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Asia Property Investment Visas

More and more overseas property investors are looking to Asia for investments, and often are also looking for a visa to allow them residence for retirement.

So where are the best places in Asia to obtain a residence visa from property investment?

Over the next two weeks we look at a few of the best options, taking into account the level of bureaucracy involved (the less the better), value for money on your investment, and also ensuring that the residency programs are genuine and above board.

South Korea

Although you cannot actually get residence in South Korea through just buying property – investment in a local business is required – the residence program is one of the few in Asia that can actually lead to citizenship.

South Korea’s foreign investor program is called a D-8 Visa. The minimum requirement is KRW300,000,000 (about US$272,000) and you must show company balances among other documents to prove your company is feasible.

You can nationalise as a Korean citizen after five years of living in the country and also learning the language, shortened to two if you marry a Korean citizen.

The one place in South Korea where you can get residence simply from property investment is Jeju Island, where you must buy property worth KRW500,000,000 (around US$450,000) or more in order to qualify.

Overseas property investors on Jeju, along with their spouse and any minor children, are granted residency for three years. The visa can be renewed indefinitely if you continue holding the asset.

Malaysia

The most comprehensive residency program available in Asia is the My Second Home visa program in Malaysia. This program gives you a 10-year residence permit that’s renewable indefinitely.

In addition, you also benefit from free medical insurance, work permits for investors aged 50 or above, and being able to import personal items tax free. A spouse, children, and even a live-in-maid can be brought into Malaysia as your dependents under the program.

Investors under 50 years old must show proof of liquid assets worth at least RM500,000 (about US$125,000).

They must put RM300,000 in a term deposit at a bank to obtain and keep Malaysia permanent residence. You can withdraw RM150,000 of that amount to buy property in Malaysia after holding it for one year.

If over 50 years of age you must show RM300,000 (around US$75,000) worth of liquid assets and keep RM150,000 in a Malaysian bank. They can withdraw RM100,000 for property after a year.

Monthly recurring income of at least RM10,000 coming from abroad must also be proved to ensure a residency visa in Malaysia.

Next week we look at Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Thailand.

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