Getting the Talent Pass in Malaysia

As perhaps some expat spouses ready to get back to the grind of paid employment have noticed, Malaysian authorities have made changes in immigration guidelines and work permits for spouses are now hard to get. Enter Talent Corp, a government initiative for “enhancing graduate employability, promote talent diversity, engage Malaysians abroad and facilitate foreign talent.”

Of particular interest is the Resident Pass – Talent, often referred to as Talent Pass, a 10-year renewable pass for highly qualified expatriates – and their spouses – to continue to reside and work in Malaysia. After having recently gone through the Talent Pass procedure, I can say that the process is straight forward and fairly quick.


You have to fulfill certain criteria such as education, industry and salary. Most importantly, the main applicant must have worked in Malaysia for 3 years. A comprehensive list of requirements can be found here.

The website has a comprehensive list of supporting documents needed for the application. You may have to source some documents from your home country, and get them certified by your embassy – so start preparing early and take into account the extra cost of certification. The required local contact person can be a friend, colleague or a neighbour – it does not mean they are sponsoring you a vouching for you, as many seem to think. We found that the help desk was most helpful and got back to us quickly with replies throughout the process.

The online system is clear and you can move between different steps freely. This means you can save the draft application and come back to add more. I’d recommend going through the forms after creating your account to find out exactly what documents need to be uploaded. Photographs also need to fulfill a specific criteria.

Our experience of visiting the office in Cyberjaya was pleasant: no queues, and they even have a reserved parking spot for TalentCorp visitors. We have already had the permit transferred to a new passport, which took a few days and only cost some tens of Ringgit (differs based on nationality). Obviously you should be smarter and renew your expiring passport before applying.

Talent Pass: to do after getting it

If you start working after getting the Talent Pass for the first time in Malaysia, you’ll also have to register for income tax. If you have a grasp of BM this can be done online. If like me you are not fully conversant, the filled form can be dropped off at the tax office – I did mine in the modern branch at the PJ Trade centre. Do take along a your spouses’ tax number and passport, or you will be asked to send them in afterwards. Expat Go has prepared this great tax guide to help you with filing taxes.


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6 Responses

    1. Yes, the main applicant needs to have worked for 3 years (you can start applying before the time is up) – it is meant for people already in the country. You can email the helpdesk with any questions, we found them very helpful.

      1. Hello , my husband worked there for 3.5 years and moved out in 2015. now if he gets employment in Malaysia again , can he use the past experience to apply for talent pass . thanks

        1. Hi! I am afraid this is something you should ask TalentCorp. They are usually very helpful, just drop them an email of give them a call, and they will be able to give you the correct and up to date information. Good luck!

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