What is the change? Malaysia’s Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) is no longer issuing work authorization (“consent to work”) to holders of Dependent Passes, i.e. spouses of Employment Pass holders.

What does the change mean? Spouses who want to work must cancel their Dependent Passes and apply for an Employment Pass.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Dependent Pass, Consent to Work, Employment Pass.
  • Who is affected: Spouses holding Dependent Passes.
  • Impact on processing times: This will add a number of steps for companies who hire foreign nationals currently holding Dependent Passes.
  • Next steps: Employers and foreign nationals affected by the change should work with their BAL attorney to cancel their Dependent Passes and apply for Employment Passes.

Background: While there has not been an official announcement, the MDeC confirmed via telephone that as of September it has stopped accepting applications for work authorization, known as Consent to Work, for Dependent Pass holders. Consent to Work is an additional endorsement on a Dependent Pass that allows the spouse of an Employment Pass holder to work.

Spouses on Dependent Passes who wish to work must now cancel their Dependent Pass and apply for an Employment Pass. This only affects those applying through MDeC, which covers MSC Malaysia-status companies and information and communication technology (ICT) status companies.

BAL Analysis: This change may have advantages and disadvantages for employers. While it requires companies hiring Dependent Pass holders to take additional steps to cancel a Dependent Pass and apply for an Employment Pass, it also give employers more control because employees who were considered dependent family members are no longer tied to the employment status of the Employment Pass holder.

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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