How are Companies Hiring Foreign Workers in Malaysia?

Malaysia, a Southeast Asian nation put a strong attention on hiring expatriate in various development projects and companies for years. The authority welcomes opportunities for employment of foreign workers in Malaysia. The recruitment however, depends on candidate’s professional skills and experiences. The country aims for fill up the skill and knowledge fields. The purpose is to develop country’s infrastructure, business and economy, at the same time create opportunities for foreign workers all around the world.

The authority of Malaysia is well aware of the fact that major revenue of this nation is coming with the hand of foreign workers in this nation. With that in mind, many national and international companies in Malaysia shows interest in hiring foreign workers; however, companies need to follow sever rules and regulations when employment of foreign workers in Malaysia is on the process.

This article highlights all foreign workers employment processes in Malaysia along with the eligibilities taken under considerations for a potential expatriate to work and employment insurance scheme in Malaysia. Here we will also see a list of sectors in Malaysia which are restricted by the authority of this nation for work pass application.

Processes for employment of foreign workers in Malaysia

In order to get a job in Malaysia a foreign individual need to know how companies employ foreign workers in Malaysia. The process follows several official measures. According to the Malaysian law, these processes that we are going to list our below are not only applicable for expatriates but also implies for Malaysian companies.

Without fulfilling the required process, no foreign workers can enlist or enroll into a company in Malaysia. On the other hand, a company in Malaysia abusing these legal procedures of recruitment is subjected to legal obligations. Now, you may want to know the investment in Malaysia.

A company in Malaysia must be well aware of the Malaysian Law for certain limitations and bindings. Recruiting companies should know the bindings in sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, plantation, constructions queering and mining and services when hiring expatriates. Let us have a look on the foreign workers recruitment process in Malaysia:

  • At the very beginning an employer of the company need to obtain an approval from the Local Centre of Approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) to recruit expatriate for  company.
  •  Typically companies whose operation includes manufacturing, agriculture, plantation, constructions and services function are eligible to hire foreign workers.
  • Once application is submitted, a formal interview will take in place between employer and designated representatives from the ministry of relevant sector.
  • If the interview goes well the application gets successfully approved.  
  • With that success, the employer will receive a conditional letter of approval, which will allow the employer the recruit foreign workers in Malaysia.
  • An applicant has to fall under any of the three categories of employment position and Malaysia passport; Top managerial post, mid managerial post or highly skilled technical position.
  • If the individual graduates for any of these categories demanded by the foreign worker, he/ she will be eligible to go to the next step and that is submitting all recommended papers to the immigration department. 
  • From this phase on the employer will take the responsibility of your paperwork and application submission process for employment pass.
  • Employer need to arrange foreigner check pass for the worker they intend to recruit.
  • Following this, the employer now has to process and submit the work employment pass application for the applicant.
  • The employer also has to submit an online statement of purpose behalf of the foreign worker, which must clearly state the reason why this foreign worker is required by the company instead of local expertise.
  • Through this statement the employer also need to declare how this employment of foreign workers in Malaysia be beneficial for the company and as well as the nation.
  • Once all these submitted papers are approved by the Malaysia Immigration Department, an employment pass will be finally issued for that particular foreign worker in Malaysia.

Sectors restricted for employment pass application in Malaysia

When many major sectors are open for foreign workers to explore, there are several business sectors that are only allocated for Malaysian locals and hiring a company secretary in Malaysia. Under the government regulation of Malaysia, following are the work sectors reserved exclusively for Malaysian residents only:

  • Small size markets and supermarkets which are less than 3000 sq.
  • Convenience shops and mini shops.
  • Local and inexpensive restaurants.
  • Medical center that practice traditional and alternative medication.
  • All types of fuel or gas stations.
  • Garments and textile industries
  • Companies that deal with national strategic interests.
  • All types of wet market stores.
  • Tiles, ceramic or other pavement stores.
  • Jeweler’s stores.
  • Local pubs.

There are many other rules and regulations based on worker’s country of origin and gender orientations. It is always advisable for a foreign individual to read and understand all terms and condition and understand all rules stated at an early period of proceeding. To know more about relevant subject, click Foreign workers recruitment policy of Malaysia and get to know more about how company employ foreign workers in Malaysia. 

FAQ on the employment of foreign workers in Malaysia

Is a foreigner allowed to work in Malaysia without EP?

No, no foreigners are allowed to work in Malaysia without getting proper employment permission.  Normally a foreigner is granted to stay in Malaysia just for 90 days, this is known as a social pass. This doesn’t make them eligible to get recruited or start a job in this country.

Up to how many years a foreign worker can work in Malaysia?

A foreign worker can stay and work in Malaysia for up to 10 years. The residing period can range from 5 years to 10 years in Malaysia, and this stay duration exclusively depends on an expatriate’s designated position in the company.

How much you have to pay for the work visa processing in Malaysia?

The visa fee varies according to applicants who are native in different countries but typically the range of fees for single and multiple entry visas is RM6 to RM50. In case of transit visa the fees range from Free to RM50 in Malaysia.

Is tax applicable for foreign workers working in Malaysia?

When an expatriate worker reside in Malaysia for more than 60 days but less than 182 days, he/she is considered a non tax resident and business advisory Malaysia. The individual is subjected to pay a tax rate of 30%.

Can a foreigner get dual work permit in Malaysia?

No, under the Section 60 of the Factories Act, workers of any type are restricted to engage in more than one employment at the same time. However, some exceptions remain for an individual who takes special permission from local government of the country.

All about Work permit in Malaysia for foreigners - Have look if you want to know!


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