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Many foreigners decide to relocate to Malaysia as it’s one of the most livable places in Asia.
The food and weather is great, the locals speak English and it’s just easy getting around. Not to forget, the medical care offered (yes, Malaysia has many foreign medical tourists).
A strong contributor is also the fact that Malaysia offers a long term visa called MM2H (Malaysia My 2nd Home) to foreigners.
In fact, a few other countries in Asia have similar long term visas and it’s getting increasingly popular, especially among Chinese people.
So: today I’ve invited Andy Davison to help us explain more about the MM2H and the benefits it brings.
Andy is the Founder and CEO of TEG Media (The Expat Group) that helps foreigners with MM2H and other Media services in KL.
He founded the company over 20 years ago, which proves that he has a long on the ground experience, worth listening to.
Andy, welcome. Can you please tell us about yourself, your company and how you help foreigners in Malaysia?
I started my company in 1996 after spending 25 years travelling the world with American Express.
I decided to start a magazine for the expat community. We offer it free of charge to all expats living here. It’s a full colour 90 to 100 page magazine which we call (no surprise) The Expat.
We also added a news and information website called www.ExpatGo.com which has proved equally popular with Malaysians. Content for both the website and the magazine is very Malaysia focused so we help people learn more about their current place of residence.
We also organise events for expats – a monthly sit down wine dinner and a stand up networking evening we call ‘Mingles’.
Many expats contact us for information about Malaysia, and some companies, news media and government departments contact us for information about expats.
I assume that you’ve had, or currently possess, an MM2H visa? For how long time has it been around and how did you hear about it?
I do not have a MM2H visa as you are not allowed to work full time with this visa.
I have Permanent Residency (PR) here. We became involved in the MM2H programme soon after the government came up with the idea and they wanted our input into the various terms and conditions.
We then became an authorised agent for the programme and set up a website www.MM2H.com which has a free help desk. Over the last ten years, we have handled thousands of questions about Malaysia and the MM2H programme.
Simply speaking, foreigners often apply for an MM2H visa if they want to relocate to Malaysia. Do I need an MM2H visa to buy property, or do I need to buy property to get the MM2H visa? Can you explain more about the process when applying for MM2H?
You can buy property without joining the programme and there is no requirement to buy property if you do join. You do not even have to relocate here.
Some people, from troubled countries, like the visa in case they have to make a rapid exit from their homes.
What agency or authority should I contact when applying for MM2H? Are there any documents I should prepare in advance?
Applicants can either apply directly though the government website www.MM2H.gov on their own or use an authorised agent.
There are multiple documents required and some people find it onerous to prepare all these and deal with the immigration authorities.
Agents take away a lot of the stress and escort them to carry out the various requirements – get a medical, open bank accounts travel to and from immigrations etc.
They also help and advice on many other requirement to come and live here.
How much does it cost to apply for and get an MM2H visa? Do I need to pay some kind of MM2H agent fee?
If you use an agent, they typically charge around RM 10,000 (around USD 2400) for a couple (not per person).
The only additional fees are government charges for the visa itself which amounts to around RM90 per year.
What are the requirements to be eligible receiving an MM2H visa? Is my nationality, income, age or professional experience in Malaysia of importance, for example?
It’s basically a retirement programme as you are not permitted to work full time here with the visa. They may approve you working part time (up to 20 hours a week) with a local company.
The visa is good for ten years, or until your passport runs out and then you get the balance of the ten years in your new passport.
Basically to qualify for the programme you have to show a net income exceeding RM 10,000 per month. They also have to show proof of liquid assets exceeding RM350,000 (RM500,000) if under 50 years of age.
Once they are approved they must place a fixed deposit with a local bank of RM150,000 (RM300,000) if under 50.
They do not care if you have lived or worked here before and your prior profession is not of interest to them as long as you meet the financial criteria.
Let’s say that I want to bring my family over to Malaysia. Or that I get married to a foreign citizen who doesn’t have any MM2H visa. What should I do to make them eligible coming to Malaysia?
If you have the visa it is fairly straightforward to add your spouse or a new wife) as a dependent on your visa.
Do I need to stay in Malaysia for a minimum period of time each year, when I’ve received the MM2H?
There is no such requirement. You can come and go as you wish or not even come here once you have the visa
What are the major benefits of having an MM2H visa? Any drawbacks?
Basically you just have the right of abode, and that’s it.
In order to buy property all states in Malaysia have a minimum purchase price, under which foreigners cannot buy property. A few states like Penang set a lower limit for people with an MM2H visa.
The key benefit of the visa is that Malaysia offers an attractive lifestyle at a very affordable price. It also does not tax foreign sourced income so people can live here tax free.
How difficult is it to get an MM2H visa? Is it common that people get rejected or need to wait a long time? How can people resolve these issues?
It usually take around 3 to 4 months to get the visa.
If you meet all the income requirements you will be approved but they do check applicants quite thoroughly including contacting their bank and requiring a police report.
Thanks Andy. Finally, is there anything you want to tell our readers that are interested in relocating and applying for an MM2H visa in Malaysia?
We interact with a lot of MM2H visa holders who have relocated to Malaysia and the vast majority are very happy with the decision.
If anyone has any question they can contact us through our website: www.mm2h.com