How to Apply for a Work Permit in Malaysia: A Step-by-Step Guide

Malaysia, known for its diverse culture and growing economy, has become a popular destination for expatriates seeking employment opportunities. If you’re planning to work in Malaysia, obtaining a work permit is essential. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of applying for a work permit in Malaysia, ensuring you have all the information you need to make the application process smooth and successful.

Understanding Work Permits in Malaysia

Types of Work Permits

Before you begin the application process, it’s important to understand the different types of work permits available in Malaysia:

  • Employment Pass (EP): For expatriates in managerial, executive, or technical positions with a monthly salary of RM 5,000 or above.
  • Temporary Employment Pass (TEP): For semi-skilled workers earning below RM 5,000 per month.
  • Professional Visit Pass (PVP): For foreign nationals providing services or undergoing training in Malaysia for a short duration (up to 12 months).

Each type of work permit has specific eligibility criteria and application requirements.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a work permit in Malaysia, you must:

  • Have a job offer from a Malaysian company.
  • Possess the necessary qualifications and experience for the job.
  • Meet the salary requirements for the specific type of permit.
  • Ensure the employer is a registered entity with the Malaysian authorities.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for a Work Permit

Step 1: Obtain a Job Offer

The first step in applying for a work permit in Malaysia is securing a job offer from a Malaysian employer. The employer must be willing to sponsor your work permit application and provide all necessary documentation.

Step 2: Prepare Required Documents

Gather all required documents for your work permit application. These typically include:

  • Passport: Valid for at least six months beyond the intended stay.
  • Employment Contract: Signed by both you and your employer.
  • Educational Certificates: Copies of your diplomas, degrees, and relevant certifications.
  • Professional Certificates: If applicable, such as licenses or membership in professional bodies.
  • Passport-sized Photographs: As specified by the Malaysian immigration authorities.
  • Resume/CV: Detailing your work experience and qualifications.

Step 3: Employer’s Application Submission

Your employer will submit the initial application on your behalf to the Malaysian Immigration Department or the relevant approving agency. This process may involve:

  • Company Registration: Ensuring the company is registered with the Expatriate Services Division (ESD) or the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) if applicable.
  • Quota Approval: Obtaining approval for the number of foreign workers the company can employ.
  • Online Submission: Submitting the application and supporting documents through the ESD portal or MDEC eXpats system.

Step 4: Application Processing

Once the application is submitted, it will undergo a review process by the Malaysian Immigration Department. This process may take several weeks, depending on the type of permit and completeness of the application. During this time, the authorities may request additional information or clarification.

Step 5: Approval and Issuance

If your application is approved, you will receive a Visa Approval Letter (VAL). This letter is crucial for obtaining an entry visa to Malaysia. Upon arrival in Malaysia, you must:

  • Submit VAL: Present the Visa Approval Letter to the immigration authorities at the entry point.
  • Undergo Medical Examination: Complete a medical examination at a registered clinic in Malaysia.
  • Endorsement: Visit the Immigration Department to have your passport endorsed with the work permit.

Step 6: Collecting the Work Permit

After completing the medical examination and obtaining the endorsement, you will receive your work permit. This permit allows you to legally work in Malaysia for the duration specified.

Tips for a Successful Application

Ensure Accuracy and Completeness

Make sure all information provided in your application is accurate and complete. Incomplete or inaccurate applications can lead to delays or rejections.

Follow Up Regularly

Keep in touch with your employer and follow up regularly on the status of your application. Promptly provide any additional information or documents requested by the authorities.

Understand the Terms of Your Permit

Be aware of the terms and conditions of your work permit, including its validity period and any restrictions. Ensure you renew your permit on time if you intend to continue working in Malaysia.

Seek Professional Assistance

If you find the application process complex or challenging, consider seeking assistance from a professional immigration consultant or lawyer. They can provide valuable guidance and help you navigate the process smoothly.


Applying for a work permit in Malaysia involves several steps, from securing a job offer to obtaining the necessary approvals and endorsements. By following this step-by-step guide, you can ensure a smooth and successful application process. Remember to gather all required documents, maintain clear communication with your employer, and comply with all immigration requirements. With the right preparation and support, you can look forward to a rewarding work experience in Malaysia.

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