Sabah MM2H

Sabah Launches Its MM2H Visa Programme

Image Credit: Sabah Tourism
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After a few delays, the East Malaysian state of Sabah has finally released the details of its own MM2H programme and is now taking applications.

Sabah has finally released details of their MM2H visa, and they look a lot more attractive than the federal version. It is open to anyone aged over 30 and is strictly a residential visa with no entitlement to work.

Single applicants must show a monthly income of RM10,000, and ‘families’ have to show an income of RM15,000. We assume that couples are considered families. Approved applicants have to place a fixed deposit of RM150,000 (RM300,000 for a family). Again, we assume a couple is regarded as a family.

The visa is for 10 years, which is actually two periods of five years. Like the federal programme, there is a requirement to buy property, with Sabah saying it should be a high-rise property with a minimum purchase price of RM600,000. That is the same value announced in the West Malaysia MM2H visa. Sabah requires purchasers to hold on to it for five years versus the 10-year requirement for the national visa. Given that the Sabah visa is issued for 10 years, the property requirement will certainly be considered more reasonable for applicants. It is not clear how much time applicants have to purchase the property. We assume it will be within a specified period after approval, although the neighbouring Sarawak MM2H visa for property owners requires they acquire it before applying for the visa.

A partial withdrawal (40%) of the fixed deposit is permitted after two years for selected purposes – property purchase, car deposit, education for children, or medical expenses.

The annual visa fee is RM500 a year, which is the same as the federal visa, and there is an application processing fee of RM3,000, which is non-refundable.

Applicants can apply directly online. There is currently some disagreement with the federal government regarding using an agent to assist with the visa application. While it is accepted that Sabah and Sarawak control immigration related to their states, the federal Ministry of Tourism claims to have authority over all MM2H agents, regardless of where they are located. They have instructed all existing MM2H agents to stop marketing the visa and advised they are no longer permitted to submit new applications unless they re-register their agencies. The new requirements for agencies are a lot more onerous than the previous conditions.

The state government in Sabah has voiced strong objections to the federal government imposing conditions over agencies in their state, and the outcome of this dispute has not been resolved. The Sarawak tourism minister has also voiced opposition to this federal interference with their programme.

We will keep readers advised as things become clearer. At this point, both the Sarawak and Sabah MM2H visas would seem to be more appealing to prospects, and the only issue is how interested people would be in settling in one of those two states.

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