By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi
Brunei is among the most popular destinations for foreigners looking for career opportunities in ASEAN. Over the years, the country has emerged as a wealthy economy fueled by the largest oilfields in Southeast Asia. With a growing economy and English as its business language, the number of foreigners looking to work in Brunei has increased significantly.
In this article, we provide you with a brief explanation of the procedures and documents required for obtaining an employment permit in the country.
As a general rule, all foreigners traveling to Brunei for employment purposes must obtain a valid employment visa and employment pass before entering the country. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule. Foreigners from the following countries traveling to Brunei on a short-term business or professional visit may travel without an employment visa for a limited period.
Nationals of Cambodia, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Myanmar, Norway, People’s Republic of China, Philippines, Peru, Qatar, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam, may visit Brunei without an employment visa for a period of 14 days. Citizens of Australia, Iceland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Singapore, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, and Ukraine can visit for a maximum period of 30 days without an employment visa.
Citizens of the United States and the European Union are allowed a visa-free business visit for 90 days.
Cases eligible for a visa-free visit include cultural, technological or scientific conferences, seminars or meetings, and unpaid participation in athletic or performing arts events or competitions.
Foreign workers traveling from other countries or ones visiting on a long-term business contract must obtain an employment visa authorized by the Department of Immigration and National Registration from a Brunei embassy or consulate.
Procedure and documents required to obtain an employment visa
The government of Brunei issues employment visa to foreigners in line with the employment contract. For foreign workers to be employed in the country, the employer must seek approval letter from the foreign worker department of the Immigration and National Registration Department.
Additionally, employers must satisfy the following requisites:
- Have a labor quota license issued by the Commissioner of Labor, Labor Department, Brunei Darussalam; and
- Be legally registered with the Legal Department, Brunei Darussalam.
Upon initial approval, the foreign workers are required to undergo a pre-employment medical examination in their country of residence as per the conditions set by the Ministry of Health, Brunei. Once the medical report is received and approved in Brunei, foreign workers must file the following application documents:
- An application letter from the employer to the Director of Immigration and National Registration;
- An employment pass application form;
- A visa application form;
- The employer’s labor license;
- Labor Department Form 500;
- A passport recognized by the Brunei Director of Immigration and National Registration, with a validity of more than six months before entering the country; and
- Required fee.
After the documents are verified and visa application is approved, the applicant may collect the employment pass from the relevant Brunei diplomatic mission. The pass is valid for a period of two years and can be renewed for another two years at a time. The processing time for an employment visa is five working days.
Foreigners entering Brunei on an employment pass with a validity of more than three months are required to register with the national registration identity card system for a smart identity card, also known as Green Identity Card. This card must be renewed each time the employment pass is renewed or extended. It is issued by the Immigration and National Registration Department.
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Dezan Shira & Associates is a pan-Asia, multi-disciplinary professional services firm, providing legal, tax and operational advisory to international corporate investors. Operational throughout China, ASEAN and India, our mission is to guide foreign companies through Asia’s complex regulatory environment and assist them with all aspects of establishing, maintaining and growing their business operations in the region. This brochure provides an overview of the services and expertise Dezan Shira & Associates can provide.
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