IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Malaysia has launched an e-visa program for foreign expatriate workers and assignees from select countries.

What does the change mean? The new program eases entry into Malaysia for qualifying expat workers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Montenegro, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Serbia and Sri Lanka.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing. The change was implemented Aug. 1.
  • Visas/permit affected: E-visas for Foreign Expatriates.
  • Who is affected: Employers and nationals of the 10 countries covered by Malaysia’s E-visas for Foreign Expatriates program.
  • Impact on processing times: The change is designed to save qualifying foreign expatriates the time it takes to get a visa before traveling to Malaysia.
  • Next steps: The program was launched just two weeks ago and a number of questions remain about how it will be implemented. BAL is seeking clarification on a number of points, including the format of required supporting documentation and whether the e-visa is accepted by all approving authorities (e.g., the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, Malaysian Investment Development Authority, etc.)

Background: Malaysia launched an e-visa program for business travelers in June, and has now followed up with an e-visa program for foreign workers from the 10 countries listed above. The program will require applicants to log onto this website, provide personal information, passport information, information about the employing company, a VDR approval letter and an electronic copy of their passport page that contains biographic information. Applications will be processed within 48 hours, and email confirmation will be sent to the employer and the employee, who must print the e-visa prior to travel. The e-visa and a letter of approval to work in Malaysia must be presented upon arrival.

BAL Analysis: While the new e-visa program may eventually ease entry procedures for foreign expatriates covered by the program, the change is recent and significant questions remain unanswered. At this time, BAL recommends applicants use the regular route of applying for a visa through the consulate unless their travel is urgent.