Malaysia urged to cut income requirement for 10-year visa

By Hoang Phong   October 19, 2023 | 11:57 pm PT
Malaysia urged to cut income requirement for 10-year visa
Tourists gather in front of a giant eagle sculpture at Eagle Square on Langkawi Island, Malaysia, 2018. Photo by Reuters
Experts have called on the Malaysian government to cut income conditions by half for foreigners applying for its 10-year visa program amid a drop in the number of applicants.

Gideon Yap, managing director of a relocation agency, said foreign retirees would be unable to meet the current requirement of a RM40,000 (about $8,500) income to apply for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program.

The government should reduce the monthly income threshold to RM20,000, he told Free Malaysia Today newspaper.

The visa program, which was launched in 2002, allows foreigners to stay in Malaysia for up to 10 years.

In August 2021, the government imposed stricter conditions, such as increasing the monthly income threshold from RM10,000 to RM40,000.

Since the conditions were tightened, the program has seen a 90% drop in the number of applicants, according to the MM2H Consultant Association.

A total of 1,905 of the 2,164, or 88% of applications for the visa program were approved between November 2021 and the end of September this year, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing told The Star.

Donal Crotty, chairman of the Irish Chamber of Commerce Malaysia, said he hoped that the government would revert to the program's original conditions to make Malaysia an attractive destination again, Free Malaysia Today reported.

Several Southeast Asian countries are racing to attract wealthy foreign retirees with "golden visa policies" that allow a maximum stay of 10-20 years.

Indonesia launched its so-called "golden visa" program last month, allowing foreign investors to stay in the country between 5 and 10 years, depending on the value of their investment.

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