Employers filing work pass applications for foreigners through either Malaysia Expatriate Talent Service Centre (MYXpats Centre) or Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) are reminded of upcoming changes to requirements around salary, contract duration and dependent status.

Effective 1 September 2017, the minimum salary for foreigners to qualify for Cat I passes is RM10,000 per month, while the duration of contract has been increased to a ceiling of five years. Similarly, expats on Cat II work passes must earn a monthly salary in the range of RM5,000 to RM9,999 to qualify.

The full list of changes is given below:

expat requirements

The reclassification exercise of the Employment Pass (Category I, II and III), under the purview of Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) and Immigration Department of Malaysia, was announced by MYXpats Centre in April 2017.

There are several agencies responsible for approving expatriate posts in the relevant sectors [full list below], and the advisory had listed out the following steps:

  1. Companies that are regulated by an approving agency need to submit an approval letter from the agency for each employment pass application
  2. Companies in sectors under the purview of a specific regulatory body are required to submit a supporting letter from the body for each employment pass application

The full list of approving and supporting agencies is provided below:


For companies under unregulated sectors (e.g. business services, and oil and gas), the expatriate committee is advised to request a supporting letter from the relevant authority when necessary.

In an advisory, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) has stated: "The changes mean that employers will have the option of employing high-skilled foreign workers for longer periods of time, but at a cost. The change for Category I workers is particularly significant, given both that contracts of up to five years will be accepted and that the salary requirements will double to 10,000 ringgits per month."

Lead photo / 123RF Graphics / MYXpats Centre