Malta has introduced a number of residency programmes aimed at attracting a broader talent pool of investors and entrepreneurs to the island. We work on such programmes through one of our our partner companies and recommend that their specialist advice is sought prior to taking a decision on applying for any of these programmes, a summary of which follows.
Malta Company Formation and Residence
We are frequently asked by prospective corporate clients whether incorporating a company in Malta gives an automatic right for the company owner to reside in Malta. This is not the case: approval to reside and work in Malta is only granted to third country national shareholders who have a fully paid up share capital of at least € 500,000 which may not be redeemed, reduced or transferred to a third party during the first two years following the issuing of the Employment Licence.
It goes without saying that as a full member state of the European Union, Malta does welcome individuals who are citizens of EU countries. Such relocations do require a registration process with Identity Malta, the national authority for all matters relating to personal immigration and the granting of rights to reside and/or work in Malta.
Work Permit in Malta
Malta’s economy has grown year on year for several years now leading to large expat population on the island. Third country Nationals are required to apply to Identity Malta for a single permit that encompasses both the right to reside and to work in Malta.
Work permits are issued for a limited period, usually one year, following which the permit must be renewed. Malta adopts a restrictive approach to issuing such work permits and applicants need to submit a number of documents to support their application including certain documents from the employers’ side.
We are pleased to assist our corporate clients in their role as employer with the formalities required for them to engage employees from outside the European Union/EEA.
Malta Ordinary Residence
Acquiring Maltese Ordinary Residence is an attractive residence solution currently available to EU, EEA nationals, as well as nationals of Switzerland (and their family members) seeking to transfer their tax residence to Malta.
Malta Ordinary Residence permit holders benefit from the right to reside and work in Malta, as well as travel freely across the Schengen area. Families moving to Malta enjoy a cosmopolitan lifestyle, a high standard of education and healthcare which are free for those working and paying social security contributions in Malta. The process usually takes some 8 weeks from the submission of the application.
Malta Residence & Visa Programme
The Malta Residence & Visa Programme (MRVP) is a programme open to non-EU Nationals, granting its beneficiaries the right of free travel within the Schengen Area and the right to reside in other Schengen country apart from Malta for up to 90 days in every 180 days. Such residence permit will also grant its beneficiaries the right to reside, settle and stay indefinitely in Malta. The relative EU Residence card is then renewed every 5 years as long as the applicants maintains a residential property in Malta.
The MRVP is available to self-sufficient applicants against an investment commitment in Malta government bonds to be kept for a period of five years as well as the requirement to purchase or rent property. A governmental fee of €30,000 is also to be paid by the Main Applicant.
There are various grounds on which one can acquire Maltese citizenship, although the most common routes are through birth, marriage, descent or naturalisation.
It is also possible to apply for Maltese citizenship through investment after a period of three years of residency which may be reduced to one year following an exceptional contribution by the Main Applicant. An applicant is also required to purchase or rent a property in Malta and make a philanthropic donation of at least €10,0000. This route to citizenship is only available to 400 applicants yearly.
This programme has proved extremely successful with non-EU entrepreneurs and business owners who travel frequently within the EU or otherwise wish to establish themselves in Europe.
Malta Global Residence Programme
The Malta Global Residence Programme (GRP) builds on the success of Malta’s reputation in attracting expatriates and families seeking an alternative residence base in a warm Mediterranean Island in the European Union, with the primary objective to obtain a Special Tax Status in Malta. The Programme is open to Non-EU nationals and offers Schengen residence coupled with attractive taxation rates. To qualify for the Global Residence Programme, one must buy or rent a residence in Malta, be economically self-sufficient and pay a minimum annual tax of €15,000.
Maltese residents under this programme are not subject to tax in Malta on foreign sourced income that is not remitted to Malta. Beneficiaries of the GRP are entitled to taxation at the flat rate of 15% on remitted income, whilst the foreign capital and capital gains shall not be subject to tax in Malta, unless used for everyday expenses. Locally generated income under the GRP is subject to tax in Malta at a flat rate of 35%.
A similar scheme granting special tax status and a flat tax rate of 15% on foreign income remitted to Malta is available to EU nationals under a programme known as The Residence Programme (TRP).
All of the programmes mentioned above require annual maintenance in the form of permit renewals, tax returns, annual compliance, and other formalities. The immigration team includes experienced lawyers and tax officers that assist clients in meeting all their obligations ahead of the various deadlines, ensuring that their status in Malta is safeguarded and keeping clients updated on any developments in the law that may impact them.