What is the change? The Malaysia Immigration Department (MID) has strictly enforced regulations on work pass holders working at second locations without permission.

What does the change mean? Employers must ensure foreign employees have permission to work at a second site and such permission must be visible and evidenced on the passport tied to the work pass.

  • Implementation time frame: The regulations have been re-enforced since January 2020.
  • Visas/permits affected: All work passes.
  • Who is affected: Employers of foreign laborers/expatriates working at second sites.
  • Business impact: Companies that fail to obtain permission for their work pass holders to work at a second site face strict penalties.
  • Next steps: Employers must submit an application for second site work permits to the relevant immigration authorities. Permission to work at a second location can only be obtained under certain circumstances and is not needed for short-term assignments. Employees are only granted permission to work at one second location at a time.

Background: The MID has enforced the rule in recent weeks by conducting unannounced raids where work pass holders are employed.

Analysis & Comments: Employers must obtain permission for work pass holders to work at second sites before they begin working. Further, second site permission may only be obtained for branches or projects operated by the same company. Work passes are invalidated if the conditions of their issuance are violated. Penalties for employers violating work pass conditions are harsh and include fines of RM 10,000-50,000 and/or imprisonment of six months to five years, and/or corporal punishment. Penalties for employees found working in violation of the terms of their work permit include imprisonment up to six months and/or a fine of up to RM 1,000.

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