With an economy that has been rapidly growing through the years, Malaysia has become a popular destination for foreign career starters. It makes an ideal environment with its thriving industries and low cost of living. Malaysia’s natural wonders and culinary expertise are wonderful bonuses as well!

If you want to work in Malaysia, there are certain immigration policies you need to know for getting a work visa in Malaysia. Applying for a work visa in Malaysia encompasses the whole process of obtaining authorization to work. You will need your employer to initiate the visa application process on your behalf.

Foreign nationals can enter Malaysia without a visa for short-stay and business trips only. For long-term work, however, you need a visa and a work permit. If you want to learn more about the application for a Malaysian work visa, this article outlines permit types and procedures to help you get started on your journey.

Steps to Apply for a Malaysian Work Visa

Applying for a Malaysian work visa starts with securing an EP or PVP first.

The Malaysian government recognizes the needs of companies for expatriates, so they have launched the Malaysia Expatriate Talent Service Centre (MYXpats Centre) under the Expatriate Service Division (ESD). It is an online service-driven system to facilitate immigration passes.

After the successful petition of your employer with ESD, you will be endorsed for a visa application.

Be guided by the following steps:

Step 1. Apply for an Employment Pass

Your employer will apply for an Employment Pass or Professional Visit Pass to the Expatriate Service Division online platform. They will fill in all required information, including that of your dependents if applicable. This process also includes uploading and submitting a copy of your requirements, especially proof of your qualifications for the position you’re applying for.

Once your application is submitted, the ESD will process it for at least five (5) working days.

Step 2. Obtain the Employment Pass

The ESD will notify your employer once your EP or PVP application is approved. They can now print the approval letter and forward it to you, as you will need it in the succeeding steps. There will be applicable fees, however, that must be settled by your employer.

Step 3. Apply for Visa with Reference

After completing the payment for your Malaysian work visa, you will be endorsed to a passport application. This can be done in any MYXpats or ESD Center, or if you are not in Malaysia yet, in the Malaysian Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence. Immigration officers call this as applying for a visa with reference.

Step 4. Submit Your Application to the Embassy

Submit relevant documents at your designated Malaysian embassy, including the Approval letter issued in the previous step and your original passport.

Certain visa fees will be advised to cover the administrative costs of your application. EP and PVP application costs RM 800.00 or around 193 USD. In case of unsuccessful applications, you can be refunded the amount of RM300.00 subject to the terms and conditions of the ESD.

Your endorsed passport will include a sticker of authorization and can be collected after three (3) working days in most cases.

Documents Needed for a Malaysian Work Visa

There are a few different types of Malaysian work visas depending on your profession and the duration of your work. The two common visa types issued to foreign nationals are the Employment Pass and the Professional Visit Pass, and each has its own criteria for eligibility.

Employment Pass (EP)

This pass is issued for foreign nationals to work in Malaysia for up to 60 months. It is issued per employment or company only. So if you change employers, you have to resubmit an application. The three categories of EP are:

  • Category I – minimum of RM10,000 monthly salary
  • Category II – between RM5000 – 9999 monthly salary
  • Category III (Skilled Worker) – between RM3000 to RM4999 monthly salary

Aside from these categories, there are also special passes for these occupations:

  • The Foreign Worker Temporary Employment Pass is only for nationals of approved countries aged 18 to 45. It is limited to work in these industries: Construction, Manufacturing, Services, Plantation, and Agriculture.
  • The Foreign Domestic Helper (FDH) Temporary Employment is only for female workers who will be employed by families with children or the elderly to care for.

Holders of an EP may apply for a Dependent Pass or Long-Term Social Visit Pass for their immediate family members (with certain conditions), as well as a Social Visit pass for a foreign maid.

Professional Visit Pass (PVP)

This pass is for foreign nationals who will work in Malaysia for a maximum of 12 months. You still need to have a formal agreement with a Malaysian organization. The PVP has the following categories:

  • Category I – Expertise Teacher
  • Category II – Research
  • Category III – Training and ESD-registered companies
  • Category IV – Trade Exhibitors
  • Category V – Volunteers
  • Category VI – Internships under registered organizations

These occupations under the PVP are exempted from paying visa fees: Invited Professor, Visiting Professor, Invited Lecturer, and Visiting Lecturer.

When you’ve met the eligibility requirements, you can now prepare documents to be submitted to the Malaysian authorities.

Work Visa Requirements:

  • Letter of approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs (provided by your employer)
  • Copy of Employment Contract with the job description, duly stamped by Malaysia Inland Revenue Board
  • Supporting document from relevant agency, if applicable
  • Application letter from sponsor, if applicable
  • Fully accomplished visa application form
  • Original receipts on the payment of your visa application
  • Copy of passport (full booklet with cover)
  • Recent passport photo
  • Medical report approved by the Ministry of Health
  • Proof of available accommodation in Malaysia
  • Proof of sufficient funds while in Malaysia (latest 3 months’ salary)
  • Documents showing professional qualifications, such as CV and education records
    • Degree and above, with 3 years of work experience in a relevant field
    • Diploma, with 5 years of work experience in a relevant field
    • Technical Certificate or equivalent, with 7 years of work experience in a relevant field

There may still be additional documents not on this list but are otherwise required in your application. Consult with the Malaysian embassy or consulate in your country of residence in case of region-specific requirements.


We hope that this article on How to Get a Work Visa in Malaysia was helpful. For more information, you can visit our Study in Malaysia page, our online guide that will impart you with tips and insights as you navigate your educational journey in the country. Plus, you can start exploring the countless opportunities waiting for you in Malaysia by checking out these open courses!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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