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Brunei – Work Permits and Working Legally

Necessity of Work Permits for Expats in Brunei

Working legally in Brunei as an expat often requires obtaining a work permit. These permits are essential for foreign nationals who wish to be employed within the country. Understanding the process and requirements for obtaining a work permit is crucial for expats seeking employment in Brunei.

Who Must Submit the Application?

In Brunei, both the expat employee and their employer play a role in the work permit application process. While the employer must initiate the application and act as the sponsor, the expat employee is also involved in providing necessary documents and information.

Exemptions from Work Permits

There are certain exemptions and simplified processes for specific categories of individuals in Brunei. These exemptions may depend on the nature of the work, the length of stay, or the individual’s nationality. Some potential exemptions or special categories may include:

  • ASEAN Agreement: Nationals of ASEAN member countries may enjoy simplified work permit procedures in Brunei under the ASEAN Agreement on Services.
  • Temporary Visitors: expats entering Brunei as temporary visitors for certain activities, such as business meetings, may not require a work permit.
  • Residence Agreement: Some expats who hold a residence agreement in Brunei may be eligible for specific work permits.

It is crucial for expats to verify the specific exemptions and eligibility criteria with the relevant Bruneian authorities or consult legal experts to ensure compliance with immigration policies.


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Types of Work Permits for Expats in Brunei

Brunei offers various types of work permits and visas to accommodate different categories of expat workers. Some common work permits and visas include:

  • Employment Pass: This pass is suitable for expats planning to work in Brunei temporarily, typically for a specific job or project.
  • Permanent Residence Pass: expats who intend to reside in Brunei permanently and work in the country can apply for a permanent residence pass.
  • Professional Visit Pass: This pass is designed for expats providing professional services in Brunei, such as consultants or trainers.

The eligibility criteria, application requirements, and the duration of permits can vary depending on the type of work permit or visa. expats should consult the Immigration and National Registration Department of Brunei or seek legal advice to determine the most suitable permit for their situation.

Procedure to Apply for a Work Permit in Brunei

The process to apply for a work permit in Brunei typically involves the following steps:

  1. Job Offer: expats seeking employment in Brunei must secure a job offer from a Bruneian employer. The job offer is a crucial first step in the process.
  2. Employer Sponsorship: The Bruneian employer serves as the sponsor and initiates the work permit application on behalf of the expat employee. The employer submits the required documents to the Immigration and National Registration Department.
  3. Application Review: The Immigration and National Registration Department reviews the application, including the job offer, employment contract, and supporting documents. The processing time can vary, but it typically takes several weeks to months.
  4. Medical Examination: expats may be required to undergo a medical examination to ensure they meet health requirements.
  5. Approval and Visa Issuance: Once the application is approved, the Immigration and National Registration Department issues a work permit or pass. With this authorization, the expat can apply for a visa at the nearest Bruneian consulate or embassy in their home country.

It is essential for both employers and expat employees to ensure that all required documentation is complete and accurate to avoid delays or rejection of the application. Legal assistance or consultation with immigration experts can be beneficial in navigating the process.

Documents Required for a Work Permit in Brunei

When applying for a work permit in Brunei, expats typically need to provide a set of required documents. While the specific documentation may vary based on the type of permit and individual circumstances, some common documents include:

  • Valid passport with at least six months’ validity
  • Job offer or employment contract from a Bruneian employer
  • Educational and professional qualifications and certificates
  • Passport-sized photographs
  • Police clearance certificate from the applicant’s home country
  • Medical examination reports (if required)
  • Work permit or pass authorization from the Immigration and National Registration Department

It is crucial to verify the exact document requirements with the Immigration and National Registration Department or the Bruneian consulate or embassy where the work visa application will be submitted. Additionally, certified translations of documents not in the Malay language may be necessary.

Costs Involved in Applying for a Work Permit in Brunei

Obtaining a work permit in Brunei may involve various costs, which can vary based on the type of permit, the duration of the permit, and the applicant’s nationality. These costs typically include:

  • Application processing fees: The Immigration and National Registration Department may charge processing fees for work permit applications. The fee amount can vary.
  • Visa fees: Depending on the applicant’s nationality, additional visa fees may apply.
  • Medical examination fees: If a medical examination is required, there will be associated costs.
  • Police clearance certificate fees: Obtaining a police clearance certificate may incur additional expenses.

It’s essential to budget for these expenses when planning to work in Brunei as an expat. Applicants should check the latest fee schedule with the Immigration and National Registration Department or the Bruneian consulate or embassy in their home country for accurate cost information.

Reliable Sources for Information on Working Legally in Brunei

Expats seeking reliable information on working legally in Brunei can refer to the following sources:

  1. Immigration and National Registration Department: The official website of the Immigration and National Registration Department of Brunei provides detailed information on visas, work permits, and immigration procedures. It serves as a comprehensive resource for expats.
  2. Bruneian Embassy or Consulate: The nearest Bruneian embassy or consulate in the expat’s home country can offer guidance, answer specific queries, and provide application forms.
  3. Legal and Immigration Experts: Consulting with immigration lawyers or experts familiar with Bruneian immigration law can offer personalized guidance and support throughout the work permit application process.

Staying informed about the latest immigration policies and requirements is crucial, as they can change over time. expats should rely on official government sources and seek professional advice when necessary to navigate the complexities of obtaining a work permit in Brunei.


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