Guidelines for recruitment of foreign workers

In Malaysia, foreign workers can be employed in the manufacturing, construction, plantation, agriculture, service and domestic help sectors.

The service sector consists of eleven sub-sectors: (restaurants, cleaning services, cargo handling, self-service laundries, caddies at golf clubs, barber shops, wholesalers/retailers, textiles, metal / scrap / recycling activities, welfare homes and hotels / islands resort

Only nationals from certain countries below are allowed to work in selected sectors:

Approved Sectors:

Manufacturing Sector, Plantation, Agriculture, Construction, Service

Approved Countries

Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines (male only), Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan

Indian Citizens are allowed for following sectors only

Services (cooks, wholesalers/retailers, barbers, metal/scrap/recycling, textiles), Construction (high voltage cable installation only) Agriculture and Plantation.

Approval is based on the merits of each case and is subject to conditions that will be set from time to time.

Applications to employ foreign workers will only be considered when efforts to find qualified local citizens and permanent residents have failed.

The annual levy on foreign workers is charged as follows:

Annual Levy (RM) for West Malaysia

Manufacturing 1,850
Construction 1,850
Plantation 640
Agriculture 640
Services 1,850
Services (Resort islands) 1,850

Annual Levy (RM) for Sabah/Sarawak

Manufacturing 1,010
Construction 1,010
Plantation 590
Agriculture 410
Services 1,490
Services (Resort islands) 1,010

All applications for foreign workers must be submitted to the One Stop Center, Ministry of Home Affairs, except for applications for foreign domestic workers which must be submitted to the Malaysian Immigration Department.

For more information on hiring foreign workers, please visit the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs via the link

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