Malaysia: Sabah authorities add preapproval requirement to employment pass process

What is the change? Authorities have begun requiring oil and gas companies to obtain preapproval from the Chief Minister’s Department (JKM) when filing employment pass applications in Sabah.

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What does the change mean? The change went into effect without a formal announcement and adds one to two months to end-to-end processing times. The new preapproval requirement applies to both onshore and offshore oil and gas workers.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment passes, including renewals, filed by oil and gas companies in Sabah.
  • Impact on processing times: Preapproval takes one to two months to obtain, adding to the overall time it takes to obtain an employment pass for affected workers.

Background: Similar preapproval requirements were introduced earlier this year for oil and gas companies applying for employment passes for offshore workers from West Malaysia and Sarawak. The additional change adds to the time it will take to obtain employment passes for all oil and gas applications in Sabah. Pending applications will be put on hold until letters from the JKM are produced.

BAL Analysis: Affected businesses should take notes of the change and adjust timelines and start dates if necessary. Those with pending applications must obtain JKM letters for pending employment pass applications to be processed.

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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