Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Malaysia has introduced a Premium Visa Programme (PVIP) to attract wealthy foreigners to invest and reside in the country for a period of 20 years, according to the country's Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.

The ‘Residency Through Investment’ programme, the first of its kind introduced by the Malaysian Government to drive the country’s economic growth, will be open for applications from October 1, he was quoted by local media as saying.

Hamzah said PVIP targets business tycoons from all countries except for Israel and those that do not have diplomatic ties with Malaysia.

He said participants of the programme will 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 make active investments in permitted fields.

Hamzah said in order to ensure that the PVIP does not undermine national security and the country’s sovereignty, his ministry has set a control policy, including the introduction of a ceiling on the number of participants - comprising principals and dependants - to not exceed 1% of the total number of Malaysian citizens.

The programme is open to all participants of all age categories with proof of having an offshore income of at least 40,000 RM, equivalent to about 8,900 USD per month.

Among the other conditions is to have a fixed savings account with a deposit of at least 1 million RM, with no withdrawals allowed on the principal value for the first year, while 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 targets at least 1,000 participants in the first year of the programme./.