The number of participants approved under the MM2H Program saw steady annual increases during the past few years.
The Ministry of Tourism Malaysia in 2012 was targeting 3,000 approved participants in the MM2H Program, up from 2,387 in 2011.
“Looking at the trends from existing and new markets and with promotional efforts by Tourism Malaysia, we are confident that we will be able to achieve this year‘s target of 3,000 approved participants. Aside from that, the education and healthcare sector also enjoys spill-over effects from this programme when our MM2H participants send their children to schools in Malaysia and use the healthcare services available in Malaysia’s hospitals,” said Siti Nani, Director of MM2H Centre, an MM2H arm from the Ministry of Tourism to help facilitate the processing and issuance of the MM2H Social Visit Pass.
From the year 2002 until 2011, the programme has managed to successfully attract 17,389 approved participants, whereby in 2011 alone, there were 2,387 approved applicants. The top countries from where the participants came from are China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, United Kingdom, Japan and Iran.
According to Siti Nani, the MM2H Program initially started out as the Silver Hair programme targeted at attracting senior citizens for a long stay or to retire in Malaysia using a five-year social visit pass in 1996 under the Department of Immigration Malaysia. However, the Ministry later changed the program into the MM2H Programme in 2002 as there were an enormous leap in the number of applications from foreigners who wish to set up homes in Malaysia, not just from retirees. Foreigners are welcome to apply to join the program using a 10-year multiple entry social visit pass so long as they fulfil the terms and requirements. This social visit pass is renewable for as long as the approved applicant wishes to remain in Malaysia, which makes this a LIFETIME social visa. Most who have tried would have known how difficult it is to get approval for a Permanent Residency (PR) status in Malaysia. To go through this route would entail stringent requirements where a PR status is not easily achieved in Malaysia. There are many instances where even spouses of Malaysians who have been living in Malaysia for years are not eligible for the PR status and had to renew their social visas regularly.
Any foreigner is allowed to purchase residential property in Malaysia so long as the minimum price per unit for most states is RM500,000 (pending the implementation of the proposed RM1 million minimum purchase price).
Among the list of reasons why foreigners opt to join the MM2H Program is Malaysia‘s diversity in terms of culture and its people, the low cost of living, freedom from natural disasters and Malaysia‘s stable economic and political environment. Best of all, you can conduct your business locally and overseas from Malaysia.
The MM2H Visa is the perfect alternative option as compared to the difficult application to get a PR status as it allows its holder the right to live in Malaysia for 10 years that is renewable, giving them peace of mind and comfort to migrate. Malaysia becomes their second home to retire, purchase properties either for their own stay and for investment, and really, the price of properties in Malaysia is stable and affordable as compared to most developed countries.
The current requirement for Fixed Deposit to be placed in bank is now in the amount of RM150,000 for those aged above 50 years old while RM300,000 applies for those below the age of 50. In the event that property purchase of more than RM1 million has been fully paid, then only the minimum amount of deposit is required.
The latest amendments in the MM2H Program policy sees allowance being made for MM2H Visa holders to withdraw part of the deposit for the purchase of car (tax-free), properties, children’s education and medical expenses. Children are eligible to apply as dependants up to age 21 instead of 18.
The demand for good location with most of the MM2H Visa holders opting for condominiums as well as gated-and-guarded landed properties. The properties generally considered by MM2H Visa holders are in safe environment and developments which are easily accessible and within a short distance of amenities and has full range of facilities ensuring comfort remains a priority. The best part is that the MM2H Visa holders are also allowed to buy more than 1 property and thus, giving them the enjoyment and privilege to invest in real property in Malaysia. In fact, having lived in Malaysia for many years, these MM2H Visa holders have become “localised” and has a sense of community in where they live.
During winter in their own countries, some MM2H Visa holders fly to Malaysia to their second home to stay for those cold months to escape the cold spells. This allow them to have quality and affordable lifestyle and save them a lot of money should they need to take a long vacation break in a tropical country.
As the government sees “quality” MM2H Visa holders, in its step to promote growth in the country, the government is now more open and encouraging for foreigners with stable and eligible background to settle down in Malaysia. This is the reason why we at Tropical Paradise advises interested applicants to apply now while the MM2H Program is still open with low requirements but high approval rate.