Malta’s new regulations for gaining residency by investment came into effect today and no new applications will be accepted under the previous program.
According to the official Malta Permanent Residence Regulations (MPRP) 2021, which was released on March 27, all new applications for permanent residency by investment in the country would now be governed under these new regulations starting from March 29.
However, pending applications filed under the old residency program will continue to be processed.
The new program builds on the success of the previous regulations, said Kenneth Camilleri, who is a licensed agent of the official Community Malta Agency and the managing director/co-founder of the Malta-based Vertex Alliance.
“The long-standing Malta Residency Visa Program officially comes to end in March 2021. Since 2016, MRVP is one of Malta’s most successful initiatives in terms of foreign direct investment. The new programme, the Malta Permanent Residency Programme or MPRP, seeks to capitalize on its predecessor’s success offering simpler criteria for investment,” Camilleri said.
Elaborating on the main changes under the new regulations, he said: “The requirement to invest in government stocks and bonds has been removed. The three investment requirements include the purchasing or renting of residential property, a straight-forward financial contribution and a newly-introduced charitable donation.”
Positive development of Malta’s new residency program
Many professionals see the latest development as a positive step for Malta.
“The MPRP represents an important stream not only for foreign direct investment but also for the transfer of valuable human capital to Malta, enriching the economy by creating new jobs and strengthening the highly skilled sectors,” Camilleri added.
Russell Attard Baldacchino, who is also a licensed agent of the official Community Malta Agency and runs his own law practice as a sole practitioner in the Maltese capital Valletta, said the new development would only serve to make the Maltese residency-by-investment program more attractive for investors.
“…There has never been a better time to apply for Permanent Residence in Malta. The MPRP is set to be one of the most attractive and cost-efficient residence by investment program worldwide,” he said.
Baldacchino noted that the new regulations would simplify the process.
“This revamped program is based on a simpler structure to its predecessor and is primarily based on a contribution payment and the rental or purchase of property in Malta. Professional fees aside, a family of four can acquire lifelong residence rights from a total capital outlay starting from 150,000 euros,” he added.
Malta’s new residency program emerged just a few months after the country launched a new citizenship-by-investment program – the Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment – that replaced the previous Malta Individual Investor Program.
Changes in residency rules for Malta
The main changes in the new residency program are in the property purchase and rental prices, which have been increased to echo market realities, according to the Malta government. There is also a new charity donation requirement and the formation of a new agency – the Residency Malta Agency -- that would be tasked to oversee the investment of funds.
Foreign investors would no longer be allowed to invest in stocks and bonds like before. Dependents of the applicants would also have to pay a higher fee and the health insurance would only extend to Malta instead of the whole EU region.
An applicant under this new program would have to either pay a minimum amount of 10,000 euros as rent on a property in the South of Malta/Gozo, or 12,000 euros if the property is in other parts of Malta. The investor also has the choice to buy a property worth at least 300,000 euros in the South of Malta/Gozo or 350,000 in other areas of Malta. In either case, the investor would be required to hold on to the property for at least five years from the day they get their residency documents.
Additionally, the investor would have to pay 40,000 euros in administrative fees as well as contribute 58,000 euros (if property is leased), or 28,000 euros (if property is purchased); and make a donation of 2,000 euros to a charitable organization or a non-government body approved by the agency. For each dependent, who is 18 and above, the investor would need to pay an additional 7,500 euros.
An investor would only become eligible to apply under this program if their assets are worth at least 500,000 euros, out of which at least 150,000 must be financial assets. They also need a clean criminal record and a health insurance policy.
If all requirements are met, the applicant can expect to become a permanent Maltese resident within four to six months.
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