PUTRAJAYA: Major investors and businesses will only have to wait five working days to secure approval of work permits for expatriates following the opening of the Immigration Department’s Expatriate Services Division.
The division, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, would improve the process, which used to take more than a month.
Officially launched by Najib yesterday, the division acts as a one-stop centre for expatriates to submit all related immigration matters.
“With the new processes introduced, major investors and businesses will experience a significant improvement in securing approval for work permits.
“In the past, companies had to wait for over a month to secure approval for employment pass applications. Going forward, Immigration will commit to a client charter of five working days to process the applications by companies registered with the division,” he said.
Also present were Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Immigration director-general Datuk Aloyah Mamat.
The creation of the division was announced in 2012 by Najib as an initiative to attract and retain top foreign talent as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
Najib said the division would offer an integrated service, covering all expatriates’ needs, including Employment Pass, Dependent Pass, Social Visit Pass, Professional Visit Pass and Residence Pass.
“The model here will be replicated in other states, beginning with Johor and Penang. The Expatriate Services system will also be expanded to cover expatriate approving agencies such as Malaysian Investment Development Authority and Multimedia Development Corporation,” he said.
Acknowledging that talent is a critical ingredient in the country’s economic transformation, Najib said it was important to attract skilled employees from abroad, especially in an open growing and globalised economy like Malaysia.
“Foreign talent helps address skill gaps and creates a more diverse and experienced talent pool. We will continue to work to attract the best foreign talent to live and work in Malaysia,” he said.
He added that the more than 2,000 top expatriates who had been approved for Residence Pass as of the end of 2010 were high-end employees who had contributed to the country’s unparalleled growth and development.
Najib later chaired a dialogue with heads of foreign chambers of commerce and leading corporate figures on the retention of top foreign talent.