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MALAYSIA – Expatriate Services Division Requires Employment Pass Approval Before Entry

Effective 1 August 2016, the Expatriate Services Division (ESD) of the Immigration Department of Malaysia (MID) requires that all Employment Pass (ED), Professional Visit Pass (PVP), Dependant Pass (DP) and Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) applicants must obtain an approval letter before entering Malaysia. The approval letter must be produced at the port of entry in Malaysia for verification by the immigration authorities.

Currently, applicants for these passes are allowed to travel to Malaysia as visitors while waiting for their pass application to be approved. This will no longer be permitted and any applicants who enter the country before the approval is issued will need to exit and re-enter following approval of their application.

In addition, Employment Pass III applicants in certain sectors (construction, mining and manufacturing) who are nationals of certain countries (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Nepal, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan) are now required to undergo a medical test at a FOMEMA (Foreign Workers Medical Examination Monitoring Agency) panel clinic in Malaysia.


The ESD is one of the agencies which issue Employment Passes for foreign nationals in Malaysia. Malaysia Digital Economy Sdn Bhd (MDEC) processes Employment Passes for Information Communication Technology (ICT) companies and companies registered for Multimedia Super Corridor Malaysia (MSC Malaysia). MDEC is expected to announce that it is implementing a similar requirement to obtain an approval letter before entering Malaysia in the next few weeks.

The Employment Pass III is a category of Employment Pass which is exempt the usual minimum salary rule, valid for only 12 months, and with fewer benefits.

Action Items

  • Employers sponsoring foreign nationals for Employment Passes, Professional Visit Passes, Dependant Passes or Long Term Social Visit Passes via the Expatriate Services Division or MDEC should ensure applicants are not in Malaysia at the time of application filing, and allow more time before assignees can enter Malaysia.
  • Employment Pass III applicants of one of the above nationalities in the construction, mining or manufacturing sectors must undergo a medical test at a FOMEMA panel clinic in Malaysia.

This news alert was prepared using information provided by Rabin & Associates.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2021 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.