Malaysia’s Revised Residency Program: Tackling Cost Concerns

Posted by Written by Ayman Falak Medina Reading Time: 2 minutes

Malaysia’s government revised its residency program, the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program in late December 2023 to ease the requirements by which foreigners can be eligible for the residency permit.

The MM2H program offers foreigners the chance to live in Malaysia subject to their income and total investment in the country. The program has approved some 57,000 applicants since its launch in 2002.

Many foreigners relocate to Malaysia due to its sunny climate, good infrastructure, famed cuisine, and internationally recognized healthcare and educational institutions. However, the scheme was suspended in 2020 during the height of Malaysia’s COVID-19 crisis before being revived again in 2021 although with tightened regulations. This included increasing the monthly income threshold to 40,000 ringgit (US$8,450) from the previous 10,000 ringgit (US$2,112) limit, which according to critics, priced out most applicants, especially retirees.

As a result, the program recorded a 90 percent decline in applications over the next two years.

What has changed?

Introducing the three-tiered program

The MM2H program will be divided into three tiers.

  1. Silver;
  2. Gold; and
  3. Platinum.

Each tier differs from the other in its fixed deposit requirements as well as the length of the visa duration.

Under the silver tier, participants must deposit a minimum of 500,000 ringgit (US$105,744) and can only purchase real estate worth a minimum of 750,000 ringgit (US$158,609). Participants will then be eligible for a renewable five-year visa.

Gold tier participants must deposit a minimum of 2 million ringgit (US$422,632) and can only purchase real estate worth a minimum of 750,000 ringgit (US$158,609). Participants will then be eligible for a 15-year renewable visa.

Finally, platinum-tier participants must pay a minimum deposit of 5 million ringgit (US$1 million) and can only purchase property worth 1.5 million ringgit (US$316,980). Participants will then be eligible for permanent residency, a status that no residency program currently offers in Malaysia.

Previously, the program required all participants to deposit a minimum of 1 million ringgit (US$211,000).

Regardless of the tier, applicants have the right to withdraw half of their deposit to buy real estate and pay for medical expenses, domestic travel, or education.

Other perks offered in the MM2H program

The minimum age of eligible applicants has been lowered to 30 from 35. Further, parents-in-law can now be included as dependents if they are over the age of 60.

The maximum age of the children of the main applicant has been raised to 34 from 21, however, the child must unmarried and not be in employment in Malaysia.  

Moreover, under all tiers, the main applicant or their spouse and dependents are only required to spend 60 days a year in Malaysia, down from 90 days before the changes. This is for applicants aged between 30-49 years.

Offshore income requirement still unclear

Several outstanding questions remain, such as the proof of monthly income (previously set at 40,000 ringgit (US$8,452) has not been confirmed. However, applicants should prepare bank statements and letters of good conduct during the screening process.

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