When Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) Programme was put on hold, I took the opportunity to take my website offline for some fine-tuning. So, I am excited to be back to share my thoughts in writing. The inaugural article since the revamp of my website is also about the revamped Malaysia My Second Home Programme. Instead of regurgitating the surprisingly well-covered criteria in the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs webpage (see: https://imigresen-online.imi.gov.my/eservices/doc/sistemPortalMM2H_FAQ.pdf), I’m going to make a commentary here based on the needs of a potential foreign applicant researching a possible relocation to Malaysia under MM2H. I have also gone through the numerous questions which were posed to us in the FAQ section of my website as well as by our immigration clients for this purpose.
In a nutshell, MM2H is a long-term visa which allows the successful applicant, their spouse, children under 35 years, and parents above 60 years, the right to remain up to five years (renewable for a further 5 years) in Malaysia with the right for multiple entry and exit from Malaysia. It is open to all foreign citizens — aged 35 years and above — of a country that is formally recognized by Malaysia. MM2H is overseen by the Home Ministry (Immigration Department).
PROS OF MM2H
Purchase of residential property at a lower financial threshold
Foreigners are generally only permitted to purchase certain types of higher-end properties (usually foreigners are allowed to purchase properties with a value of RM1,000,000/- and above). In certain states, the financial threshold is lowered for MM2H visa holders. An application to the State Authority is, however, still required for purchase by foreigners. Malaysia has clear laws on property ownership and is one of the few countries in the region allowing foreigners to own freehold landed properties. Please take note that Malaysia is a federation of states and each state has their own autonomous guidelines, so check with your legal adviser or contact us before committing to a purchase to avoid any legal issues.
Dependents such as your spouse, your common-law wife, parents or parents-in-laws, single children under 35 years, or disabled children regardless of age, can join. The revamped guidelines are not all doom and gloom. Granted, the financial threshold has increased from the previous ones but fortunately, this comes with a wider class of dependents who can join.
Malaysia has a source-based or territorial taxation system. At the moment any income derived from abroad is not subject to tax.
Tax Identification Number or TIN
Foreigners who stay more than 182 days or own properties can apply for a TIN registration.
Malaysia offers a safe and welcoming environment where a low cost of living, good schools and world-class medical care (a significant number of our doctors and professionals are trained in the UK, USA, Australia, and Hong Kong) are pull factors. (This you can obtain from various other sites). Most of my clients tell me that Malaysians are generally warm and hospitable, especially to foreigners. Some may say we are disorganized, sometimes unreliable, have a dysfunctional government, tardy, and breakers of the occasional rules. I will concede that these may have a degree of validity, but the consensus amongst my foreign clients is that we are generally a welcoming bunch, to give credit where credit is due. I believe Malaysia’s USP for foreigners is that it’s way easier to make lifelong friends in Malaysia, not only with other expatriates but also with my fellow Malaysians.
CONS OF MALAYSIA MY SECOND HOME
Minimum stay requirement of 90 days for the main applicant
Although this can be cumulative over 5 years, it may present a problem for some applicants who need to spend time elsewhere for whatever reasons. We are inserting a proviso here because these are new guidelines, and we believe our interpretation of the minimum stay requirement is correct at the time of writing. We will come back to update this section if there are any developments.
Higher financial threshold as compared to Sarawak MM2H
You are not allowed to work but you can set up a company in Malaysia as an investor and reap your profits by way of a shareholders dividend. If you wish to work, there are various other visas you can consider.
The aim here is to filter out the noise and give foreign applicants the main points of the MM2H programme so they can decide whether or not this is suitable for them. I assume you will work with a consultant who will walk you through the administrative details so I shall skip those details and focus on the main questions at the back of the minds of my foreign clients. If the details are what you need, please feel free to email me at [email protected]. My Executive Summary of MM2H shall be broken up into the following stages:
A. The Application Stage
B. The Post Approval Stage
C. Miscellaneous Important Information
A. MM2H APPLICATION STAGE – What are the requirements?
What do you need to qualify? As with most countries, our authorities seek applicants who are financially capable of looking after themselves as well as contributing to our country. Not surprisingly, the main criteria at the Application Stage are therefore a financial one, along with the need for a letter of good conduct. Here are the main requirements:
- PROOF OF FUNDS:
The applicant needs to show income of at least RM40,000 (or its equivalent in the relevant foreign currency of the applicant) per month. Bank statements for the prior 3 months to submission of the application are required as proof. Items such as salary, property rental, fixed deposit interest, and annuities made out into the name of the applicant can be considered income. Income from the applicant’s spouse can also be taken into account for 30% of the income requirement.
In addition to showing proof of income of at least RM40,000 per month, the applicant is required to show they have liquid assets of RM1,500,000 (or its equivalent in the relevant foreign currency of the applicant). This is in turn divided into 2 subsections:
- Primary Sources of Liquid Assets
Bank statements for the prior 3 months to submission of the application are required as proof. Items such as bank fixed deposits, savings and current accounts in the name of the applicant can be considered liquid assets.
- Secondary Sources of Liquid Assets
If the primary source is inadequate, secondary sources up to 30% of RM1,500,000 can be considered in making up the balance. Secondary sources include shares, investments and insurance with a surrender value.
This is the letter of good conduct which is typically obtained from the authorities such as the police in the applicant’s country of residence. As the name suggests, this serves to show that the applicant is a person of good standing.
B. POST APPROVAL STAGE – What are the requirements?
- FIXED DEPOSIT
The final step in the process is to have your passport and those of your dependents stamped with the MM2H Visa approval. Prior to this, the applicant would need to open an account with a bank in Malaysia and place a fixed deposit in the amount of RM1,000,000 for the duration of the MM2H Visa. For those applying with family who are below the age of 50 years, an additional RM50,000 per dependent is required to be placed into the fixed deposit account. Age has its privileges in Malaysia. Applicants who are 50 years and above, and who are applying with family do not need to top up their fixed deposit.
An amount up to RM500,000 can later be withdrawn for purposes such as property purchase, and medical or education expenses in Malaysia.
- SECURITY BOND
This ranges from RM200 to RM2,000 depending on your nationality and is paid to the Immigration Department as security.
A medical check-up with a doctor in Malaysia is a pre-requisite for a passport endorsement.
- MEDICAL INSURANCE
Medical insurance is required for applicants below 60 years
c. MISCELLANEOUS IMPORTANT INFORMATION
I. Minimum stay in Malaysia
There is currently a requirement for the MM2H holder to stay a minimum of 90 days in Malaysia each year. Do ensure that you are able to comply as this may be taken into account when it comes to the renewal of your visa.
II. How long does the process take?
Upon submission of a complete application, it will take between 90 to 120 days (Please take note that the Peninsular MM2H Programme has just been restarted, so these are estimates. I shall revisit this once we have more information).
III. Who can be your dependents?
- Your children up to the age of 34 years, provided they are not married;
- Parents or parent-in-laws of the main applicant
Got more questions? Leave your details below and we will get back to you on your questions.