How to Get a Work Visa in Malaysia


In order to work in Malaysia, a foreign national needs to obtain a work visa. The employee’s prospective employer is the one who needs to apply. The government requires employers to submit the pertinent documentation in order to justify the need to hire a foreign national rather than a local. If an individual is seeking to apply for work in Malaysia, he or she needs to provide the appropriate documentation to the employer for submission to immigration. The approval process is long and arduous. If a prospective employee has not yet obtained a work permit prior to entering the country, he or she (and a spouse or children) can still enter by obtaining a social visa. The work permit can be obtained afterward. If a permit holder has dependents of working age, the children need to obtain their own work permit. This article will discuss the steps for obtaining a work visa in Malaysia.

Requirements for Obtaining a Work Permit

Government regulations require that individuals seeking a work visa have a current passport which is valid for a term of 18 more months. Prospective employees are required to be 27 years old or older. However, with regard to employment in the IT field, the minimum age requirement is 23 years old. The term for the issue of the work visa is a time period of 6 months to 5 years. Employers can view the various requirements for working permits as well as the required documents at the official website of the Malaysian Immigration Department.

The work visa program is called the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) and the following are the conditions that must be met in order to obtain such a permit.

  • If an applicant is under the age of 50, he or she needs to provide financial statements regarding assets worth at least a minimum of RM 500,000; as well as offshore income of RM 10,000 per month.
  • If an applicant is over the age of 50, he or she needs to provide financial statements that show proof of liquid assets worth RM 350,000. This applicant needs to provide proof of offshore income valued at RM 10,000 per month.
  • If an applicant has purchased property which is worth a minimum of RM 1 million, he or she may be eligible for a lower, fixed deposit.

Receiving Conditional Approval

If an applicant has successfully met all of the requirements for the visa, he or she will receive a “conditional approval letter” from the Malaysian Immigration Department. However, once the conditional letter is received, the process continues.

Applicants, who are under the age of 50, need to meet the following requirements in order to proceed in the application process.

  • A fixed deposit account needs to be opened in the amount of RM 300,000.
  • The prospective employee is permitted to withdraw up to RM 150,000 after a period of one year. These funds are for approved expenses which are related to purchasing a residence, health care and also for education of dependent children.
  • During the second year and following, the approved applicant is required to maintain a minimum balance of RM 150,000. This is a requirement in order to continue to stay in the MM2H Program.
  • For those applicants who have been approved and have also purchased property worth RM 1 million or more, they are subject to the following. A fixed deposit of RM 150,000 is required on the condition that the property is legally paid for and owned by the applicant.

Applicants, over the age of 50, must meet one of the following requirements in order to proceed in the application process.

  • A fixed deposit account of RM 150,000 must be opened by the applicant.
  • Proof of pension funds approved by the government and valued at RM 10,000 per month must be provided.  

Further Financial Requirements for Approval

The following are several financial requirements for approved applicants. At the end of a one year period, approved visa holders can withdraw up to RM 50,000. This is permitted provided these applicants have fulfilled the fixed deposit requirement. The approved expenses are for purchasing a residence, health care or educating dependent children.

From the second year and afterwards, approved applicants must maintain a minimum balance of RM 100,000. This condition is valid from the second year and throughout the remainder of the applicant’s time in the MM2H program.

If an approved applicant has purchased property valued at RM 1 million or more, then he or she is eligible for a fixed deposit requirement of RM 100,000. The term condition is that the individual’s property is legally owned, has been paid in full and that all of the necessary ownership documents have been issued.

Other Work Visa Requirements

Aside from the age and financial requirements, applicants also need to submit a medical report of their current health conditions. The medical examination needs to be completed at a private hospital or a registered clinic in Malaysia. In addition, applicants and their dependents are required to have valid medical insurance coverage. The coverage must be valid in Malaysia. However, the government allows for exceptions. For example, some applicants may have difficulties in obtaining health insurance because of their age or various medical conditions.

Types of Work Visas

There are several types of work passes that are available to individuals who want to work in Malaysia. The visa type depends on the kind of employment and the skillset that is needed to work in that job.

  • Employment Pass – Applicants with specific skills are issued this type of pass. The types of jobs are those in the managerial or technical field. The pass is usually issued for a minimum term of 2 years.
  • Temporary Employment Pass – This type of pass is only issued for employment situations which are for terms of 2 years or less. The second reason is for jobs that offer a monthly salary of less than RM 5,000.
  • Professional Visit Pass – Foreign nationals may receive this pass if they are employed by the company in their home country. However, the Malaysian branch of the company may require services in the country for a term of up to 6 months.

Instructions for Obtaining a Work Visa

As previously mentioned, the employer is the one who needs to get the work visa process started. However, there are several steps that visa applicants should take to get prepared.

  • Make a photocopy of your passport.
  • Prepare copies of the pertinent academic qualifications as well as your resume.
  • Acquire your reference letters from previous employers and other references.
  • Your work permit application will need a passport-sized photo to accompany it.
  • A medical examination is needed as well as a certificate verifying good health.
  • Submit all documents, photographs and certificates to the prospective employer.

There are various steps that need to be followed when applying for a work permit in Malaysia. Interested applicants need to prepare all documentation and submit everything to the prospective employer for submission to the immigration department.