Malaysia relaxes foreign residency rules
Malaysia has relaxed rules on foreigners wanting to live in the country as part of efforts to boost economic growth, reports said Tuesday.
The government has removed the age limit on high-income foreigners wanting to make Malaysia their second home, Deputy Home Minister Chor Chee Heung was quoted as saying by Chinese-language daily Sin Chew Jit Poh.
The "silver-hair" program to encourage retirees aged 50 and above to reside in Malaysia has been replaced with the "Malaysia, My Second Home" program, he said.
The "silver-hair" program had attracted only 795 foreigners to retire in Malaysia since it was launched in 1996 but the new scheme would woo more foreigners to stay for long periods in the country, he said.
Chor said encouraging foreigners to stay and spend in the country would boost the country's economic growth.
"The programme, which takes immediate effect, sees many conditions being relaxed compared to the previous programme. Among other things, it does not impose any age restrictions on applicants and does not require sponsors," he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Under the new program, foreign individuals with a monthly income of 7,000 ringgit (1,842 dollars) and couples with a combined monthly income of 10,000 ringgit could stay in Malaysia for five years, instead of three years previously.
Foreigners were also allowed to buy local residential properties costing at least 150,000 ringgit. Previously, they could only purchase properties costing more than 250,000 ringgit.
Chor said foreigners who wanted to purchase residential properties must seek 40-60 percent financing from local financial institutions.
Approved applicants can stay in Malaysia on a long stay Social Visit Pass with a multiple entry visa valid for five years. The visa is renewable. This program is open to all foreigners of all ages. They are allowed to bring along their dependants and one maid. Overseas income is free of tax and applicants can bring all their household effects and one car duty free into Malaysia. Alternatively new visa holders may acquire a car in Malaysia free of any duty.
Applicants above 50 years must meet one of the following conditions. Applicants below 50 years of age must meet both. In the case of a married couple only one needs to be above 50 years of age to qualify.
1) A Fixed Deposit (in a local Malaysian bank) of RM 150,000.00 if married or RM100,000 if single. The funds have to be left in the bank during the period the visa is valid.
2) A fixed monthly income over RM10,000 a month or RM7000 if single. This could be a pension, dividends or other regular income. Documentary evidence will be require as proof of the income.
These are still rather difficult conditions to enter Malaysia for a longterm stay.
How to change your Ringgit-money back and for what exchange rate, if you decide to leave? Any interests out of your deposit?
However note: This is a fixed deposit, not like in Thailand a savings account, and the visa is for 5 years (in Thailand 1 year), includes a visa for a MAID (you can bring anybody with you - girlfriend....) - you can buy a tax-free car...you can buy a condominium (but not the cheapest one like in Thailand however)
What do you think about it? Do you know anybody who did that?