Malaysia: Changes aim to reduce expat employment

Published on 2019-03-18 at 13:05 by Anne-Lise Mty
The Malaysian government is phasing out the Employment Passes Category 2 and 3 and also changing marriage laws for expatriates.

The aim of the move: getting more malaysians employed by local firms. Indeed, it is with this objective in mind that the Human Resource Minister M Kulasegaran has announced that the Category Passes II and III will be phased out gradually by the malaysian government.

Until now, there has been no deadline for the phasing out of the two employment passes mentioned above. What the authorities have explained, however, is that the Category II passes will be fully phased out whereas there will be case-to-case exception regarding certain professions. It is also unclear whether actual holders of employment passes II and III will be affected by these changes.

In Malaysia, there are three classes of employment for expatriates. The employment passes category II and III are awarded to expatriates who earn more than RM 3,000 per month. Category II employment passes are awarded to foreign individuals who have been offered a contract of at least 2 years in Malaysia and who have been offered a salary of between RM 5,000 and 9,999.

On the other hand, Category III passes are offered to skilled workers earning between RM 3,000 to 4,999 a month. Some exceptions will be made with regards to the Category III employment passes to allow for highly skilled expatriates into the country. For example, the Human Resource minister has explained that while positions like sales manager or accountants will be expected to be filled by locals, category III employment passes could still be awarded to foreign chefs or writers if a similar profile cannot be found within the country. Category III passes are awarded for a year and can be renewed.

Another change: anyone living in Malaysia on a Category III pass and looking to get married to their Malaysian partner might see their visas cancelled. Although, Malaysian authorities explain that there will be a case-by-case decision regarding marriage requests.

The Category I employment pass is awarded to a person who has been offered a contract of at least 5 years and is earning a basic salary of at least RM 10,000 a month. For the moment, the government is preserving this employment pass as it will allow the employment of high skilled individuals who might not, otherwise, be found in Malaysia.