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Work Permit in Brunei

Is a Work Permit needed in Brunei?

In Brunei, a work permit is essential for foreign nationals due to the country’s unique economic structure and labor market dynamics. One of the primary reasons for this requirement is to protect the employment opportunities for Bruneian citizens. Brunei’s small population means that the government must carefully manage its workforce to ensure that locals have access to available jobs. By requiring work permits, the government ensures that foreign workers are only hired in positions where there is a clear shortage of local talent, thus prioritizing employment for Bruneians.

Another significant reason for the work permit requirement in Brunei is the need to support the country’s economic diversification goals. Traditionally reliant on oil and gas, Brunei is working to diversify its economy by developing other sectors such as finance, tourism, and technology. The work permit system allows the government to attract highly skilled foreign professionals who can contribute to these emerging sectors. This targeted approach helps in filling critical skill gaps and promotes the transfer of knowledge and expertise to the local workforce, which is crucial for the country’s long-term economic development.

Legal compliance and labor standards are also important considerations in Brunei’s work permit system. The government uses the work permit process to ensure that foreign workers are employed under conditions that meet Bruneian labor laws. This includes ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, and access to social security benefits. By enforcing these standards, the government aims to prevent exploitation and abuse of foreign workers, ensuring that all workers in Brunei are treated with respect and fairness.

Additionally, Brunei places a high priority on maintaining social harmony and cultural integrity. The work permit process includes thorough background checks and verification of qualifications to ensure that foreign workers are suitable and do not pose any social or security risks. This scrutiny helps maintain the country’s social cohesion and cultural values, which are important aspects of Bruneian society.

Job Market in Brunei

The economy of Brunei is dominated by the oil and petroleum industry, making the nation a recurrent member of the world’s richest countries list. With a booming economy and English as the official business language, the number of foreigners searching for jobs in Brunei has grown substantially. 

Brunei is also a famous work destination for ASEAN nationals looking for overseas job opportunities. Brunei is classified as a developed country second to Singapore in the Human Development Index in South East Asia. The Brunei government has also started an online job portal called Job Centre Brunei, where foreign workers can browse for job opportunities.

Work Permit in Brunei

Number of Expats:


Expats Job Websites:

Popular Industries for Expats:

Petroleum and Gas Sector, Banking, Hospitality, Construction, Education

Types of Brunei Work Visa

For foreigners, Brunei work permits and work visas are of the following categories: 

Business Visa:

The Business Visitor Visa (BVV) is issued to anyone who wants to invest, start, or participate in a business meeting in Brunei. Anyone who possesses valid APEC Business Travel Cards (ABTCs) with an approved “Valid for Travel to BRN” can enter Brunei without a BVV. 

Professional Visit Visa (PVV):

This Visa is issued to anyone who will undertake professional work or is a field expert. Brunei usually offers this visa to foreigners to oversee a project in Brunei. PVV is issued for a maximum of 3 months. 

Employment Visa:

Issued to those who want to stay and work in Brunei. Brunei offers exemption from the Employment Visa to nationals of Singapore and Malaysia. 

Apart from the work visas, Brunei has a few work permits that it issues to foreign workers.

Lesen Pekerja Asing (LPA):

Lesen Pekerja Asing is the Foreign Worker License issued by the Brunei government to foreigners. The LPA is valid for two years (24 months max) from the day it is issued, with an option to renew as and when needed. 

Employment Pass:

The Employment Pass is a long-term work authorization pass, and everyone needs to obtain this to work in Brunei legally. One can apply for the Employment Pass after they get the PLA. 

Special Authorization Work Pass (SAWP):

This is a non-renewable license issued to an applicant if they plan to work in the oil and petroleum sector, IT sector, or construction. This pass is given on the condition that the employee will leave the country within a year. SAWP is issued for a maximum of 12 months only.

Green Smart Identity Card:

This is part of the Smart Identity Card system of the Brunei government. Every person residing in Brunei will be issued a card depending on their status, whether they are citizens, permanent residents, or foreigners. The Green Smart Identity Card is issued to foreigners only, on the condition that they:  
Have an immigration pass 
Want to stay in Brunei for more than three months. 

Therefore, depending on the work commitments, an applicant will have to apply for Brunei work permits as per their situation.

Brunei Work Permit Requirements

Every foreigner who wants to work in Brunei needs a valid Employment Visa issued by their respective country’s High Commission of Brunei Darussalam. This visa will be authorized by the Immigration and National Registration Department of Brunei. 

For those of applicants who will be applying for an Employment Visa in Brunei, the following documents are required by the Brunei Consul:

  • A completed Visa Application form
  • A passport, which will be valid for the next six months, along with six unmarked pages
  • A copy of the passport
  • A copy of the immigration approval letter
  • Two recent passport photographs, no longer than 6 months old, on a white background
  • A copy of the flight ticket (one way) to Brunei, with the flight itinerary
  • A medical checkup form and results

For those of applicants who will be applying for Lesen Pekerja Asing (LPA) in Brunei, the following documents are required by the authorities:

  • Two completed applications of the Foreign Worker Form.
  • A copy of the passport along with the original, which will be valid for the next six months; the passport should have six blank pages.
  • A copy of the employee’s identity card.
  • A copy of the verification document of mandatory registration issued by the Job Centre Brunei.
  • A copy of the employer’s Company Registration Form (Section 16 and 17, Form X).
  • A copy of a letter of approval from relevant government agencies (only if applicable on case-to-case basis).
  • A copy of your employees qualifications for the post they’ll be taking up in Brunei (depends on case-to-case basis)
  • If the applicant will undertake work in the construction sector during their stay in Brunei, a copy of upcoming and ongoing projects.

Application Processing Time

The visa application, for all the different visa types, is processed within five working days and will be issued if approved in that time frame. The application for LPA will be processed by the Labour and Immigration Department of Brunei. The employee will get  the pass in 5 working days. 

The application for the SAWP will be processed by the Department of Immigration and National Registration. Once successfully submitted, the applicant will get their pass in 3 working days.

Cost of Brunei Work Permit

The Brunei Work Visa application fee information will be made available to the applicant by the High Commission of Brunei Darussalam to their country. Brunei Embassies around the world provide the visa fee details in the domestic currency of that respective country. As a result, certain price variations may occur due to fluctuating currencies. To contact and enquire about the same, please refer to this list of Brunei High Commissions around the world. 

This Is How Multiplier Can Help With The Brunei Work Visa

We are a Global EOR firm with experience in handling and supplying HR solutions, with a local presence in over 150 countries. For Multinational Corporate Companies that seek effective personnel management, our team of professionals can handle the process of onboarding and managing the staff. 

Brunei has strict immigration laws and visa requirements. As a result, Brunei work permits and visa applications are spread across multiple departments. Partnering with Multiplier and its in-house specialists can provide you with a one-stop solution to this entire process. We will take care of all the applications from the start and keep you abreast of their progression.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Brunei offers several types of work visas and permits:

  • Business Visa (BVV): For those intending to invest, start, or participate in business meetings in Brunei.
  • Professional Visit Visa (PVV): For professionals or field experts overseeing projects, valid for up to three months.
  • Employment Visa: Required for those who intend to stay and work in Brunei for an extended period. Nationals of Singapore and Malaysia are exempt from this requirement.
  • Foreign Worker License (Lesen Pekerja Asing, LPA): Issued for up to two years, renewable.
  • Employment Pass: A long-term work authorization pass needed for legal employment in Brunei, applied for after obtaining the LPA.
  • Special Authorization Work Pass (SAWP): For non-renewable, short-term work in specific sectors like oil, IT, or construction, valid for up to 12 months.
  • Green Smart Identity Card: Issued to foreigners staying in Brunei for more than three months

Requirements include:

  • A completed visa application form
  • A passport valid for at least six months with six unmarked pages
  • A copy of the passport
  • Immigration approval letter
  • Two recent passport photos
  • A flight ticket and itinerary
  • Medical checkup form and results​

The process involves:

  • Submission of necessary documents by the employer to the Labour and Immigration Department
  • Approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Immigration and National Registration Department
  • The applicant must then submit documents to the Brunei consulate in their home country
  • For long-term work, obtaining an Employment Pass after receiving the LPA is required​

The processing time for most visa types, including the Employment Visa and Employment Pass, is about five working days. The Special Authorization Work Pass (SAWP) is processed in three working days​

Yes, certain work permits like the Foreign Worker License (LPA) can be renewed as needed. However, the Special Authorization Work Pass (SAWP) is non-renewable and limited to a maximum of 12 months

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