What is the change? Effective immediately, Malaysia has imposed mandatory e-filing for Professional Visit Pass (PVP) applications.

What does the change mean? The Immigration Department has stopped accepting manual filings. Beginning Oct. 1, employers must submit PVP applications electronically through the Expatriate Services Division’s (ESD) online portal, but the Immigration Department has not yet provided guidance on how to file electronically.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected:Professional Visit Passes.
  • Who is affected:Employers applying for PVPs on behalf of foreign employees.
  • Impact on processing times:The current wait time for employers seeking ESD registration is six to eight weeks and e-filing may further delay applications, depending on when the Department provides guidance.
  • Business impact:There are likely to be delays in PVP applications in the short-term, but the change will ease a burden on employers who should no longer have to appoint an employee to file PVPs in-person at the Department headquarters in Putrajaya; instead companies may once again use third-party agents to file on their behalf.
  • Next steps:The Department is expected to provide guidance on e-filing in the coming weeks. Employers who are not already registered through the ESD portal should do so as soon as possible. Those awaiting approval of their registration should prepare to file applications online rather than in person.

Background: This week, the Immigration Department announced that PVPs would be processed only through the ESD beginning Oct. 1 and that it would no longer accept in-person filings. However, on Sept. 25, it announced that the change was taking effect immediately so that it could clear its docket of manually filed applications before Oct. 1.

PVPs allow foreign nationals to work in Malaysia on assignments of up to 12 months while remaining on the overseas employer’s payroll. The PVP must be sponsored by a registered Malaysian company.

BAL Analysis: The sudden and unexpected e-filing requirement creates short-term confusion for employers applying for PVPs. This is because companies awaiting approval of their ESD registration cannot file electronically until their registration is approved, nor can they file manually now that e-filing has become mandatory. In urgent cases, companies that are awaiting ESD registration and need to process PVPs may seek an appointment with the director of the Immigration Department to request special approval of PVPs.

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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