professionals. To make the most of these opportunities, it’s important to know about the different types of working permit in Malaysia that is available for foreign workers. This will help you navigate the job scene in Malaysia more effectively.

1. Expatriate Services Division (ESD)

The Expatriate Services Division (ESD), under the Immigration Department of Malaysia, is a one-stop centre that facilitates company registration with a customer-centric approach. The ESD enables companies to submit expatriate-related immigration information online to streamline the application process for registering and approving companies that wish to hire expatriates. All companies must register with the ESD as the first step.

Companies approved by the Expatriate Services Division (ESD) can use the Malaysia Expatriate Talent Service Centre (MYXpats Centre) to apply for various expatriate passes. These include the Employment Pass, Professional Visit Pass, Residence Pass-Talent, and other related passes like the Dependant Pass, Long-Term Social Visit Pass, or Visit Pass (Temporary Employment) for foreign maids.

  1. Company must be registered with:
  • The Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM); or
  • The Registry of Societies Malaysia; or
  • Associations and/or Cooperatives registered under the laws of Malaysia.

2. Company Paid-up capital* 

EquityPaid-Up Capital
100% Local OwnedRM250,000
Joint Venture (A minimum of 30% foreign equity is required)RM350,000
100% Foreign OwnedRM500,000
Companies with foreign ownership are obligated to obtain a Wholesale, Retail, and Trade (WRT) License. Consult the guidelines for Wholesale, Retail, and Trade (WRT) license application provided by the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism. RM1,000,000
*This does not apply to companies and organizations that are incorporated and limited under the laws of Malaysia.

2. Employment Pass (EP)

The Employment Pass (EP) serves as a cornerstone for foreign professionals seeking employment in Malaysia, tailored for individuals with specific skills, especially in technical or managerial positions. The application process entails a meticulous submission of documents, encompassing academic qualifications, employment contracts, and personal identifications. Employers play a pivotal role in this process, necessitating a collaborative approach to ensure compliance and accuracy.

There are distinct types of Employment Passes, categorized based on salary thresholds and contract durations. These include the EP Category I, II, and III, each tailored to different tiers of professionals.

Overview of Employment Pass Categories:

EP Category Salary Contract Dependents 
 Category I  
 RM10,000  Up to 5 years  Allowed 
 Category II 
 RM5,000 – RM9,999  Up to 2 years  Allowed 
 Category III 
 RM3,000 – RM4,999  1 year  (Maximum 2x renewal)   Not Allowed 

3. Professional Visit Pass (PVP)

A Professional Visit Pass / Training Pass is another working permit in Malaysia that is granted to foreign technical experts, foreign interns, trainees, and foreign talents with professional qualifications and skills. They are permitted to enter the country temporarily to either offer services or engage in practical training with a Malaysian company on behalf of an overseas company.

The requirements of PVP are as follows:

  • Malaysia based company must be registered with the Expatriate Services Division (ESD).
  • PVP’s allow for short-term Assignments or Internships for on-the-job learning or to provide temporary technical support to customers in Malaysia.
  • A PVP is valid for 6 to 12 months.
  • A PVP holder cannot bring a dependent along.
  • A PVP holder must be officially employed and paid by an overseas company.

4. Resident Pass-Talent (RP-T)

The Resident Pass-Talent (RP-T) is a relatively new addition of working permit in Malaysia, designed to attract and retain top-tier global talent. It offers a longer duration of stay and greater flexibility compared to other passes. The RP-T’s unique features include a longer validity period and the possibility of including dependents, making it an attractive option for those seeking long-term career opportunities in Malaysia.

The RP-T is exclusively granted to skilled foreign expatriates currently residing and employed in Malaysia, provided they meet the following criteria:

  • Applicant needs to live and work in Malaysia for at least 3 years.
  • Possesses a valid Employment Pass at the time of application.
  • Possesses a PHD, Masters, Degree, or Diploma in any discipline from a known university or a professional or competency certificate from a known professional institute.
  • Has a minimum of 5 years of overall work experience.
  • Minimum salary of RM15,000 per month.
  • Has an income tax file number in Malaysia while having paid income tax for a minimum of 2 years.

5. Long-Term Social Visit Pass

The Long-Term Social Visit pass may be issued to a foreigner for a temporary stay in Malaysia for not less than 6 months and a maximum of 5 years. The duration of stay can be extended if certain conditions are met, and eligibility criteria are fulfilled.

Foreign husbands/wives to Malaysians can be given the Social Visit Pass for 5 years on condition that they comply with all the requirements.

The requirements for a Long-Term Social Visit Pass are as follows:

  • The spouse of a Malaysian citizen who is a foreign national.
  • Family members falling into the specified categories of Employment Pass holders include
    • Common-law spouse 
    • Children over 18 (unmarried)
    • Parents or parents-in-law 
    • Foreign nationals going for medical treatment in Malaysia with 1 companion 

How We Help with Visa Services

In summary, Malaysia offers a spectrum of working permit in Malaysia, each catering to different professional needs and circumstances. From the Employment Pass to the Resident Pass-Talent, these permits collectively facilitate the entry and integration of foreign talent into Malaysia’s diverse job market. Choosing the right permit hinges on understanding each category’s nuances and aligning them with one’s professional aspirations and qualifications. As Malaysia continues to grow as a global business hub, its work permit system remains a critical gateway for professionals seeking to contribute to and benefit from its dynamic economy.