Work Permit in Malaysia for Foreigners

Malaysia is a country which gives ample opportunities to both employers and employees. But it takes patience for an individual to receive their work permit visa in Malaysia. The completion of a work permit takes a long time. The minimum period of completion is around 1 year. The work permit procedure is to be done by the employer who wants to hire an employee from another country.

It is recommended to the employee that you need to only start working after you receive the work permit. If you work before receiving the permit then you will face severe consequences. It is considered to be illegal if you work before the permit. Before proceeding with the employee application, you need to have a confirmation about your workplace in Malaysia. After finalizing your position, it is the responsibility of the employer to apply the work permit for you (employee).

If you did not receive the work permit then if you come with your family members in Malaysia, you will have to pass it through the social pass. After coming through the social pass, you will have to apply for a work permit. Even the family members need to apply for a work permit if they want to work in Malaysia. 


  • The minimum age is at least 27 years. Whereas, there is an exception for IT field where you can be 23 years to be eligible to receive the work permit
  • The minimum period of work permit is 5 years and 6 months
  • The passport needs to be valid for 18 months in order to receive the work permit visa.
  • The following are the eligible sectors for work permit in Malaysia:
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Plantation
  • Agriculture and Services
  • The employee needs to have the confirmation appointment letter in hand from a Malaysian employer. Or known as the letter to be received from the Ministry of Home Affairs, One Stop Centre (OSC).
  • You need to receive the certified pass for Immigration Security Clearance (ISC).
  • Certification of proper health and medical prove is provided to be submitted
  • The employees can only apply from the Malaysian selected countries who can apply for work permit. You cannot work if you are a citizen of a country which is not listed in Malaysia.


  • Birth certificate
  • National identity card (NIC)
  • Passport copy
  • Passport size photo
  • Educational qualification
  • Address proof such as electricity bills, gas, water bills, etc.
  • Family details such as parents’ sibling name and occupation
  • Other family details such as your wife and children and their other details of moving in together with you.
  • Financial statement


It is the employer responsibility to apply for a work permit for the selected employee. Once they have decided on the foreign employee, they need to start applying for the work permit for the selected employee.

  • The employers have to receive the PASS Immigration Security Clearance (ISC)
  • They need to initially apply for the Immigration Department for Visa with Reference (VDR) which is the confirmation of the foreign employer. The VDR application are as follows;
  • Application form of VDR
  • Quota approval or Approval letter from the Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Levy receipt of payment original
  • Forms of IM.12 and IM.38
  • Security bond such as deposits, insurance guarantee and bank guarantee. Insurance guarantee have to be stamped. The validity of the stamp has to be at least for 18 months.
  • They need to have all the personal documentation and proves of selected employee such as;
  • Employee birth certificate
  • NIC
  • Passport copy
  • Passport size photos
  • Educational qualifications
  • Family details
  • Address proof
  • Medical certificate proof which is to be valid for 3 months
  • Compensation scheme for foreign workers
  • Apart from the plantation sector, there has to be a submission of Insurance policy of Health Insurance Protection Scheme Foreign Workers (SPIKPA).
  • Until the Malaysian Immigration Department approves the VDR the foreign workers need to stay in their own country.


For the protection of local labor force from foreign labors, the Malaysian government has formed certain rules. The rules are the restraining order to foreign employees. Well, you may want to know about doing business in Malaysia.

  • The foreign labors can only work for 5 to 10 years maximum years.
  • It is provided that Malaysian are professionals who are trained to handle most work.
  • The companies or employers needs to have a closer look in their foreign employees. They need to be checked if they following the rules and regulations proposed by the Malaysian government.
  • The foreign employees are not supposed to apply for work permit in Malaysia. It is the duty of the employer to apply for work permit for the employees.
  • They are required to work in certain sectors such as e-business


  • When it comes to work hours the Malaysian government is quiet considereable. The are allowed to only work 8 hours per day for 6 days.
  • They even receive equal holidays along with the Malaysian employees
  • If a Malaysian employee is not suitable for any certain position then a foreign employee is privileged to have that position.


  • The restrictions provided to the foreign employees are so hard
  • It takes a long time to receive a work permit
  • There are less opportunities to grow as a foreign employee in Malaysia
  • The work opportunities in the country are less
  • Mostly there cannot be an increase of salary
  • Only certain industries can be chosen to work in Malaysia.


  • You need to be patient in order to receive your work permit visa. It is recommended to go alone or with you family to Malaysia only after you receive your work visa.
  • Submit all your documents to selected employer properly on time so that they can immediately process your work permit.
  • Select the field according to the Malaysian sector which are not restricted for foreign employees.
  • After 5 to 10 years if you still want to work then you will have to re-apply for your work permit through your employer. The employer can re-apply for you if they are willing to still have you only.
  • The selection criteria take place according to your qualification.


Can an employee apply for a work permit?

No, it is the duty of an employer who has to apply for a work permit for the selected employee.

What is the minimum age for an employee to work in Malaysia?

Not less than 18 and not greater than 45 years

How long does it take for the completion of work permit?

It taken a long time. It takes at least 1 year to receive the work permit

How long can an employee work in Malaysia?

They can work 5 to 10 years depending on the work sector.

Can foreigners apply for any sector in Malaysia?

No, the foreign employees are restricted for certain sectors to work in the country.

Can all foreigners work in Malaysia?

No, there are few countries where the citizens of those countries are not eligible to apply for a job in Malaysia.

Related Article:

Jobs in Malaysia for Foreigners

Long term social visit pass in Malaysia

Dependent visa holder can open company Malaysia

MM2H Benefits of Malaysia my second home program

Applying process for visa:

Applying for a Visa to Malaysia

Apply for an investor visa in Malaysia

How to check Malaysian visa status – Easily check in online

Angella Branavi
Executive-Content Writer
S & F Consulting Firm Ltd.


Company Registration Expert Since 2012