The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd (MDEC) has implemented new Employment Pass (EP) regulations that affect foreign national employees of companies with Multimedia Super Corridor Malaysia (MSC Malaysia) or Information Communication Technology (ICT) status. This change took effect on September 1.

Previously, EP applicants were allowed to travel to Malaysia as visitors while waiting for their EP application to be approved. Under the new regulations, all EP applicants must obtain an approval letter before entering Malaysia.

The Expatriate Services Division (ESD) of the Immigration Department of Malaysia (MID), another EP processing agency, has implemented the same requirement. This change took effect on August 1.  

Key changes


  1. All applicants need to obtain an EP approval letter (and a Reference Visa if required, depending on nationality and EP category) before traveling to Malaysia.
  2. Passports have to be valid for 12 months or more from the date of endorsement of the EP.
  3. Certain existing pass holders applying for an EP will have to exit Malaysia for a “cooling-off” period of 90 days (starting from the date of exit from Malaysia) and re-enter with an approval letter (and Reference Visa if applicable). These include EP III holders changing employer within the EP III category and Social Visit (Temporary Employment) Pass or Professional Visit Pass holders converting to any category of EP.
  4. An EP holder applying for a Permission to Study stamp will need to submit an application via the e-Xpats Service Centre of MDEC.


  1. Dependent Pass and Student Pass holders converting to an EP III, for an initial stay of up to 12 months, will have to exit and re-enter Malaysia with an approval letter (and Reference Visa if applicable).
  2. For a child born in Malaysia of foreign national parents, a Dependent Pass application will have to be made within six months of their date of birth. Failing this, a Special Pass will have to be obtained from the Enforcement Unit of the Immigration Department in Putrajaya before a Dependent Pass can be obtained.
  3. A renewal application for a Social Visit Pass (SVP) for a common-law spouse will have to be supported by a new original letter, confirming the relationship, from the respective Embassy in Malaysia. For a child of 18 years and above, a new original letter from the Commissioner of Oaths, as well as a new original letter from the respective Embassy in Malaysia, confirming the applicant’s status, will be required.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from e-Xpats Centre, MDEC (Malaysia). No online source available at the time of publishing.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Debra Beynon, Regional Immigration Manager, APAC: