MALAYSIA – eVisa Program Expanded to Include Work Visas
Effective 1 August 2017, the government-appointed visa agency, Window Malaysia has expanded its eVisa facility to include the “eVisa for Expatriate”, for work purposes.
Window Malaysia Aims to process and approve eVisa applications within two working days, an improvement on the usual five to six working days required to process a consular Visa with Reference application.
However, the major work permit issuing agencies in Malaysia, the MYXpats Centre of the Expatriates Services Division (ESD), and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), are as yet unable to confirm whether they recognize the new eVisa as part of their process flow.
As we reported in June 2017, the eVisa program was launched earlier this year for tourist and business travel, initially for nationals of China, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Serbia and Montenegro. The Malaysian authorities plan to extend this to further nationalities in the coming months..
What is the eVisa for Expatriate?
The new eVisa for Expatriate (or eVDR) is an online version of the Visa with Reference (VDR), which is required, in many cases, for entering Malaysia for work. Online applications must be supported by a Visa Approval Letter issued by the Malaysian immigration department, giving permission to work with an Employment Pass or Professional Visit Pass. Once the eVisa is approved, the applicant and their employer will receive an email notification and the applicant will be required to print the eVISA. The eVISA must be presented, along with the Visa Approval Letter, upon arrival in Malaysia. The eVisa is valid for entry within three months of issuance, and for a stay of up to 30 days, within which time the holder must have their pre-approved Employment Pass endorsed in their passport.
What is the Visa with Reference?
The Visa with Reference (VDR) is an entry visa which requires pre-approval from the immigration authorities allowing the applicant to work in Malaysia. Certain nationals with pre-approval for Employment Pass I (EPI – up to five years, salary of at least RM 10,000 per month) or Employment Pass II (EPII – up to two years, salary of at least RM 5000 per month) can enter Malaysia without a visa, with only their Visa Approval Letter. Other nationals require either a consular entry visa, or a VDR.
Those who obtain a VDR in advance of travel avoid paying a “Journey Performed” fee of RM500 per person payable on endorsement of the EPI or EPII in their passport post arrival.
Most applicants for Employment Pass III (EPIII – up to 12 months, salary of at least RM 3000 per month) or Professional Visit Pass (PVP – assignees remaining on home contract for assignment of up to 12 months) do not have the Journey Performed option, and must obtain a VDR in advance of travel. Nationals of most Commonwealth countries (except Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda and Sri Lanka), who have pre-approval for any Employment Pass or Professional Visit Pass, do not need to obtain a VDR, nor pay a Journey Performed fee, to enter Malaysia. They need only present their Visa Approval Letter on arrival.
Companies hiring foreign nationals in Malaysia should check with an immigration specialist and the local consulate whether the assignee should enter with an eVisa for Expatriate, a consular VDR, a consular entry visa or a visa waiver.