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MALAYSIA – Change in Work Permit Issuing Authority for IT Sector and New Expat “i-Pass” Card

The Malaysian Immigration Department has announced that, going forward, work permit (Employment Pass and Professional Visit Pass) applications for companies in the IT sector and related industries will be processed by the Malaysian Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC). In addition a new ID card for foreign nationals, the i-Pass, has been announced.

New Authority for IT Sector

The main impact of the change of processing authority for companies in the IT Sector is likely to be immediate processing times. It is anticipated that processing times will be slightly extended as the MDeC establishes its procedures. In addition, it should be noted that, specifically for companies using the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) status, the MDeC requests online submissions of applications, to be followed up with the submission of original documents in hard copy. Finally, it is likely that the MDeC may have slightly different requirements in terms of supporting documents and fees for Employment Pass and Professional Visit Pass applications.

Note that while the MDeC will process Professional Visit Passes, the Malaysian Immigration Department will also continue to handle these. Currently, it is generally recommended to process Professional Visit Passes via the Malaysian Immigration Department rather than MDeC, since processing fees are significantly lower.

In the long term, it is anticipated that the use of the new authority will actually reduce processing times for companies in the IT Sector – and this is certainly one of the intentions of the Malaysian Immigration Department.

The new process via the MDeC has not yet been implemented but is anticipated for the start of October.

New Expatriate i-Pass Cards

A new ID card for foreign nationals has been announced: the i-Pass card. Effective 15 September 2011, these cards are automatically issued when an Employment Pass or Professional Visit Pass passport endorsement is completed. The cards are then “validated” by the government authorities and the card holder is notified.

Foreign nationals do not have to attend the authorities in person to apply for or collect the i-Pass cards – these can be obtained on their behalf by an authorised agent.

Once the i-Pass card has been issued, it is advised that the foreign national carry it with him/her at all times, for identification purposes. It will no longer be necessary for foreign nationals to carry their original passports with them.

Implications for existing Employment or Professional Visit Pass holders have not yet been announced – so far, there has been no request for such individuals to attend the authorities to obtain the new i-Pass cards.

Action Items

  • Note that processes for companies in the IT sector and related industries are subject to change from the start of October, meaning that processing time may be affected, as well as required supporting documents and fees
  • Note the new i-Pass card process, which is in place already, with i-Pass cards being issued to all new Employment and Professional Visit Pass holders.

This alert was prepared using information provided by Santa Fe Relocation.

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.