April 2015

This summary is designed to provide basic information about business visit and work authorization requirements and processes for West Malaysia. Hereinafter, for the purposes of simplicity, we will refer to West Malaysia simply as “Malaysia,” but please note that the immigration processes will differ for East Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak, Labuan).  Please remember that, as with any country, Malaysia’s immigration laws may change without notice. The information in this summary is of a general nature and does not constitute legal advice. For current and detailed information regarding the topics below, as well as documentary requirements, processing times, allowances for accompanying family members, and any other information pertaining to your specific needs, please contact your immigration professional.

Malaysian immigration laws provide a range of visas and passes to non-Malaysians entering and remaining in Malaysia for business purposes.

Business visitors can obtain a Visit Pass (Social) (SVP). The maximum allowable stay under a SVP issued to a business visitor ranges between 14 to 90 days, depending on the nationality of the business visitor.

The most common types of work authorization used by employers in Malaysia are the Professional Visit Pass (PVP) (valid for up to twelve months for certain technical positions) and the Employment Pass (EP) (valid for up to five years). Generally, PVP and EP applications are filed directly with the Malaysian Immigration Department. For certain industries, though, EP applications may require the initial approval of the government agency authorized to regulate the industry.  Greater corporate compliance is expected as Malaysian employers are being required to attest to the accuracy and authenticity of Employment Pass applications and supporting documents.

Note that foreign nationals must not commence work until they are physically in possession of their work pass. Also, the immigration authorities may conduct a background check on visiting foreign nationals.