Malaysia: Sarawak job advertisement exemptions ended

Authorities have imposed job advertisement requirements on all employers submitting employment pass applications in the state of Sarawak. Previous exemptions for company shareholders, specialists and rotational workers no longer apply.

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What does the change mean? Employers must advertise job openings in a local or national newspaper and on Jobs Malaysia for three days and offer a 21-day window for local candidates to apply before submitting employment pass applications in Sarawak.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment Passes.
  • Who is affected: Employers filing employment passes in Sarawak in East Malaysia.
  • Impact on processing times: The change will lead to a significant increase in the length of time it takes to obtain an employment pass in Sarawak.
  • Business impact: Employers should take note of the change, update their internal processes and adjust timelines and start dates if necessary.

Background: Company shareholders, specialists and rotational workers were previously exempt from job advertisement requirements in Sarawak. Authorities ended the exemption for companies in all sectors, however, after a temporary moratorium on employment pass applications for oil and gas companies was lifted in August. The change does not apply to professional visit pass applications, which remain exempt from job advertisement requirements.

BAL Analysis: The new rules will prolong the employment pass application process for employers submitting applications in categories that were previously exempt. Companies should anticipate delays and can contact their BAL attorney for advice on the best options for moving employees to East Malaysia.

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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