The Residence Pass is an alternative to the Entry Permit, where the Residence Pass holder will enjoy same benefits as an Entry Permit holder. This includes being able to change employers without restriction. However, the holder of the Residence Pass will not be entitled to unlimited stay in the country. Further, unlike the Entry Permit, the Residence Pass does not provide for Permanent Resident status nor the right for citizenship of Malaysia.
The features of the Residence Pass include the following:
- The holder will be allowed to stay and work in Malaysia for between 5 to 10 years (with an option to renew).
- Unlike the Employment Pass, the Residence Pass is personal to holder and will not be bound to a specific employer.
- Spouse and children below 18 years old will also be given the Residence Pass and enjoy the same benefits as the principal holder. For example, the spouse will also be able to work in Malaysia.
- The Residence Pass will also be offered to Malaysian diaspora abroad, who may no longer be Malaysian citizens.
Approval for Residence Pass is subjected to applicants meeting several criteria. The criteria include having relevant qualifications and experience related to the critical sectors identified under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). The implementation of the Residence Pass represents another value-added initiative by the Ministry of Home Affairs to ease the entry of top foreign talent and highly skilled professionals into the country. This initiative is also one of the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of the Ministry of Home Affairs for 2011.