Tourism insiders back Malaysia decision to relax 10-year visa policy

By Hoang Vu   April 24, 2023 | 05:14 am PT
Tourism insiders back Malaysia decision to relax 10-year visa policy
People walk on a street in Malaysia, 2020. Photo by Reuters
Malaysia's tourist industry has applauded its government's move to ease the requirements of its My Second Home (MM2H) visa program, saying it will help boost economic and tourism growth.

State Tourism and Creative Economy Committee Chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said he believed the move "was a crucial step" towards creating a more welcoming environment for international visitors.

"Imagine how much it will benefit our country if we implement our policies to achieve effectiveness and efficiency in this challenging economic climate," he told Malaysia's New Straits Times.

Anthony Liew, president of the MM2H Consultant Association, also welcomed the federal government’s decision, saying he believed the stricter requirements had caused a 90% drop in the number of applicants since being introduced in 2021.

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, requiring applicants to provide proof of RM1.5 million ($338,000) in liquid assets and a minimum of RM40,000 in monthly income.

Previously, applicants only needed savings of between RM300,000 and RM500,000.

Tourism insiders feared many expatriates would shun Malaysia for neighboring countries if the government did not ease strict conditions of the visa program.

Several Southeast Asian countries earlier launched 'golden visas' to attract wealthy foreigners with stays of 10-20 years.

Indonesia has introduced a new visa available for 5-10 years to those who hold at least two billion rupiahs (US$127,174) in their bank accounts.

Thailand's Long Term Residence visa is valid for 10 years and offers multiple entries, but applicants must hold at least $1 million in assets, a validated annual personal income of a minimum of $80,000 for the past two years and an investment of at least $500,000 in Thai government bonds, foreign direct investment or Thai property.

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