By Uglobal Staff
The Malaysian government has reactivated its Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) long-term visa program following a months-long, post-pandemic freeze, announcing several key changes to minimum amount threshold requirements, making the scheme even more exclusive for wealthy foreign professionals and retirees.
The Malaysian Immigration Department will begin processing applications under the revamped MMH2 program from October this year, according to the Malaysian Home Affairs Ministry.
Before the program was abruptly halted as the country grappled with the impact of COVID in early 2020, the MM2H program had generated billions of dollars in revenue for the Malaysian government and allowed tens of thousands of foreign applicants to live multiple years in the country, according to the ministry.
Around $2.8 billion (or 11.89 Malaysian ringgit, also known as RM) were generated via the MMH2 program between 2002 and 2019; a total of 57,478 foreign applicants, including dependents have benefited from the visa program so far.
NEW VISA CAP INTRODUCED
The Malaysian government has introduced a MMH2 visa ceiling in the program, saying that at no time would the number of successful applicants along with their dependents exceed 1% of the entire Malaysian population.
"The government understands the concerns and anxieties of the people on the entry of foreigners through the MM2H Program who fear it will increase the numbers of foreigners in Malaysia," a government statement read.
MMH2 NOW TARGETS WEALTHIER FOREIGNERS
Apart from expected conditions like no prior criminal records and good recommendation letters, successful applicants would now also be required to stay for at least 90 days per year in the country.
They would now need to have an offshore income of at least RM40,000 (around $9,500) per month; an amount that previously was RM10,000 (around $2,362).
The fixed savings account threshold too has increased to at least RM1 million (around $240,000), 50% of which could be used for buying property, or spending on health and education purposes. The previous threshold for this used to be between RM150,000 (around $35,436) and RM300,000 (around $70,871), depending on whether you were aged above 50 or below.
Moreover, the government has decided that applicants who are between 35 and 49 years of age would now need to have an additional RM50,000 (around $11,812) in their fixed savings account for each dependent such as a spouse or children or parents-in-law.
Applicants would now also have to show liquid assets worth at least RM1.5 million (around $354,359); the previous threshold for this used to be between RM350,000 (around $82,684) and RM500,000 (around $118,120), depending on whether you were aged above 50 or below.
Administrative fee costs have also gone up. An applicant is now required to pay RM500 (around $118) as an initial fee as well as a new processing fee of RM5,000 (around $1180) for the main applicant and RM2,500 (around $590) for each dependent per year. Previously, this cost would come to overall total of just RM90 ($21).
The MMH2 visa would now also have to renew every five years instead of the previous 10 years.
The Home Affairs Chief Secretary Dahlan hinted the revamped and now more expensive MMH2 program was part of a new policy, which would "regenerate the Malaysian economy to realize the government's strategy in ensuring the success of the National Recovery Plan," the statement added.
LOCAL POLITICS MIGHT IMPACT MMH2 CHANGES
Malaysia is currently in the midst of a political crisis and it remains unclear how long the recent changes to the MMH2 program will remain in place. Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is expected to seek a vote of confidence from the parliament in September and if he loses the vote and ends up being replaced, it is possible that the changes to the MMH2 program could be amended, some industry professionals believe.
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