The Maltese Government announced the introduction of a Maltese Permanent Residence programme granting indefinite residence rights upon successfully completing due diligence and the settlement of official fees to the Government. Maltese Permanent Residence is the latest investment migration programme to be launched in Malta.
The Maltese Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Communities announced the launch a programme for Maltese Permanent Residence, expected in March 2021 currently being debated in the Maltese Parliament. Maltese permanent residence is expected to replace the Malta Residency and Visa Programme (MRVP) over the next 3 months. In the last 5 years, the MRVP raised €50m in revenues €24m of which were invested directly to the Consolidated Fund, the Government was considering a new name, “Permanent Residence”, which was more akin to what the MRVP really entailed.
The junior minister was addressing an official consultation meeting with accredited agents today. He also announced the establishment of a new agency ‘Residency Malta Agency’, that would be responsible for administering the new Malta Permanent Residence Programme. The Parliamentary Secretary shared his ongoing work in view of “possibly linking the new Permanent Residence Programme with the Maltese Citizenship Regulations.” In his introduction, the Parliamentary Secretary expressed that he “expected the immigration market to grow Post-Covid”, and that the idea behind these proposed changes is to “attract more investment to Malta” while also keeping a close eye on similar programmes operated by other European Union countries. The Government plans, even after the new Malta Permanent Residence Programme is approved by Parliament, to keep listening to industry feedback and reform and improve Malta’s Residence Programme, over time.
Upcoming Changes in Permanent Residence Programme
- A faster processing time while upholding high standards of due diligence.
- The MRVP will be discontinued.
- New Malta Permanent Residence Programme Regulations awaited.
- Concessionaire role will be terminated.
- Bonds investment requirement will be abolished.
- Official government contribution will be €68,000 or €98,000 if investor buys / rents property respectively.
- Minimum property purchase price €300,000 (South of Malta or island of Gozo) and: €350,000 for the rest of Malta.
- Minimum property rental rates €10,000 and €12,000 respectively.
Qualifying Investments for Permanent Residence in Malta
It is being proposed that under new regulations, the requirement to invest in government bonds would be removed altogether, while a mandatory donation to a Maltese registered NGO is being recommended, set at €2,000..
The government contribution is considering an increase from €30,000 to €68,000 should the applicant choose to buy a qualifying property; or €98,000 should a property be leased instead. Qualifying property in the south of Malta must be purchased for a minimum of €300,000 or rented for €10,000; while properties in the rest of Malta must have a minimum value of €350,000 or €12,000 in the case of rent. Stakeholders seem to converge on a moderate increase in the government contribution in cases where applicants choose the rental of property over buying a qualifying property. Studies have also shown that an increase in the minimum property purchase values would be sustainable but a change in the minimum rental value was discouraged.
Eligibility for Permanent Residence in Malta
Family applications continue to be favoured by the Malta Permanent Residence Programme, allowing the following to be included in a family application for permanent residence::
- unmarried couples in a long term relationship and
- dependent unmarried children with no age limit, as well as
- parents and grand parents on either side
The current eligibility criteria are also being considered to remove the requirement for interested applicants to have a minimum income of €100,000; however, a capital of €500,000 (of which €150,000 must be financial assets) is now mandatory. From the Agency’s side, there is a renewed commitment towards increased efficiency, with a targeted processing time of 6-8 months from start to finish.