Malaysia’s My Second Home (MM2H) program, a visa initiative launched in 2002 that allows foreigners to stay in the country for up to 10 years, is set to become more flexible, according to Malaysian Tourism, arts and culture minister Tiong King Sing.
The announcement comes after the government imposed stricter conditions on the program in August 2021, requiring applicants to provide proof of RM1.5 million ($338,000) in liquid assets and a minimum of RM40,000 in monthly income.
Previously, applicants only needed savings of between RM300,000 and RM500,000.
What is Malaysia My Second Home Programme?
Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MM2H) is a visa initiative introduced by the Malaysian government to promote the country as an attractive destination for non-Malaysians who wish to retire and live there for a more extended period of time. The MM2H scheme provides a renewable multiple-entry visa to successful applicants from around the world.
The Ministry of Tourism and Culture originally proposed the programme as a means to attract potential residents from abroad and showcase Malaysia as a welcoming place to live. With its flexible terms and favourable climate, the MM2H programme offers an attractive option for those looking to make Malaysia their second home.
90% Drop in the Number of Applicants
The stricter conditions sparked heated discussions among visa holders, who said the new rules are too strict. The MM2H Consultant Association also revealed that the program has seen a 90% drop in the number of applicants since the new conditions were introduced.
“If such conditions persist, I believe many expatriates will no longer choose Malaysia and will seek our neighbouring countries, which are easier for them to meet the eligibility requirements to settle there,” said Penang’s State Tourism and Creative Economy Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, as quoted by Bernama.
Southeast Asian Countries Compete for Wealthy Foreigners
Several Southeast Asian countries have been competing for wealthy foreigners by launching their own “golden visa” programs that offer stays of many years. Indonesia, for example, has introduced a new visa available for a period of five or ten years to those who hold at least two billion rupiahs (US$127,174) in their bank accounts.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Long Term Residence visa is valid for 10 years and offers multiple entries, but applicants must hold at least $1 million in assets, a validated annual personal income of a minimum of $80,000 for the past two years and an investment of at least $500,000 in Thai government bonds, foreign direct investment or Thai property.
Cambodia also introduced its 10-year “golden visa” program that allows foreigners to apply for Cambodian citizenship after five years and gain access to insurance coverage and VIP medical treatment.
Implications for Malaysia’s MM2H Program
The move to make Malaysia’s MM2H program more flexible could respond to the drop in the number of applicants since stricter conditions were imposed. The country’s government may be hoping that the changes will attract more foreign investment and boost its economy.
However, with neighbouring countries offering more lenient eligibility requirements, Malaysia will need to work hard to stay competitive in the race to attract wealthy foreigners.
(Source: ChannelNews Asia)
Follow and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and Google News for the latest travel news and updates!