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  • Elaine Sim

Navigating the Right Channels: Understanding Calling Visas and Avoiding Illegal Placements

Updated: Apr 18


To legally bring a domestic helper to Malaysia to work, the domestic helper must be approved with a calling visa first prior to entry. Without a calling visa, the domestic helper cannot be issued with a legal work permit in Malaysia.

The Calling Visa Process

Once you have identified the domestic helper that you would like to hire, you, as the legal employer, or a licensed employment agency, will need to apply for the Calling Visa with the Pembantu Rumah Asing Unit (Domestic Helper Unit) of the Sarawak Immigration Department. The proper immigration process flow is shown below.

Risk of illegal placements

The domestic helper recruitment industry is a profit driven industry. Many unlicensed agents have very little accountability and will try to offer this service without going through the proper process. This fails to serve the best interest of employers and workers.

If you are offered an immediate placement, here are some questions to ask:

1. Will the worker obtain a legal work permit?

Most of the time, many unlicensed agents are unverified and do not have proven expertise to obtain immigration permits. Some may even advise that work permits are not necessary. Unfortunately, this is untrue and very risky for employers as hiring illegal workers in Malaysia is an offence punishable by law.

2. How will the agent obtain a legal work permit for the domestic helper?

And if promises to obtain a work permit are made, beware that there is a high risk that these agents may be submitting falsified documents (such as fake medical reports and false entry stamps) in your name to the immigration department, which also puts you, as the legal employer, at risk.

Choosing the Right Path

There are many benefits to choosing the calling visa process. While going for immediate placements is attractive, going through the proper processes will save you some headache down the road, and most importantly, keep you on the right side of the law. As many licensed agents are required by law to work with licensed agents in the country of origin, there is more accountability. The risk of abscondment is also lower due to proper vetting and structured training. Most importantly, it is important to make sure that as an employer, you are obtaining legal work permits for your domestic helper to prevent breaking any laws when hiring a foreign national in Malaysia.

Our website and its contents are provided for general information purposes only and nothing on this website or in its contents is intended to provide professional advice. Please contact us at or +6082-295175 for more information.

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