Malaysia Guide: Work Visa

Planning to work in Malaysia? Below is a brief introduction of the of the more common work visas that an individual can apply in order to work in Malaysia.

Work visa, also known as work permit or employment pass, is a necessary legal document for any foreign nationals who wishes to work in Malaysia. According to section 6(1) of the Immigration Act 1959/63, Persons who do not have a valid work visa in Malaysia can be fined, imprisoned and even whipped.

Generally, foreign nationals are divided into two categories, namely:

  1. Expatriates – high levelled and highly skilled professionals; and
  2. Foreign workers – low levelled and unskilled workers.


1. Professional Visit Pass (PVP) / Employment Pass (EP)

This is a work visa given to expatriates who are usually still under employment in their home-country but is asked to render their services to their Malaysian counterpart for a specific amount of time. The PVP is divided into three categories and the duration where an expatriate can render their services in Malaysia is dependent on the type of PVP acquired.

The requirements to apply for a PVP/EP are:

i) Passport must be valid for at least 18 months from the date of application;

ii) Must be at least 27 years of age, unless the PVP/ EP is for applicant in the Information and Technology (IT) sector, where the minimum age to apply is 23.

2. Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T)

This is a work visa generally given to expatriates who are already holding a PVP or EP by Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (Talent Corp) which allows expatriates to work in Malaysia for a longer period of time as compared to a PVP or EP.

The requirements to apply for a RP-T are:

i) Has 3 years of working experience in Malaysia;

ii) PVP or EP is valid for more than 3 months before initiating the RP-T application;

iii) Basic monthly salary of RM15,000.00;

iv) Has been paying income tax in Malaysia for at least 2 years;

v) Holds a certain degree of education (from Diploma to PHD) from a recognised university or holds a professional certificate from a recognised professional institute; and

vi) Have at least 5 years of working experience.

3. Visit Pass (Temporary Employment) VP(TE)

This is a work visa given usually to foreign workers and has to be renewed on a yearly basis.

The requirements to apply for a VP(TE) are:

i) The applicant is only allowed to apply for work in the manufacturing, construction, plantation, agriculture and services sector;

ii) The applicant must be at least 18 years old and not more than 45 years old;

iii) Obtained an Immigration Security Clearance (ISC) from ISC Centres;

iv) Certified fit and healthy by approved medical centres;

v) Not prohibited from entering Malaysia under section 8(3) of the Immigration Act 1959/63; and

vi) Must come from countries that are permitted by the Department of Immigration Malaysia (DIP).

The applicant must also take note that there is a quota for such application. Once the potential employer’s foreign worker quota is filled, they cannot apply for a VP(TE).

4. DP-10 Work Visa

A DP-10 work visa is usually granted to foreign nationals who render their services to companies that has a wholesale retail trade (WRT) license. The validity of the visa is 2 years and can be extended for up to 10 years.

The requirements to apply for a VP-10 are:

i)   The applicant must be at least 27 years of age;

ii) Received an employment letter from a Malaysian employer;

iii) The employer’s company has obtained a WRT license; and

iv) The employer’s company is registered with the Expatriate Service Division (ESD).

5. Temporary Work Visa/ Social Visit Pass – Internship (SVP-I)

A SVP-I is a work permit given to companies registered under ESD to take in international students for work-placement. The maximum duration of the work placement is 90 days. The only requirement to apply for a SVP-I is that the company must be registered with ESD.

Therefore, always make sure that you have already obtain a valid and suitable work visa before entering Malaysia to avoid any complications that might affect your work and stay here.

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