On October 3, 2022, Malaysia launched a new social visit pass named PLS@XPATS, which will allow holders of social visit passes to work in Malaysia for up to 30 days. The type of work allowed must be in a specific sector and considered urgent or critical.
Malaysia also announced a new work permit in September 2022, under the De Rantau program, which offers ASEAN’s first digital nomad visa. The program welcomes digital marketers, IT professionals, and content creators for up to 12 months’ stay.
The government hopes the program can transform Malaysia into a hub for digital nomads in the region while boosting digital adoption across the country.
To apply, the hiring company must submit an online application here.
What are the permitted sectors that PLS@XPATS holders can work under?
Applicants of the PLS@XPATS pass can only work under these selected sectors:
- Government sector;
- Government link companies (companies in which the Malaysian government has a controlling stake); or
- The private sector but under the following categories:
- Security and defense;
- Oil, gas, and energy;
- Finance and banking;
- Information, technology, and infrastructure;
- Wholesale and retail;
- Electrical and electronics;
- Business services;
- Education; and
- Business services.
Critical work criteria
An essential condition for obtaining the PLS@XPATS pass is the definition of the work that is to be conducted. Foreign companies must prove that the foreign nationals they hire under this pass are conducting critical work, which is defined as emergency work, repair work, maintenance, installations, or recovery/reinstallation.
This must be accompanied by a job description and a work schedule.
The Immigration Department will process new applications within three business days of submission. This is much faster than the process to obtain a Professional Visit Pass, which can take up to 75-135 business days.
The applicant will receive an approval letter that they must present to Malaysian immigration upon arrival, at the point of entry. Foreigners who require a visit before entering Malaysia must obtain a Visa Without Reference (VWR) at the Malaysian Embassy/High Commission/Consulate.