The agreement reached by the government's pandemic taskforce on foreign workers has been hotly anticipated by vital sectors like palm oil plantations and rubber glove manufacturing, which rely on migrant labour.
"The Special Committee on Pandemic Management today agreed with the proposed standard operating procedures for the entry of foreign workers into Malaysia, especially to meet the needs of the plantation sector," Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement.
Migrant worker quotas and entry dates for other industries are still being ironed out, he said.
Malaysia is reliant on some two million documented migrant workers to produce everything from gloves to iPhone parts.
Empty chairs are seen at The Datai Langkawi resort beach, as Langkawi gets ready to open to domestic tourists from September 16, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, Malaysia September 14, 2021. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng
The rubber gloves industry had also appealed to the government to allow foreign workers to return to meet growing demand this year and next.
From mid-November, Malaysia will also allow certain international travellers to visit its tropical holiday island of Langkawi, reopening its borders to foreign tourists for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
The prime minister said Malaysia is targeting vaccinated, "high-yield" and "quality" tourists, indicating those that will spend money and help boost the economy. It was not immediately clear how such tourists would be targeted.
Tourists must show a negative COVID-19 result and vaccination certificate and have travel insurance of $80,000, he said.