Today marks the first day we officially return to the office in Penang and I must say I have mixed feelings. My surfer and biker friends often talk about retirement or taking time off to ride the mountain passes of Leh & Ladakh in Northern India or surf uncrowded waves in Sri Lanka or other locations which can’t be mentioned openly! Unfortunately, being time poor, these “dreams” remain as they are. It was therefore with great reluctance that I went into Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (“MCO”), our equivalent of the “lockdown” on the 18th of March, 2020. As I reflect on this mixed feeling of going back to the office, I realise it stems not so much from the resentment that this was wasted time which could have been have used to learn tube riding or to carve mountain roads as much as it is about giving up a routine I’ve gotten into and actually enjoyed. Although I initially begrudged being dragged away from my work routine, over the past few weeks I’ve actually enjoyed some moments of solitude. I took stock, realigned priorities and experienced numerous “I see the light moments”. These being a luxury we never had with the noise and bustle of life sprinting full speed ahead.
As Malaysia partially relaxes the MCO and offices in the private and public sector start to open, albeit in a new work environment, guidelines are being released by the authorities to address issues which have cropped up for foreigners as our country grounded to a sudden halt in March, 2020.
From an immigration perspective, during the MCO period, the social visit passes of MM2H applicants who have come into Malaysia to submit their applications may have expired as have the MM2H visas of some MM2H holders. What do these people do?
Today’s guideline (refer below) which has been issued by the Ministry of Tourism (MM2H) on the 6th of May, 2020 address these concerns. As usual, should you require further clarifications, do contact the Ministry of Tourism. We can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org should you prefer to work through us.
IMMIGRATION PROCEDURES (UPDATES 6TH MAY 2020)
RENEWAL OF VISA FOR MALAYSIA MY SECOND HOME (MM2H) MEMBERS THAT EXPIRED DURING MOVEMENT CONTROL ORDER (MCO)
All MM2H members who have overstayed during MCO is enforced will be issued a Special Pass by the Immigration Department of Malaysia. The visa fee for the Special Pass is exempted temporarily for the situation. However, the issuance of Special Pass is subject to the following situation:-
a. Those Social Visit Pass holders whose pass expired during MCO are allowed to proceed with the first endorsement of the MM2H Long Term Pass. However, the foreign visitors must first apply for the Special Pass at the Immigration Unit, MM2H Centre, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and subsequently will be allowed to proceed with the first endorsement of the MM2H Long Term Pass at the same venue.
b. Those Social Visit Pass holders whose pass expired during MCO and have entered Malaysia to apply for Add On/Dependents First Endorsement of MM2H Long Term Pass, must first apply for the Special Pass at theEnforcement Unit, Immigration Headquarters. Subsequently will be allowed to proceed with the first endorsement of the MM2H Long Term Pass at the Immigration Unit, MM2H Centre, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
c. Those MM2H members who applied for 10 years visa renewal or extension of remaining 10 years, whose visa expired during MCO, must apply for the Special Pass at the Immigration Unit, MM2H Centre, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture while awaiting approval.
d. For the MM2H Dependents Pass holders whose pass expired during MCO but the Principal holder of MM2H visa is not in Malaysia, the MM2H Dependents Pass holders must apply for the Special Pass at the Immigration Unit, MM2H Centre, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. The Special Pass will be given for a duration until the Principal is able to renew the pass.
e. Those MM2H domestic helper work permit that expired during MCO, the Principal/Employer must first apply for the Special Pass at the Immigration Unit, MM2H Centre, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture before proceed to do the medical check-up (Fomema) for the domestic helper. Subsequently, after obtaining the result of the Fomema, the Principal holder of MM2H visa may proceed with renewal of domestic helper visa at the same venue.
f. Please be reminded that all Immigration related transaction at the MM2H Centre only via appointment.
Malaysia My Second Home Centre
Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture
6 May 2020
Author: Sam Choong
Sam Choong is a lawyer practising in Malaysia. His areas of practice include estate planning, wills and UK inheritance tax for expats residing or seeking to retire in Malaysia.