Malaysia Employment Pass

Malaysia Employment Pass: A Complete Guide to Obtaining a Malaysian Work Visa

Are you a foreign national planning to work in Malaysia? If so, you’ll need to obtain a Malaysia Employment Pass. This guide will provide you with all the essential information you need to secure your work visa in Malaysia.

What is Malaysia Employment Pass?

The Malaysia Employment Pass (EP) is a work permit that allows expatriates to work in Malaysia. There are three types of Employment Passes: Category I, Category II, and Category III. Each category has its own requirements regarding salary and duration of the work contract. To apply for an Employment Pass, the employer must first request approval to hire the foreign worker through the Expatriate Committee or another authorized agency. Once the approval is obtained, the employer must submit the Employment Pass application to the Immigration Department of Malaysia. The Employment Pass is specific to the employer and is not transferrable to another employer. Family members of Employment Pass holders can apply for a Dependent Pass or a Long-Term Social Visit Pass to accompany the foreign worker in Malaysia.

Types and Conditions of Malaysia Employment Passes

The Malaysia Employment Pass is categorised into three types, each tailored to specific positions and salary ranges:

Employment Pass Category 1

This category includes key executive positions in companies, such as CEOs, technical or managing directors, and project managers.


  • Minimum monthly salary of at least RM10,000.
  • Work contract of up to five years.
  • The Employment Pass can be renewed.
  • Eligibility to hire a Foreign Domestic Helper.

Employment Pass Category 2

Category 2 covers managerial and professional positions in companies, such as marketing or investment managers, lecturers, directors, and architects.


  • Salary ranging between RM5,000 and RM9,999.
  • Work contract of up to two years.
  • The Employment Pass can be renewed.
  • Eligibility to hire a Foreign Domestic Helper.

Employment Pass Category 3

Category 3 is for non-executive positions that require significant work experience and specific technical or practical skills, such as designers (fashion, manufacturing, furniture), craftsmen, and food technologists.


  • Monthly salary between RM3,000 and RM4,999.
  • Work contract of up to two years.
  • The Employment Pass cannot be renewed more than two times.
  • Not eligible to hire a Foreign Domestic Helper.

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Who is Eligible for a Malaysia Employment Pass?

To qualify for a Malaysia Employment Pass, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Academic Qualifications: You must possess the appropriate academic qualifications required for the job you are applying for.
  • Work Experience: You must have a minimum of three years of relevant work experience. In some cases, if your academic qualifications are not sufficient, you may need to have more years of relevant work experience.
  • Job Position: You must work in a managerial, executive, or technical position that demands specific skills.
  • Salary Requirements: You must meet the minimum salary requirements based on the Employment Pass category you are applying for.
  • Restricted Sectors: You must not take up work in a sector considered restricted by the Malaysian government.

How to Apply for a Malaysia Employment Pass?

As a foreign employee, you don’t need to apply for the Employment Pass yourself. Instead, your employer will submit the application on your behalf in Malaysia before your travel. The application process involves two main steps:

Applying for Expatriate Post

Your employer must request approval to hire you through the Expatriate Committee (EC) or another authorised approval agency, depending on your profession. The agencies include:

  • Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) for the manufacturing and services sectors.
  • Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) for the technology sector.
  • Central Bank of Malaysia (BNM) for finance, insurance, and banking sectors.
  • Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp – BC) for the biotechnology sector.
  • Securities Commission (SC) for the securities and futures market sector.
  • Expatriate Committee (EC) for other sectors not covered above.

Once the Expatriate Post application is approved, your employer can proceed to submit the Employment Pass Malaysia application at the Immigration Department of Malaysia.

Applying for the Employment Pass

Your employer will need to submit the Employment Pass application at the Employment Pass Division of the Immigration Department of Malaysia. They can do this either by mail or in person.

Supporting documents required for the Employment Pass application include:

  • Employment Pass application form.
  • Passport size picture of you, following Malaysia’s photo requirements.
  • A copy of your passport (valid for at least six months from the intended entry date).
  • Two copies of your passport if you are from the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
  • Letter of approval for the Expatriate Post from the relevant authority body.
  • Authorization from the company to submit the application.
  • Your Employment Contract or an Offer and Acceptance Letter.
  • Your CV and copies of diplomas and certificates.
  • A copy of your employer’s company profile from the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).
  • Proof of health insurance coverage.

The processing time for the Malaysia Employment Pass is typically three days.

Benefits of Having a Malaysia Employment Pass

Some of the benefits of having a Malaysia Employment Pass include:

– Allowing foreign nationals to live and work in Malaysia legally.
– Providing access to banking facilities and opening a bank account.
– Enabling the holder to bring their immediate family members to Malaysia via Dependent Passes or Long-Term Social Visit Passes.
– Offering the opportunity to apply for a Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) for highly qualified foreign nationals, providing greater mobility and flexibility when switching employers.
– Giving the holder the ability to engage in employment activities according to the terms specified in the employment pass.
– Granting the holder the freedom to switch employers, although the pass remains specific to the current employer until changed.
– Providing the option to apply for a journey performed visa instead of a reference visa, making it easier for some non-Malaysian citizens to enter Malaysia.
– Facilitating the process of acquiring a Dependant Pass for the holder’s spouse and children under 18 years old, and a Long-Term Social Visit Pass for older children and parents.
– Allowing the holder to apply for a Social Visit (Temporary Employment) Pass for a foreign maid.
– Offering the possibility to apply for a Professional Visit Pass for short-term stays in Malaysia for work purposes.

Difference Between a Professional Visit Pass and an Employment Pass?

The primary differences between a Professional Visit Pass (PVP) and an Employment Pass (EP) lie in their intended uses, duration, and restrictions. An Employment Pass is a work permit for expatriates who will work in Malaysia for a longer period, usually up to 60 months, and can be renewed. It allows the holder to live and work legally in Malaysia and provides access to banking facilities and the ability to bring family members to Malaysia. An Employment Pass is specific to the employer, so a change of employer might require a new application and possibly a waiting period before starting work with a new company.

On the other hand, a Professional Visit Pass is a short-term working pass that allows expatriates with the relevant qualifications and skills to provide their services in a Malaysian registered company on behalf of an overseas company. It is valid for up to 12 months and is non-renewable. Holders of a PVP are not entitled to apply for Dependent Passes for their families, and they must leave Malaysia immediately after the end of their assignment.

In summary, an Employment Pass is a longer-term work permit for expatriates who plan to work in Malaysia for an extended period, whereas a Professional Visit Pass is a shorter-term pass for specialists offering their expertise to a Malaysian company for a limited time.

Arriving in Malaysia: Malaysian Visa With Reference

If you’re a foreign national travelling to Malaysia for long-term purposes like work or study, you’ll need to apply for a Malaysian Visa With Reference (VDR). However, citizens of certain countries may be exempt from needing a VDR and can enter Malaysia with their Employment Pass approval letter alone.

Upon arrival in Malaysia, you must personally visit an Immigration Office to submit your Employment Pass fee payment and your passport. Immigration Officers will then affix an Employment Pass sticker on your passport, confirming your stay, and issue you an expatriate card.

Bringing Family Members to Malaysia with an Employment Pass

Malaysia Employment Pass holders (Category 1 and 2) can bring their dependents. However, Category 3 Employment Pass holders cannot.

Eligible family members include:

  • Spouse (Husband and Wife)
  • Children Under 21 Years of Age

Family members can come to Malaysia with either a Dependent’s Pass or a Long Stay Social Visit Pass.

Dependent’s Pass: Allows family members to join the Employment Pass holder but does not permit work unless they convert to an Employment Pass.

Long Stay Social Visit Pass: Enables family members to visit for up to five years.

Ensure you meet all requirements and have the necessary documentation before bringing your family to Malaysia.

Obtaining a Malaysia Employment Pass is straightforward if you meet eligibility criteria and follow application steps carefully. Determine the appropriate pass category based on your job and salary, and ensure you have all required documents.

Working in Malaysia offers a rewarding experience with diverse opportunities. Whether you’re an executive or a skilled professional, the Employment Pass opens doors to exciting prospects in this dynamic country. Start your journey today and embrace the enriching experience!

Remember, obtaining the Malaysia Employment Pass is just the beginning. Embrace the challenges and enjoy your journey in the Malaysian workforce!