MALAYSIA | New Requirements for Employment Passes in the MSC Malaysia

Malaysia continues to make changes to its immigration processes (See our Immigration Dispatch of August 2-8 for more details). The Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the government-owned entity which manages the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC Malaysia), has announced new Employment Pass (EP) regulations for the MSC economic zone effective September 1. These new regulations are designed to complement the similar regulations implemented on August 1 by the Expatriate Services Division of the Immigration Department.

The new regulations – applicable to employers operating in the MSC and their employees in Employment Pass Categories I, II, and III – include the following:

  • All EP applicants and their dependents must first obtain the employee’s approval letter from the MDEC before entering Malaysia. Nationals requiring a visa to enter Malaysia must further have obtained their Visa or Visa With Reference (VWR) from the Malaysian Embassy or consulate in their country of residence prior to traveling. The past practice of arriving in Malaysia and awaiting approval is no longer valid;
  • Foreign nationals already in Malaysia on Category III EPs who are completing their work contract or have reached the maximum period for their employment pass (three years with renewals) are required to have their current EPs cancelled. They must now exit the country until their new employment approval letter and entry visas, if required, are obtained. The past practice of remaining in Malaysia pending the issuance of the new EP is no longer valid;
  • There is also now a three-month “cooling off period” before an employer may file a new application for certain foreign national employees, during which the employee and dependents must remain outside Malaysia. This applies to foreign nationals in EP Category III who are switching employers or who have reached the maximum period for their EP (three years with renewals) and to foreign nationals converting Temporary Employment Passes (PLKSs) or Professional Visit Passes (PVPs) to EPs in Category I, II, or III; and
  • For all work and residence authorizations and visa matters, the applicant’s passport must be valid for at least 12 months further at the time of endorsement.