Malaysia has introduced a premium visa programme (PVIP) to attract wealthy foreigners to invest in Malaysia and reside in the country for a period of 20 years, says Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin.
He said the "Residency Through Investment" programme, the first of its kind to be introduced by the government to drive the country’s economic growth, would be open for applications from Oct 1, 2022.
Hamzah said PVIP was open to business tycoons from all countries except Israel and those that do not have diplomatic ties with Malaysia.
He said programme participants would be given benefits in the form of visa approval for up to 20 years, permission to study, permission to purchase real estate for residential, commercial or industrial purposes, and permission to make active investments in permitted fields.
"Programme participants are also allowed to work and carry out legal business activities in accordance with the laws of the country," he said at a press conference in Putrajaya today, also attended by immigration director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud.
Hamzah said to ensure that the PVIP did not undermine national security and the country’s sovereignty, his ministry had set a control policy, including the introduction of a ceiling on the number of participants – comprising principals and dependents – not exceeding 1% of the total number of Malaysian citizens.
"We have to set a ceiling so that it does not exceed 1% of the total number of Malaysians.
"If there are 30 million citizens now, then it means that there should only be 1% (300,000). The ceiling number also includes (participants) of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme," he said.
Hamzah said the programme was open to participants from all age categories with proof of an offshore income of at least RM40,000 per month or RM480,000 annually.
Other conditions include a fixed savings account with a deposit of at least RM1 million, with no withdrawals allowed on the principal value for the first year. Up to a 50% withdrawal from the principal value will be allowed after that for the purchase of real estate, or health and education purposes.
Hamzah said his ministry was targeting at least 1,000 participants in the first year of the programme, which would provide an estimated RM200 million in revenue to the country, as well as RM1 billion in fixed savings.
"The home ministry is confident that this programme will be able to attract more foreign direct investment that will strengthen the economy and increase job opportunities for locals.
"Demand for the ringgit will also increase, strengthening its value," he said.
He also assured that the immigration department and the police would carry out monitoring and enforcement to ensure that the programme complied with its policies and goals.