THE ITALIAN RESIDENCY PROGRAMME
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MALTA: PERMANENT RESIDENCE PROGRAMME (MPRP)
In 2016, the Government of Malta launched its new Residence and Visa Programme, which offers investors Maltese residency in only 3 to 4 months. The programme is aimed at non-EU foreigners who are looking for a straightforward route to obtain Malta residency. In the beginning of 2021 this programme has been updated and is now known as the Permanent Residency Programme and has been created to be more competitive with other European residency programmes.
This programme is very attractive to families who are wanting to get a second residency in the EU, but are not necessarily looking to physically immigrate and live in Malta.
In comparison to other countries’ programmes such as that of Portugal or Spain’s Golden Visa programmes, Malta offers a simpler and more straightforward route to residency as there are no language requirements. The application time frame offers investors the potential to achieve residency in 6 – 8 months.
As Malta has been offering residency in exchange for investment successfully for many years now, the Government has extensive experience in the management and running of its programmes. This can also be seen in the ongoing demand and success of its exclusive Individual Investor Programme for Citizenship as well as its Global Residence Programme.
NEW Investment requirements
In order to qualify for the new Permanent Residency Programme, applicants must meet the following criteria:
1. Purchase or Rental of property
In order to qualify for the residency programme, applicants are required to purchase or rent immovable property. The minimum value must be either:
EUR 300 000 if the property is in the South of Malta or Gozo (Rental option is EUR 10 000 annually)
EUR 350 000 for anywhere else in Malta (Rental option is EUR 12 000 annually)
3. Make a non-refundable Government contribution
A non-refundable Government administration fee must be paid of either:
EUR 68 000 if the investor purchases property,
EUR 98 000 if the investor rents a property
3. Make a donation of EUR 2000
This will be a philanthropic donation to an approved charity or an NGO in Malta.
The requirements for the Malta Permanent Residency Programme are relatively straightforward. Applicants must pass a due diligence test and prove legitimate source of funds and source of wealth.
The applicant must have a clean criminal record;
Main applicant must be over the age of 18;
Applicants must be in possession of valid travel documents;
The applicant must be a third country national. They cannot be a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland;
Global health insurance: A valid global health insurance policy with medical expense cover. We can assist with this.
Malta’s due diligence processes are strict and applicants that do not meet the criteria can be declined.
Malta allows dual citizenship. This can be found in the Malta Citizenship Act. South Africa also allows dual citizenship provided an application is made to the Department of Home Affairs.
Please note that both of these are residency programmes and do not lead to citizenship. In order to acquire citizenship in Malta, you should consider the Individual Investor Programme (IIP).
TRAVEL AND BENEFITS
Maltese residency allows the holder visa-free travel to all the Schengen zone countries as well as the right to live, study and work in Malta. It allows the investor to spend a maximum of 90 out of every 180 days in any of the Schengen zone countries allowing freedom of travel and mobility within most of the EU.
Please note that Maltese residency does not give the right to live and work in Europe, only Maltese citizenship will give this freedom and access. With a Maltese passport, one can travel visa free to more than 180 countries including the USA.
Malta is a family friendly country and allows the spouse and unmarried dependent children to be included in the application, provided you can show they are dependent.
Parents and Grandparents on either side can also be included.
Malta has a double taxation agreement with many countries, including South Africa, which can add an attractive advantage for some investors.
Acquiring Maltese citizenship does not in itself trigger tax residency. Individuals who are resident but not domiciled in Malta pay tax on income arising in Malta as well as income remitted to Malta from outside.
In Malta, personal income is taxed at progressive rates up to 35%. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is levied on immovable property and shares, but it is not levied under certain prescribed conditions. Malta does not have estate duty or gift tax. Corporate tax is 35% and standard VAT is 18%. Malta has special tax concessions that apply for non–resident or non-domiciled persons.
Property Tax in Malta
There are no property taxes in Malta, i.e. no levies or rates and taxes; only water and electricity which is based on usage.
Stamp duty is 5%, and notarial/legal fees between 1-3%.
There is no inheritance tax.
Please note, we strongly encourage clients to obtain professional tax advice.
PROCESS AND TIMELINES
The Permanent Residency Programme has a relatively straightforward process. The initial non-refundable deposit of the contribution is paid along with the application submission. Once thorough due diligence checks have been done, successful applicants must complete the remaining qualifying investments. They will then be issued with a Malta Residency Certificate which is monitored annually for the first five years and then only every 5 years thereafter.