How to Secure a Work Permit in Malaysia: Essential Tips


Malaysia is a thriving economic hub in Southeast Asia, attracting numerous expatriates seeking employment opportunities. Securing a work permit is an essential step for any foreign national aiming to work legally in Malaysia. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to secure a work permit in Malaysia, covering the types of permits available, the application process, and essential tips for a successful application.

Understanding Work Permits in Malaysia

Types of Work Permits

Employment Pass (EP)

The Employment Pass is the most common work permit for foreign professionals. It is categorized into three types based on the salary and duration of the employment contract:

  • Category I: For positions with a minimum monthly salary of RM 10,000, valid for up to five years.
  • Category II: For positions with a monthly salary between RM 5,000 and RM 9,999, valid for up to two years.
  • Category III: For positions with a monthly salary between RM 3,000 and RM 4,999, valid for up to one year (renewable up to two times).

Professional Visit Pass (PVP)

The Professional Visit Pass is for foreign professionals visiting Malaysia to provide services or undergo training for up to 12 months. This pass is suitable for consultants, technical advisors, and trainers.

Temporary Employment Pass (TEP)

The WRT license Employment Pass is for unskilled or semi-skilled workers in sectors such as agriculture, construction, and manufacturing. It is valid for up to two years and can be renewed. Employers must adhere to a strict quota system.

Eligibility Criteria

General Requirements

To be eligible for a work permit in Malaysia, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Valid Passport: The passport must be valid for at least 18 months from the date of application.
  • Job Offer: A confirmed job offer from a Malaysian employer.
  • Minimum Salary: Meeting the minimum salary threshold relevant to the work permit category.
  • Health Requirements: Passing a medical examination from a recognized clinic or hospital.

Specific Requirements for Employment Pass

  • Qualifications: Relevant educational qualifications and professional experience.
  • Job Position: The position should be managerial, executive, or technical in nature.
  • Company Registration: The employing company must be registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).

Application Process

Step 1: Secure a Job Offer

The first step in securing a work permit is obtaining a confirmed job offer from a Malaysian employer. The employment contract should clearly state your position, salary, and other terms and conditions.

Step 2: Employer’s Application for Approval

The employer must apply for approval from the Expatriate Committee or relevant authority, depending on the industry. This step involves submitting documents such as:

  • Company profile
  • Detailed job description
  • Justification for hiring a foreign worker

Step 3: Submit Work Permit Application

Once the employer receives approval, they will submit the work permit application to the Immigration Department of Malaysia. Required documents typically include:

  • Completed application form
  • Passport-sized photographs
  • Copy of the passport
  • Copy of the employment contract
  • Proof of qualifications and experience
  • Medical examination report

Step 4: Wait for Processing

The processing time for work permit applications can vary, generally taking four to six weeks. It is essential to follow up with your employer or the immigration department to ensure your application is progressing.

Step 5: Approval and Visa Issuance

Upon approval, the work permit will be endorsed in your passport. You can then travel to Malaysia and begin your employment.

Essential Tips for a Successful Application

Prepare Thoroughly

Ensure all required documents are prepared and verified before submission. This includes your passport, employment contract, qualifications, and medical report. Incomplete or inaccurate documentation can delay the application process.

Follow Up Regularly

Keep in regular contact with your employer and the immigration department to track the progress of your application. Promptly address any additional information or documentation requests.

Understand Your Rights and Obligations

Familiarize yourself with your rights and obligations under Malaysian employment and immigration laws. This includes understanding your employment contract, tax responsibilities, and compliance requirements.

Seek Professional Assistance

If you encounter any difficulties or uncertainties during the application process, consider seeking assistance from a legal or immigration expert. Professional guidance can help ensure that your application is accurate and complete.

Maintain Health and Medical Records

A medical examination is mandatory for all work permit applicants. Ensure that you undergo the examination at a recognized clinic or hospital and keep all medical records and reports ready for submission.

Be Mindful of Deadlines

Work permit applications and renewals must be submitted within specified deadlines. Missing these deadlines can result in application rejections or delays. Mark important dates and set reminders to ensure timely submissions.

Renewal and Extension of Work Permits

Employment Pass Renewal

Employment Pass holders must apply for renewal at least three months before the expiration date. The renewal process involves:

  • Submitting a renewal application form
  • Providing a copy of the current passport
  • A new or extended employment contract
  • An updated medical report

Temporary Employment Pass Renewal

Temporary Employment Passes can be renewed up to two times, subject to approval. The employer must submit the renewal application along with documents such as the passport, employment contract, and proof of adherence to the quota system.

Bringing Dependents to Malaysia

Dependent Pass

Employment Pass holders can apply for Dependent Passes for their immediate family members, including spouses, children under 18, and parents. Required documents for the Dependent Pass include:

  • Passport-sized photographs of dependents
  • Copies of the dependents’ passports
  • Proof of relationship (e.g., marriage and birth certificates)
  • Medical examination reports (if applicable)

Social Visit Pass

Dependents who wish to stay in Malaysia for a short period can apply for a Social Visit Pass, which is usually valid for up to six months and can be extended.


Securing a work permit in Malaysia involves several steps and requires thorough preparation. By following the guidelines outlined in this comprehensive guide and paying attention to essential tips, you can navigate the application process smoothly and ensure compliance with Malaysian immigration laws. Always stay informed about the latest regulations and seek assistance from your employer or legal experts if needed. With the right preparation, you can enjoy a rewarding professional experience in Malaysia.