Oil and gas work permits on hold for Sarawak

11 Aug 16



What is the change? Effective immediately, Sarawak state has put all work permit applications for oil and gas companies on hold until further notice.

What does the change mean? The freeze affects all work permit applications for all oil and gas companies in Sarawak, including new and renewal applications as well as applications that have been approved but not yet endorsed. Employees with valid work permits whose passports are endorsed with a permit sticker may continue to work.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
  • Who is affected: All oil and gas companies applying for work permits for Sarawak.
  • Business impact: The moratorium will cause delays to work permit applications and business schedules.
  • Next steps: BAL is following these developments and will report as discussions among oil and gas officials and the Sarawak government continue.

Background: On Monday, all Immigration Department offices in Sarawak froze new work permit applications for Petronas, Malaysia’s national oil and gas corporation. By Tuesday afternoon, Sarawak state authorities extended the freeze to all oil and gas companies. Immigration Department offices in Sarawak are not accepting any oil and gas applications until they receive further direction from state authorities. The moratorium is reported to be a response to Petronas’ recent restructuring, which the Sarawak government asserts disproportionately affected Sarawakian workers.

BAL Analysis: Oil and gas industry officials are set to meet with the head of the Sarawak Immigration Department early next week. BAL will report on the outcome of those talks as information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Malaysia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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