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MALAYSIA: Malaysian Host Entities Must Be Qualified to Sponsor/Malaysia Airlines Incident Adds to Increasing Immigration Enforcement
March 27, 2014
The tragic March 8th disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370, coupled with Interpol’s analysis of two passengers switching out passports while in Malaysia, has added an overlay of increased immigration compliance and enforcement in Malaysia. Also, the Malaysian Immigration Department (MID) has announced new regulations for certain foreign nationals, new conditions for long-term stay and increased compliance for all Malaysian host entities.
NEW IMMIGRATION REGULATIONS
The MID is undertaking comprehensive changes to the country’s immigration requirements, formalities and enforcement procedures. A general summary of the most recent changes include the following:
A) Social Visit Pass (SVP) – The MID is abolishing the privilege to extend any SVP for any foreign national while in Malaysia.
B) Professional Visit Pass (PVP) – While not necessarily a new requirement, the MID wishes to reiterate that initial PVP status may be granted for up to six months. The MID reserves highly discretionary approval of PVP extensions and extensions will only be granted for an additional six months.
C) “Cooling-Off Period” – For certain immigration formalities (e.g., application to extend status) certain nationalities will be required to undergo a six-month “cooling-off” period versus the traditional three months.
NOTE: For any foreign national considering extending status in Malaysia, please notify your HR/Legal team to request confirmation from a qualified immigration supplier if a “cooling-off period” outside of Malaysia is required. LGI and our Malaysian Global Alliance Network supplier are ready to provide further assistance, as needed.
D) “Calling Visa” – All Student Pass applications must include submitting a “calling visa” application to designate visa authorization at the appropriate Malaysian consular post.
E) “MID Extends Minimum Processing Times” – Possibly as a result of the heightened attention given to Malaysia’s passport control measures, the MID has announced that processing by the MID of pass applications may require more than the traditional 9-10 week processing times.
F) Conversion of status (“regularizing”) – “Regularizing” one’s status from an SVP to longer-term passes (e.g., PVP, Employment Pass) may require clear proof of a valid emergency in order for a foreign national to enter Malaysia and attempt conversion of status.
It is highly recommended that companies and employees considering “regularizing” status in Malaysia should first confirm with their Malaysian immigration provider if this is feasible. The MID has expressed its preference for all foreign nationals applying for work/residence authorization to await outside Malaysia for their pass documents and, if applicable, visa vignettes affixed in their passports and process their long-stay status with Malaysian immigration control at the first port of entry.
G) Malaysian Host Entities Must Register – For those Malaysian entities that wish to host foreign workers, the MID is requiring Malaysian companies to qualify by registering on its Expatriate Services Division (ESD) website. Please contact your Malaysian immigration provider to confirm which industry sectors must register prior to submitting any employment authorization applications.
H) PVP Applications Require Personal Filing & Proof of Connection to Project – In addition to the ESD requirement, Malaysian companies sponsoring PVP applications are reminded that the MID requires filing in person by a company representative with appropriate company-issued ID. Please note that the MID may also inquire with the representative and/or host company as to the connection the sponsor has to the project and why foreign worker talent is required.
INCREASED IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT
As noted above, Interpol released a report alleging that two passengers aboard MH370 switched their Iranian passports for stolen Austrian and Italian passports. According to a recent announcement by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), there is no evidence of corruption of Malaysian immigration or customs officers in connection with the passports, “however, we did find the Iranians managed to slip through due to the policy of speeding up the clearance of foreign visitors.”
In light of this tragedy, companies and foreign nationals alike are advised that immigration enforcement and compliance will be at an all-time high as the world looks to Malaysian authorities to provide response and guidance on MH370’s disappearance. As there are already news reports of unannounced immigration inspections
(http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2014/03/05/End-of-the-road-for-illegals/), company HR and global mobility professionals may consider ensuring that all business travelers and assignees, as well as accompanying family members, are provided prior guidance for entry and observation of immigration formalities in Malaysia.
LGI thanks Pathfinder Relocation Services Sdn. Bhd. in Malaysia for contributing to this news posting.
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