Malaysia tightens expatriate work permits criteria

Malaysia tightens expatriate work permits criteria

Companies wanting to hire certain foreign nationals for posts in Malaysia have to take additional measures before applying for an Employment Pass (EP) under immigration changes that took effect on 1 Jan 2021. The measures aim to boost the employment rate among Malaysian nationals, but do not apply to EP renewals or to applicants for Professional Visit Passes. 


  • Employers must advertise a vacancy for a minimum period of 30 days on the government’s MYFuture jobs portal. Certain roles are exempt from this requirement: C-suite and other key roles; expatriates earning a basic salary of MYR 15,000 or more per month; certain highly skilled expatriates (but an exemption is not automatic for all positions); expatriates working in a regional or representative office located in Malaysia; employees seconded for the purpose of “training or knowledge/experience sharing”; foreign nationals recruited to work in a recognized international organization; and expatriates applying to renew their EP. 
  • Employers can choose to advertise roles on other employment platforms, but they must post vacancies on the MYFuturejobs portal.
  • Employers must interview short-listed local candidates and complete a Hiring Outcome Report for each vacancy. If the local candidate is unsuitable, employers must obtain approval from the Expatriates Hiring Committee in the Ministry of Human Resources before offering the role to an expatriate and submitting an EP application.  

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