Malaysian Residence Pass for Skilled Professionals

The Residence Pass program officially launched on April 1st. I still can’t find much information on it. If I am reading things right, Talent Corporation Malaysia Bhd has been tapped by the government to lead this effort.

The Residence Pass was a new immigration instrument which offers 5 to 10 years of residence and work in Malaysia. Unlike other employment passes it is not tied to a specific employers so it allows workers to move between jobs much more easily. For the initial phase of implementation, Residence Pass applicants must hold a valid Employment Pass. The Residence Pass is targeted at world-class talents and thus, to secure approval, applicants must demonstrate a high level of professional achievements, supported by possession of relevant qualifications and work experience, especially in key economic sectors, as identified under the Economic Transformation Programme.

Currently, only those with current employment passes are eligible to apply (but eventually it will be opened to others). To requirements/materials needed to apply for the RP Talent pass are:

  • Academic Qualification: Bachelors / Masters / PHD degree in any discipline from a recognized Institute of Higher Learning, Diploma or a Professional / Competency Certificate from a recognized Professional Institute.
  • Total years of working experience: MINIMUM total of 5 years working experience.
  • Salary: MINIMUM gross annual salary of RM144,000 (approximately US$50,000)
  • Industry/Sector: Applicant from all industries and sectors are welcomed to apply.
  • Local Sponsor: Applicant must have a local sponsor i.e Malaysia Citizen, 21 years old and above.
  • Recommendation: Any recommendation from regulatory bodies will be an added advantage.
  • Years of experience working in Malaysia: MINIMUM total of 3 years working experience in Malaysia and it must be continuous.
  • Income Tax File No: Applicant must have an Income Tax File Number in Malaysia and have paid income tax for a MINIMUM of 2 years.
  • My understanding (though I could definitely be wrong) is that the last two will be removed at a later date, I believe, allowing those who have not worked in Malaysia to apply. I believe the idea is to retain and attract new talent, therefore the last two requirements don’t seem to make sense. My guess is they are just using it, initially, as a way to control applications.

    The Residence Pass Talent Application Form is required only for manual submission of applications. Required documents include: copy of passport, updated resume, and a copy of educational certificates. It seems to cost 2,000+MYR to apply (about $700).

    The Economic Transformation Programme is an effort by Malaysia to boost the economy into a high income economy by 2020. That would mean raising per capita income from US$6,700 to US$15,000 in just 9 years. National Key Economic Activities are:

    1. Oil and gas
    2. Palm oil and related products
    3. Financial services
    4. Wholesale and retail
    5. Tourism
    6. Information and communications technology
    7. Education services
    8. Electrical and electronic
    9. Business services
    10. Private healthcare
    11. Agriculture
    12. Greater Kuala Lumpur – this is a bit odd (compared to the others), it seems to just be an effort to focus resources on developing KL.

    As part of that initiative, the Returning Experts Programme will focus on Malaysians with at least 10 years of working experience to return home to work. Part of the incentive is a 15% flat tax rate for the first 5 years in Malaysia.

    Related: PM tables RM230bil 10th Malaysia Plan