How long does it take to process a Filipino domestic helper (maid) in Malaysia?

Published on 19 Dec 2023, last updated on 29 Feb 2024

If an employer has hired a domestic helper (maid) who is currently residing in the Philippines via Pinkcollar's Full Placement Service or Direct Hire service, the worker will need to undergo multiple pre-deployment and international visa processing requirements to legally enter Malaysia. The steps undertaken are required to fulfil both the Malaysian and Philippine governments’ requirements; a number of these steps are interdependent on one another.


Estimated visa processing timeline for employers hiring Filipino domestic helpers (maids) in Malaysia

1. Worker contract signing, medical examinations & biometric registration1-3 weeks
2. Employer document check, contract & visa documentation signing 1-2 weeks *Can be quicker, depending on Employer's speed
3. Malaysian Labour Department (JTK) application submission & waiting for JTK approval2-5 weeks
4. Calling visa submission & waiting for visa approval1-8 weeks
5. Worker’s pre-departure training in the Philippines1-3 weeks
6. Philippine exit procedures2-3 weeks
7. Deployment to Malaysia: On-arrival medical and Multi Entry Visa Application1-2 weeks

Step 1: Worker contract signing, medical examinations & biometric registration (1-3 weeks)

The worker undergoes a comprehensive medical examination at a Malaysian Ministry of Health-accredited clinic in the Philippines. Upon being declared as “Fit to Work”, the worker undergoes biometric registration.

The timeline can take anywhere between 1-3 weeks depending on the worker’s location (very rural, semi-rural or in urban areas where clinics are readily available) and the worker’s medical results; some workers may require additional testing or may need to wait out a menstrual cycle, temporary cold/infection before returning for final clearance. Workers' physically-signed contracts are couriered to Malaysia.


Step 2: Employer document check, contract & visa documentation signing (1-2 weeks)

The employer is required to compile personal documents requested by the Malaysian government authorities to kickstart the domestic helper application process.

Pinkcollar performs a rigorous document check for our clients to ensure document completeness based on the employer’s hiring profile, especially for unique cases where employers may not have the standard supporting documents. Once document compilation is complete, Pinkcollar prepares the full visa application bundle for the employer’s physical signing and applies for the employer's various approvals to hire a Filipino domestic helper with the relevant Malaysian government authorities.


Step 3: Malaysian Labour Department (JTK) application submission & waiting for JTK approval (2-5 weeks)

Pinkcollar will submit the employer’s hiring application to the Malaysian Labour Department (JTK) online via their ePPax system. Every employer hiring a foreign domestic helper in Malaysia is required to apply and obtain a JTK approval certificate before they can submit their domestic helper's visa application with Immigration.

If all hiring details and documents were inputted correctly based on JTK's latest guidelines, the JTK hiring approval will be received within 14 calendar days.


Step 4: Calling visa submission & waiting for visa approval (1-8 weeks*)

Pinkcollar will then submit the employer’s calling visa application to the relevant Malaysian Immigration unit. The calling visa approval lead times are highly dependent on the Immigration unit and may also be subject to seasonal fluctuations. Pinkcollar’s dispatch team makes weekly visits to the various Immigration units to check on and follow up on visa approvals.

Calling visa submission and approval times for Malaysian employers

Visa processing in Malaysia will be submitted manually (for Malaysian/ Malaysian PR Muslim employers) and via the FWCMS online system (for Malaysian/ Malaysian PR non-Muslim employers).

Employer ProfileChannelImmigration UnitVisa Approval Time
Non-Muslim Malaysian/ PROnline - FWCMSKL Immigration Office3-7 working days
Non-Muslim Malaysian/ PROnline - FWCMSSelangor Immigration Office 7-12 working days
Non-Muslim Malaysian/ PROnline - FWCMSImmigration State Offices outside of KL/ Selangor3-5 working days
Muslim Malaysian/ PRManual submission over-the-counterJawatankuasa Rayuan Imigresen (JKRIM) Putrajaya4-12 weeks
Non-Muslim Malaysian/ PR requiring special approval e.g. appeal of unusual income documents, hiring a 3rd helper and above Manual submission over-the-counterJawatankuasa Rayuan Imigresen (JKRIM) Putrajaya4-12 weeks

Calling visa submission and approval times for Expatriate employers

Employer ProfileChannelImmigration UnitVisa Approval Time
Employment Pass holderManualExpatriate Services Division - ESD Putrajaya1.5-3 weeks
Employment Pass holderManualMIDA2-3 weeks
Employment Pass holderManualMDEC2-3 weeks
Employment Pass holderManualLabuan2-4 weeks
Residence Pass holderManualResidence Pass Unit2-4 weeks
MM2H holderManualMM2H holder6-8 weeks

Step 5: Worker’s pre-departure training in the Philippines (1-3 weeks)

Depending on the worker’s employment status (first-timer or ex-abroad), the worker will be required to undergo pre-departure training, assessment and briefings by the Philippine’ government’s training authority. This step may not occur in an exact chronological order to the others because it is highly dependent on training slots and training assessment availability which happens in batches.


Step 6: Philippine exit procedures (2-3 weeks)

Once the worker’s calling visa is approved, Pinkcollar will perform Philippine employment contract registration at the Philippine Migrant Workers' Office in Kuala Lumpur and courier the physical visa and notarised contract to our Philippine agency partner. The documents will be used to apply for the worker’s Single Entry Visa (SEV) at Malaysian-accredited visa issuance centres in Manila, and for the Philippine Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) issued by the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers. At this stage, some workers may need to perform a repeat medical examination if their initial medical report (with a 3-month validity period) has expired due to long visa approval timelines.


Step 7: Deployment to Malaysia: On-arrival medical and Multi Entry Visa Application (1-2 weeks)

Upon arrival, the worker is required to undergo another medical examination run by FOMEMA on behalf of the Ministry of Health. The worker’s medical results will be released in 3-5 working days after the examination, and upon passing the examination, Pinkcollar will apply for the worker’s Multi Entry Visa (MEV) at the relevant Immigration units. This visa permits the worker to legally exit and re-enter the country any number of times as long as the visa is valid.

The MEV must be renewed every year by employers, and can be done by Malaysian employers themselves without the assistance of an agency.

The entire processing timeline may take anytime between 2-6 months depending on the unique circumstances of the domestic helper you are hiring and the Immigration unit that you fall under based on your employer hiring profile.


Challenges that foreign domestic helpers may face when processing in their home country

Workers may come from anywhere around the Philippines, including far-away islands like Mindanao, Visayas or Ilo-ilo. These workers require either a ferry or domestic flight to get to Manila for mandatory processing steps that cannot be performed in their provinces.

Because the processing steps are not always in chronological order due to factors such as training and assessment slot availability, workers may need to make more than 1 round trip to Manila to complete their pre-deployment steps. Many of these workers will also be required to quit their current jobs and be unemployed for about 2-4 months as most work contract jobs (factory worker/lady guard/sales lady) that do not permit them to take annual leave in even 4-7 day periods. Additionally, workers are usually also mothers/single mothers that will need to make arrangements for others to step in to assist with childcare, food preparation, etc. during periods that they will be away for processing.

Given these potential challenges, Pinkcollar and our partner-agencies in the Philippines add value to our clients by collaborating closely with domestic helpers to mobilise them strategically, through an approach that balances individual worker needs and cost efficiency for all stakeholders involved, to the best of our ability.

Want to hire a worker from the Philippines?

Pinkcollar is more than happy to guide you through the hiring process. View our services or give us a call—our friendly Pinkcollar officers are ready to share our service offerings with you.

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