Malaysia: Government Unveils New Work Permit Process

Malaysia: Government Unveils New Work Permit Processnew work permit process is in effect for information and communication technology (ICT) companies that are not part of Malaysia’s initiative for technology development, the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC). The change comes as the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) – the authority that oversees the MSC – takes over the adjudication of all Employment Pass applications for the industry, including those from non-MSC companies. Previously, the Malaysian Immigration Department (MID) processed non-MSC applications.

Non-MSC companies must complete a one-time registration before they can file applications with MDeC. To register, the company must submit the prescribed form to MDeC. MDeC then provides the company with a Facilitation Package, which includes a Service Agreement that must be signed by a director of the company. The Facilitation Package must be returned to MDeC to complete the registration process.

Once registered, non-MSC companies can complete Stage One of the work permit process, the application for MDeC’s approval of the position. This stage takes approximately five to nine working days. After Stage One approval is obtained, the application goes to MID for Stage Two of the application, the work permit approval. This takes three to five working days. MDeC is expected to take over Stage Two processing for non-MSC applications in the near future.

Employment Pass procedures for MSC companies are unchanged. MDeC will continue to process both Stage One and Stage Two of these applications. The processing times are three to seven working days for Stage One and ten to fourteen working days for Stage Two.

The application process for Professional Visit Passes, which authorize foreign nationals to perform short-term technical activities, is also unchanged. These applications will continue to be processed by MID regardless of whether the sponsor has MSC status.

Fragomen is monitoring the new MDeC process, and will issue updates once available.

New Identification Card for Expatriates

On September 19, 2011, Malaysia introduced i-Pass, a new foreign national identification card that replaces the now-discontinued i-Card. The i-Pass may be used as a travel document within peninsular Malaysia in lieu of a passport. However, i-Pass holders traveling to East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) must carry a passport to clear immigration.

The i-Pass is being introduced in stages. Currently, only the MID headquarters office in Putrajaya can issue i-Passes. It is issuing them only to foreign nationals designated as expatriates, at the time they receive a new or renewed Employment Pass or a Visit Pass (Temporary Employment) (VPTE) approved for more than six months. An expatriate is a foreign national who holds a high-level managerial post in a foreign-owned private company or firm, an intermediate-level managerial or professional post, a technical post, or a job requiring specific technical or practical skills and experience.

In the next few months, the MID is expected to start issuing i-Passes nationwide to all Employment Pass and qualifying VPTE holders, as well as their dependents. Holders of Professional Visit Passes or VPTEs valid for six months or less and their dependents will not receive i-Passes.

To prepare this alert, Fragomen worked closely with the law firm of Shearn Delamore & Co. in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The content of this alert is provided for informational purposes only.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Global Immigration Services or send an email to

Source: Fragomen