Langkawi, Malaysia

Malaysia Revamps Long-Term Visa Program with New Tiers and Relaxed Rules

Malaysia has introduced new tiers and relaxed requirements for its My Second Home (MM2H) program. This move, announced by the Malaysian government, follows persistent appeals from tourism industry insiders and a notable decline in the number of applicants in recent years.

The revamped MM2H program, which allows foreigners to reside in Malaysia for up to 10 years, now features three distinct tiers: silver, gold, and platinum, each with varying prerequisites. As reported by the New Strait Times, the platinum tier requires participants to deposit a fixed amount of RM5 million (US$1 million). After one year, they are permitted to withdraw up to half of this amount for specific expenditures such as purchasing properties with a minimum price of RM1.5 million, healthcare, or domestic tourism.

For those opting for the gold category, a fixed deposit of RM2 million (US$431K) is necessary, while the silver tier demands a minimum of RM500,000 (US$107K). These revised financial requirements mark a significant shift from the program’s earlier, more stringent conditions.

Another notable change is the reduction in the mandatory residency period. Participants across all tiers are now required to reside in Malaysia for a total of 60 days annually, a decrease from the previous 90-day requirement. This adjustment is expected to make the program more appealing to a broader range of potential applicants.

Furthermore, the program has lowered the minimum age requirement from 35 to 30 years, widening the scope for younger applicants seeking long-term residency in Malaysia. This change reflects Malaysia’s commitment to attracting a diverse demographic of international residents.

The new conditions of the MM2H program are set to undergo a year-long trial period starting from December 15, as stated by Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. This trial phase will allow the government to assess the effectiveness of these changes in attracting more applicants.

Launched in 2002, the MM2H program has been a cornerstone of Malaysia’s strategy to invite foreign nationals to reside in the country for extended periods. However, in 2021, the government imposed stricter conditions, including a higher offshore income requirement of at least RM40,000 per month and a fixed deposit account of at least RM1 million. These stringent measures led to a dramatic 90% drop in the number of applicants, as reported by the scheme’s consultant association.

Between November 2021 and the end of September this year, only just over 1,900 out of 2,160 applications were approved under the MM2H program. The new relaxed rules are a response to this decline and are aimed at making Malaysia a more attractive destination for long-term foreign residents.

The MM2H program’s revamp is a strategic move by Malaysia to boost its appeal as a long-term residency option for foreigners. By easing the requirements and introducing tiered options, the Malaysian government hopes to attract a larger number of applicants, thereby contributing to the country’s economic and cultural diversity.

This initiative is part of Malaysia’s broader efforts to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on its tourism sector and to reposition itself as a welcoming and accessible destination for international visitors and residents alike.

Recently, the Malaysian government has introduced a 30-day visa-free entry programeffective from December 1, which extends to citizens from various countries including China, India, Turkiye, and several Middle Eastern nations.

Photo shows: Langkawi beach

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