• Travel Restrictions for Certain Employment Pass Holders Undergoing Cancellation Processes
  • April 30, 2014
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • The Malaysian Immigration Department (MID) is implementing a stricter employment pass cancellation policy that limits the ability of pass holders to travel and re-enter the country while cancellation is in process. While the MID has not issued an official announcement about the change, they have confirmed that it is being implemented with immediate effect.

    Under the new policy, once an application to cancel an employment pass is filed, the multiple-entry privileges under the pass are withdrawn and the pass will automatically cease to be valid when the holder exits Malaysia. Upon re-entry, the individual will be issued a Social Visit Pass, which allows social and business activities only. If the individual is a visa national, he or she will be required to present an entry visa. Previously, foreign nationals undergoing employment pass cancellation were allowed to travel as long as they re-entered before the cancellation date in their amended pass.

    For foreign nationals who are changing employers in Malaysia, or changing their job title within the same sponsoring company, the MID now requires that their existing employment pass be cancelled after position approval (Stage 1 of the employment pass application) is obtained, and before the work pass application (Stage 2) is lodged. This was not required in the past, although the MID had discretion to do so.

    Currently, departing foreign nationals may not get an official confirmation that their employment pass will be voided upon exit as the departure checkpoint officer may not stamp the individual’s employment pass label as void or otherwise warn them that the pass is cancelled upon exit.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    Visa nationals who travel out of Malaysia while their employment pass cancellation is in process will need to obtain an entry visa from a Malaysian diplomatic post in order to be readmitted to Malaysia. It will be extremely difficult to obtain such an entry visa before the cancellation date of their amended pass. These individuals should thus avoid international travel until after their cancellation date.

    Employment pass holders who are changing employers in Malaysia or changing their job title within the same sponsoring company, regardless of nationality, should also postpone overseas travel until their new employment pass is approved. If they travel while the change application is pending, they will be readmitted on a Social Visit Pass and will not be authorized to work until the new employment pass is issued.