Asia-PacificEditor's PicksIntel & Data

With More Than 100,000 Participants, Malaysia’s M2H Is The World’s Biggest Golden Visa

First, a correction:

IMI has inaccurately reported on Malaysia M2H statistics in the past. The Malaysian Ministry of Tourism and Culture publishes, on its website, statistics on “participant approvals” for the program by year and country of origin. IMI had presumed the term “participant” included dependents. As it turns out, it does not, which means the program is much wider in scope than previously thought.

Following a recent email correspondence with the program’s director – Datin Sharifah Ikhlas Aljaffree – it has become clear that the term represents main applicants only.

The implications are momentous; a correct interpretation of the data means the MM2H is the world’s largest investment migration program by number of main applicants and by individual visas. In 2018, the MM2H approved 27% more main applicants than even the US EB-5 program.

Between its opening in 2002 and July 18th this year, official records show the program had approved 43,943 main applicants. While the Ministry did not have figures for the number of family members on hand, the number of dependents included in residence by investment applications for other programs typically hovers between 2 and 3.

Want to know more about the Malaysia M2H program? To see recent news, statistics, official links, and more, please visit the MM2H Program Page.

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Even at a very conservative estimate for MM2H of only 1.28 family members per main applicant, the overall number of program participants would exceed 100,000. The actual figure is likely in the 130-150,000 range. Many of them have bought properties in Malaysia’s beleaguered “Forest City”, a $100 billion mega-project fewer than three kilometers from Singapore.

By revenue, however, Malaysia is still far from the top; see The 10 Most Lucrative Golden Visas Last Year, According to the Statistics.

75 of the firms listed in the Residence and Citizenship by Investment Company Directory offer assistance with the Malaysia M2H program, while several more are registered (without websites) on the Ministry’s website.

Nearly half of MM2H participants are Chinese, while South Koreans (13%), Japanese (7%), Bangladeshi (6%), and Hongkongers (6%) take up a sizeable proportion of visas.

Image credit: Sasaki

Christian Henrik Nesheim AdministratorKeymaster

Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.

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