Govt rolls out premium visa programme to draw rich investors

PETALING JAYA: The government has launched a new premium visa programme to draw rich investors to settle in the country, similar to Golden Visa initiatives in Singapore, Thailand and Portugal.

Home minister Hamzah Zainudin said the Premium Visa Programme (PVIP) will be open to affluent individuals from all countries except those that had no diplomatic ties with Malaysia.

The number of applicants will be capped at 1% of the Malaysian population. This limit includes the number of participants under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.

The PVIP does not replace the MM2H programme aimed at retired foreigners seeking to settle in Malaysia. Participants are not eligible for citizenship.

Applications for the PVIP open on Oct 1. Those eligible are individuals of all ages with an offshore income of at least RM40,000 a month or RM480,000 a year.

Applicants must have at least RM1 million in their bank account and are only allowed to withdraw 50% of that amount after a year for the purchase of property or to pay for medical and educational expenses.

Successful applicants are allowed to bring their spouses, children, parents, in-laws and domestic workers as dependents subject to existing immigration laws.

Hamzah said applicants will have to pay a one-off RM200,000 participation fee. A one-off RM100,000 fee will be levied for each dependent.

Children of participants over the age of 21 are not considered dependents and must apply to be a PVIP participant to remain in the country.

He also said applicants and dependents will also need to submit a Letter of Good Conduct from the authorities of the country they are currently residing in.

The PVIP is applicable for 20 years, with renewals granted once every five years. This process includes having a valid passport, updating personal information, screening by the police and medical checks in Malaysia.

Applicants and dependents must also have health insurance.

As part of the benefits of the PVIP, participants will be allowed to buy properties (subject to state laws), study, invest and conduct business.

“The ministry is confident that the PVIP will draw global tycoons,” Hamzah said, adding the government was targeting 1,000 participants in the first year who will contribute RM200 million to the economy and fixed deposits of RM1 billion.

“We are also confident that the programme can draw more foreign direct investment (FDI) that can strengthen the economy and create jobs for Malaysians. Demand for the ringgit will also increase and its value will also strengthen,” he said.

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