Work permit renewal for foreign workers in Malaysia - 2022 guide

Hannes Ausmees

If you’re a business owner and employ foreign workers, or have a domestic worker or maid supporting you at home, you’ll need to understand the processes to renew a foreign worker’s permit. In some cases, this process will be looked after by an employment agency - but if you’re considering navigating the working permit renewal process yourself, this is the guide for you.

We’ll cover the options for renewal of a work permit for foreign workers in Malaysia, which can vary depending on the circumstances, and whether or not the employer is a Malaysian citizen, PR or expat. We’ll also touch briefly on Wise as a smart way to make low cost international payments - perfect if you’re a foreign worker in Malaysia sending money home to a loved one.

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Requirements for renewal of a work permit for foreign workers in Malaysia

You can apply to renew a foreign workers permit any time from 3 months before the original permit will expire. If you leave it too late and the permit expires, it can’t be renewed online without a visit to the Immigration Department, making the process somewhat more time consuming and complex.

Before you apply to renew a foreign workers permit, double check¹:

  • The foreign worker’s passport is valid for at least one more year following the expiry of their current pass
  • Any required FOMEMA² medical check is completed prior to applying
  • The foreign worker is registered with SOSCO (social security organisation)
  • The foreign worker is covered by a valid Insurance Guarantee (IG) and Foreign Worker Hospitalisation Scheme (FWHS) as required by their role type

A few other requirements may also apply, depending on the type of work involved, and the length of time the foreign worker has been in Malaysia. It’s worth noting that foreign worker permits can usually only be renewed for a stay of up to 10 years.

One specific point to note is that FOMEMA medical checks are usually required annually for the first 3 years a foreign worker is in Malaysia, before dropping to every two years. However, getting a checkup annually makes good sense and is recommended even if it’s not compulsory.

Who must renew a Malaysian foreign worker permit?

Generally the employer of a foreign worker is responsible for renewing a Malaysian foreign worker permit or maid permit. How this process works can vary pretty widely based on the situation though.

If you’re a Malaysian citizen with a valid NRIC, for example, you can work through the renewal process online relatively easily, However, expats who run a business employing foreign workers, or who have foreign domestic workers in their home can’t usually complete the permit renewal process online. In most cases, the easiest option is to complete the permit renewal via a third party agency. Often the employment agency who arranged the initial work permit will offer this service for convenience.

NRIC holders - using MYEG to renew permit, step by step

MYEG¹ allows anyone with a valid NRIC to renew both foreign worker and maid permits online. As foreigners in Malaysia can’t get an NRIC under most circumstances unless they have permanent residency, this effectively means this process is unavailable to expats.

Let’s walk through the process to use MYEG to renew a Maid Working Permit as an example¹:

  1. Create a MYEG account online, or log into your existing account
  2. Select Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia, then tap Maid Permit Renewal
  3. Follow the prompts to enter the details of the worker you’re renewing for, to be shown a summary of the employer's and maid's details
  4. Choose your preferred method to get the renewed permit once it is prepared - delivery or self collection
  5. Enter delivery details if required
  6. Check over the fees and make your online payment by credit Card or eBanking
  7. The renewed permit will be delivered to your premises, and you’ll need to provide your MyKad upon delivery, for biometric thumbprint verification

Foreign workers and maids - work permit renewal fees

There’s a fee to pay when you renew a foreign worker’s permit, which can vary quite widely based on the type of work being done, the nationality of the employee and the employer’s situation. Here’s a rundown of the different fee types.

Maid work permit renewal fees

The fee you pay to renew a Maid Work Permit will depend on the nationality of the maid, and how many domestic workers you employ.

The overall fee is a combination of¹:

  • Employer levy
  • Visit pass
  • Processing fee
  • Visa fee

Here’s the total combined fee for the first maid you employ - these fees rise if you employ 2 or more maids, as the employer levy is increased which pushes up the overall renewal fee.

Country of originTotal work permit renewal fee¹
Indonesia610 MYR
Philippines631 MYR
Laos615 MYR
Nepal615 MYR
Sri Lanka645 MYR
Thailand595 MYR
Cambodia615 MYR
India645 MYR
Vietnam608 MYR

Foreign worker work permit renewal fees

Foreign worker work permit renewal fees vary based on the category and sector of work being done. Here’s what you need to know:

CategorySectorForeign worker work permit renewal fee¹
Primary
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Services
1850 MYR
Secondary
  • Plantation
  • Agriculture
640 MYR

Working in Malaysia and sending money back home? Save up to 3x on international transfer fees with Wise

If you’re a foreign worker in Malaysia, you could get a better exchange rate and lower overall fees if you send money home with Wise instead of your usual bank or money transfer service.³

Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate to switch your MYR to the currency you need, with no hidden costs and no surprises. Overall this means you could save up to 3x compared to Malaysian banks and other providers, with transparent fees you can see before you make your payment.

You could also open a multi-currency Wise Account which lets you get paid locally in ringgit, with your own MYR bank details, and spend with your linked Wise card. When it’s time to send money home, make your payment directly from the Wise Account to get great rates and low fees.

Wise Accounts can be opened entirely online - you don’t need a MyKad, and you don’t need to be a Malaysian citizen or permanent resident to get set up. See how much you can save with Wise today!

The true cost of sending MYR to PHP


Summary

If it’s time to renew the work permit held by your foreign workers or maid, this guide should get you started on the process. If you’re an expat in Malaysia you may find that using an agency to help process the renewals is the easiest way to go - but NRIC holders do also have the option of online renewals through MYEG. See which suits your needs best so the process is smooth and hassle free.


Sources:

  1. MYEG
  2. FOMEMA
  3. Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing: Only Pay for What You Use for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

Sources checked on 11.11.2022


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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