By Moustafa Daly
After its previous version was deemed unpopular, Malaysia’s My Second Home (MM2H) investor visa program has just been revamped with eased restrictions and varying packages, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing announced in December.
"The objective is to simplify the often-criticized MM2H application procedures by introducing more flexibility and clarity," the minister said in a statement.
“The changes completely address the program’s shortcomings because the previous program was made in a rush, explains Ch'ng Toh Ghee, managing director at Alter Domus, a Malaysian investment consultancy. “This new government, which started in November 2022, is more receptive and they came up with this program that addresses the needs of potential applicants.”
Eased conditions for this residency by investment (RBI) program include lowering the minimum age from 35 to 30 years old, expanding the definition of dependents to include unmarried children up to 34 years old, parents, and parents in law, and reducing minimum stay requirements to 60-cumulative days a year, down from 90 days. The minimum stay requirement can be shared between the main applicant and spouse/dependents.
Ghee explains, however, that the announced changes aren’t the end game, with the government set to release more conditions at an unspecified later date detailing when applications will open, minimum income requirements, and liquid assets requirements.
The new MM2H also offers a route to permanent residency, notoriously unattainable by foreigners otherwise.
“Unless you have great skill and knowledge in certain fields, it’s not easy to get a permanent residency in Malaysia, explains Ghee, nodding to the possibility of this option making the program much more attractive to applicants seeking permanent residency in the country.
New packages for Malaysia My Second Home
The previous MM2H version, in effect since 2021, required applicants to deposit at least RM1 million (approx. $214,000) in a Malaysian bank and provide proof of monthly income equivalent to RM40,000 (approx. $8,600) or more.
Deemed unaffordable by a recent government review, the revamped MM2H strives to address affordability concerns by removing the monthly income requirement and announcing three tiers/packages: Platinum, Gold, and Silver.
The Silver package, at a fixed deposit of at least RM500,000 (approx. $107,000), is the only one more affordable than the original MM2H, notwithstanding the scrapped income requirement.
The Gold package requires a deposit of RM2 million (approx. US$427,000), and the Platinum package requires a deposit of RM 5 million (approx. $ 1.07 million); that is the only one to offer a route to permanent residency in Malaysia.
“Based on my clients, probably 75% will be going for the Silver; 15% maybe for the Gold and another for Platinum,” Ghee forecasts.
The MM2H stands out in that the amount of investment is all refundable to investors at the end of the visa validity period, plus interest.
Regardless of tiers, all MM2H holders have the right to withdraw up to 50% of their deposits within a year for investing in real estate, education, domestic travel, or health expenses.
Who is the new MM2H designed for?
In addition to business leaders and entrepreneurs, Ghee expects the program to be particularly popular among pensioners looking for an affordable and serene retirement destination.
“We aim to attract a different crowd than the previous version of the program” explains Ghee. The program now would attract those who are going to retire or planning to retire, and they are likely to leave their home countries because their home country may be overrun by illegal immigrants like in the EU or North America,” he predicts.
Another unlikely source destination is Singapore, from which Ghee is witnessing much interest in MM2H, which he expects to surge following the launch of the new version.
Applications for the MM2H can only be submitted through licensed agents by the Tourism Ministry.
Powered by Froala Editor