How to Apply for a Work Visa in Malaysia: Step-by-Step Process


Malaysia is a popular destination for expatriates seeking employment due to its robust economy, cultural diversity, and strategic location in Southeast Asia. To work legally in Malaysia, foreign nationals must obtain a work visa. This article provides a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to apply for a work visa in Malaysia, ensuring you understand the entire process from start to finish.

Types of Work Visas in Malaysia

Employment Pass (EP)

The Employment Pass is designed for foreign professionals working in managerial, executive, or technical roles. It is categorized based on salary and contract duration:

  • Category I: Minimum monthly salary of RM 10,000, valid for up to five years.
  • Category II: Monthly salary between RM 5,000 and RM 9,999, valid for up to two years.
  • Category III: 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 providing services or undergoing training in Malaysia for a period not exceeding 12 months.

Temporary Employment Pass (TEP)

The work permit in Malaysia is for unskilled or semi-skilled workers in sectors like agriculture, construction, and manufacturing, valid for up to two years with a possibility of renewal.

Step-by-Step Process to Apply for a Work Visa

Step 1: Secure a Job Offer

Before applying for a work visa, you must have a confirmed job offer from a Malaysian employer. The job offer should include a detailed employment contract outlining your position, salary, and job responsibilities.

Step 2: Employer’s Application for Approval

The employer must apply for approval from the Expatriate Committee or relevant authority, which varies 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 Visa Application

Once the employer receives approval, they will submit the work visa application to the Immigration Department of Malaysia. The required documents generally include:

  • Completed visa application form
  • Passport-sized photographs
  • Copy of the passport (valid for at least 18 months)
  • Copy of the employment contract
  • Proof of qualifications and professional experience
  • Medical examination report from a recognized clinic or hospital

Step 4: Wait for Processing

The processing time for a work visa application typically ranges from four to six weeks. It is essential to regularly 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 visa will be endorsed in your passport. You can then travel to Malaysia to begin your employment.

Detailed Requirements and Documentation

Passport and Personal Documents

Your passport should be valid for at least 18 months from the date of application. Ensure you have multiple passport-sized photographs as per the specifications required by the Malaysian immigration authorities.

Employment Contract

The employment contract should clearly state your job position, salary, duration of employment, and other relevant terms and conditions. It is crucial for the employer to provide a legally binding contract to avoid any issues during the application process.

Health and Medical Examination

A medical examination is mandatory for all work visa applicants. The examination must be conducted at a clinic or hospital recognized by the Malaysian authorities. The medical report should confirm that you are in good health and free from any contagious diseases.

Proof of Qualifications

Submit certified copies of your educational qualifications, professional certifications, and relevant work experience. These documents should be attested and, if necessary, translated into English.

Renewal and Extension of Work Visas

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.

Important Considerations and Compliance

Income Tax

Foreign workers in Malaysia are subject to income tax. The tax rate depends on the duration of stay and the annual income. Register with the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia and comply with the tax regulations to avoid penalties.

Legal Compliance

Both employers and employees must adhere to Malaysian immigration laws. Working without a valid visa or overstaying the permitted duration can lead to fines, deportation, and blacklisting.

Employment Contract Clauses

Ensure your employment contract includes clauses that protect your rights, such as provisions for termination, dispute resolution, and benefits. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about any terms in your contract.


Applying for a work visa in Malaysia involves several steps and requires thorough preparation. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide, you can navigate the application smoothly and ensure compliance with all legal requirements. Stay informed about the latest immigration policies and work closely with your employer to facilitate a successful work visa application. With the right preparation, you can enjoy a fulfilling professional experience in Malaysia.

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