Malaysia MM2H Program Attractive to Foreigners and Retirees

PUBLISHED ON Jul 12, 2019

Malaysia has been featured as a second home for foreigners worldwide. Having spanned decades, the Malaysia MM2H program has approved a number of visas for foreigners and retirees alike in the past.

The government-ran program grants 10-year renewable visas to non-Malaysians who wish to reside in Malaysia. Visa holders are allowed to purchase residential properties over a threshold of RM 1 million. In 2018 alone, more than RM 600 million came from 500 properties sold to applicants, including apartments, villas and townhouses. More than 21,000 visa were approved in the year.

Lim Kok Sai, the MM2H Program Agents Association president stated that from 2002 to 2018, more than RM 40.6 billion were brought into Malaysia, while RM 5.5 billion were spent on property purchases.

The foreigners’ indirect spending in commodities, food and medical tourism have also helped create jobs in the country.

In fact, Thailand and Vietnam are attractive to foreigners but Malaysia has an advantage in terms of its cultural background. With a long history of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Muslim cultures, Malaysia has a more multicultural setting compared to its neighbors. Its temperate weather and upbeat mixture of Asian values and Westernized infrastructures create ease for foreigners to blend into its multicultural setting.

A low cost of living and well-rounded living environment coupled with friendly locals, political stability and little natural disasters compared to other Southeast Asian countries are compelling factors that have attracted immigrants and retirees.  The government has also provided good infrastructure, first-class medical care and education system within affordable prices.

In other words, the country has a well mix of cosmopolitan living in KLCC and a relaxed family lifestyle in suburban areas around the city.

The MM2H program has attracted a number of Chinese foreigners. In 2016, more than 1,000 Chinese applied for the scheme and more than 7,500 applicants have been accepted into the program from 2002 to 2016. That’s 25.1% of the entire pool of successful applicants out of nearly 32,000 in 2016. Following Chinese applicants, those from Japan, Bangladesh and the United Kingdom were also keen in the MM2H program.

Hong Kong has seen growing interest on immigration to Southeast Asia, where many have eyed Malaysia as their second home or a retirement destination. In mid-June, Ashton Hawks hosted an SEA immigration seminar in Hong Kong that saw over 1,000 participants at the event, a 100% increase in numbers from previous events similar.

The rise in numbers shows the demanding interest from those in Hong Kong who may be overwhelmed by the soaring housing prices in the past years. Malaysia could provide an alternative for investors and home buyers who are looking to invest their money or relocate with their families elsewhere.