Malaysia: Expatriate Services Division guidelines revised

The Expatriate Service Division (ESD) has recently announced a series of new requirements for Employment Pass (EP) applications and Professional Visit Pass (PVP) applications and related filings, effective immediately.

Company Registration

Company registration approval is now valid only for 90 days from the date of approval, during which time the authorised company director must visit the Malaysian Immigration Department (MID) to sign the Letter of Undertaking (LoU). Should the company fail to sign the LoU within 90 days, the approval will be cancelled.  

Passport Validity

For both new and renewal EP applications and related filings and Professional Visit Pass (PVP) applications, the foreign national's passport - as well as any accompanying dependants' passports - must now have at least 12 months of remaining validity at the time their applications are filed.  

Cooling-Off Period

Foreign nationals and any accompanying dependants in the following three situations will be required to leave and remain outside of Malaysia according to a new three-month cooling-off requirement before they can re-enter Malaysia to file a new application:

  • Employees with EPs in Category III - which are those EPs held by individuals whose monthly salary is between RM 2,500 and 4,999.99 - who are seeking to change employers and obtain a new EP Category III;
  • Employees with EPs in Category III seeking their fourth EP Category III, either as a renewal or who are changing positions; and
  • Employees seeking to convert a Social Visit (Temporary Employment) Pass to an EP, whether in Category I, II or III.

Entry into Malaysia and Endorsement

Foreign nationals will have 30 days from entry to endorse their EP and related Dependant's Pass (DP) and Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) applications, whereas they will have 14 days from entry to endorse their PVPs.  

Professional Visit Pass

The maximum duration for a foreign national to hold a PVP is 12 months; no extensions are allowed beyond 12 months, and subsequent PVPs cannot be obtained even if a cooling-off period is observed. Should a foreign national need to work in Malaysia for longer than 12 months, he or she must obtain an EP. However, should a PVP be initially obtained for less than 12 months, a PVP renewal application can be submitted to obtain the remaining balance up to 12 months. The renewal application in this case must be filed no later than 14 days prior to the expiry date.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Employers should note the changes to ensure that existing and prospective employees comply with the updated regulations. Employers should also pay close attention to employees with EPs in Category III in light of the new cooling-off requirement.

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK