By Moustafa Daly
Malaysia has announced that its immigration department is expecting a total of RM 5 billion ($1.1 billion) this year, driven by its offering of various immigration programs including the recently-launched residency-by-investment Premium Visa Programme (PVIP).
“This collection of revenue is generated from the employment levy (and) we expect revenue collection of more than RM5 billion because we have also started the PVIP programme,” said Malaysia’s home minister Hamzah Zainudin at a recent press conference.
“The PVIP campaign is actively carried out abroad to attract foreigners to invest in the country,” he added.
Malaysia starts new residency by investment program
The program was just launched in September, being available to applicants at the beginning of October, and citizens of any country, of any age, with the exception of Israel, are eligible to apply given a minimum investment of RM 1 million ($215,000) deposited in a local bank and a guaranteed monthly (passive) income of at least RM40,000 ($8,644)
The processing fees for the PVIP are set at RM200,000 ($43,000) for the main applicant and an additional RM100,000 ($21,540) for each dependent.
The PVIP isn’t the first residency-by-investment program to be launched by the Malaysian government. Predating it is the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program. The MM2H was temporarily suspended in the aftermath of Covid-19, only to later become available again however reopening with major changes, significantly raising the minimum deposit and monthly income required. Applying those changes, the Malaysian Immigration Department wants to attract quality applicants and they felt the best way to do this was to significantly raise the entry requirements, as per the official MM2H page.
Given the new requirements, how do Malaysia’s PVIP and MM2H differ?
Malaysia’s PVIP and MM2H compared
While PVIP allows applicants of any age, MM2H is only available for candidates 35 years and above. They both share the minimum deposit value of RM 1 million, however the MM2H also requires proof of liquid assets amounting to RM 1.5 million ($330,033).
Similar to PVIP, MM2H requires proof of passive monthly income of at least RM40,000 ($8,644). The processing fees for MM2H are notably lower, at RM 5000 ($1100) for the main applicant and half of that for each dependent.
In both cases, half of the RM 1 million bank deposit can be used by the visa holder a year after being granted the visa, only for “the purposes of purchasing real estate, educational or medical expenses,” as per Malaysian government documents.
How does Malaysia’s PVIP fare in South East Asia?
“Given close proximity to Singapore, and the stark contrast to Singapore’s residency requirements and the high thresholds of Singapore's Global Investor Programme, Malaysia’s PVIP is a viable option for those who want to conduct business or retire in the SEA region,” explains Dominic Volek, managing partner and head of Southeast Asia at Henley & Partners.
“It has many advantages to the program of Singapore, including affordable cost of living, fixed deposit requirement is for only one year, after which applicants can withdraw 50% for certain expenses.
“Some of the advantages to regional programs include expensive visa cost for dependents, the fact that it doesn’t lead permanent residency or citizenship under any circumstances, and lack of healthcare benefits,” further elaborates Volek.
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