Retired Brits being lured to South-East Asia
British retirees are being lured to South-East Asia by the ease of getting a long-term visa, the better weather and the low cost of living. The number of retired Brits moving every year to countries like Thailand and the Philippines is in the thousands.
Malaysia too has soared in popularity as it launched its My Second Home (MM2H) programme in 2002. The Malaysian government has attracted over 20,000 expats to settle in the former British colony and has implemented a series of measures to help foreigners settle in. They also established an Expat service division that is used to assist foreign settlers and have also increased the number of long term visas and work permits being handed out.
As well as Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand are offering long term visas to retirees in an effort to bolster their economies. The cost of living in these countries is incredibly low when compared with the ever increasing costs being experienced in the United Kingdom and the amount of wealth that retirees bring with them allows them to live a life of relative luxury.
The biggest attraction for foreigners hoping to start a new life in sunnier climes is the ability to buy any number of properties. Some restrictions do remain with some areas setting minimum purchase prices for foreigners normally around £100,000 worth. Malaysia and the Philippines have both reduced their minimum investment quotas to attract immigrants; currently Malaysia requires an investment of £30,000 for you to receive a long-stay permit and visa, be aware that purchasing property counts towards this figure. For the Philippines the minimum investment declines the older you get making it an ideal place for elderly retirees.
The loose attitudes to immigrants in those nations is in stark contrast to the strict immigration policy enforced in Singapore which demands that expats are in work before being able to settle. According to official immigration figures British citizens top the list of Thailand’s long stay scheme, followed by the Americans and the Germans, altogether up to 35,000 applicants settled in Thailand in 2011.
Here is a link to Malaysia’s MMSH programme: http://www.12retireinmalaysia.com/web/12retire/