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Demystifying the Maltese Residency and Citizenship programmes

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With one of the most advantageous taxation systems in Europe and a sound business environment, Malta is booming as a place of allure and opportunities for investors.

It also helps that Malta has signed double taxation treaties with more than 50 countries, ensuring that the profits companies make in Malta are exempt from taxes in their resident countries.

Of course, business is not the only reason why one may opt to move to Malta, a plethora of architectural sites, pleasant and temperate climate all-year-round, and its access to the Schengen Area make it uniquely attractive to those who seek to relocate and explore new cultures.

Relocating to any new country can be a complicated and headache inducing prospect. However, based on one’s financial welfare, intentions, and country of origin, this process may be rendered much more agreeable by choosing the right programme for one’s exigencies and by engaging trusted and experienced advisors to aid with the process.

With the help of Dr. Jonathan De Giovanni, Partner, and Mr. Charles Ingham, Private Clients and Corporate Services Manager, of WDM International, tappintomalta has collaborated to create an overview of some of the main characteristics of the programmes one may opt for when relocating to Malta.

Individual Investor Programme (IIP)

Successful completion of the Programme allows for a grant of citizenship by a certificate of naturalisation to foreign individuals and their families who contribute to the Maltese economy.

A Maltese passport enables the bearer to enjoy full rights of work and establishment in all 28 EU countries and visa free travel to 168 countries.

The Programme is subject to a 12 month legal, not physical, residency requirement for achieving citizenship. Applicants benefit from immediate and unrestricted Schengen Area access on commencing an application.

The primary applicant under the Programme must complete a three-tier investment into Malta on behalf of themselves and their family, namely: a contribution to the National Development and Social Fund, the purchase or long-term let of Maltese real estate and an investment into approved Government bonds.

The Maltese Residence and Visa Programme (MRVP)

Successful completion of the Programme allows for the issuance of a certificate that entitles an individual and their registered dependants the right to reside, settle, or stay indefinitely in Malta.

Successful applicants benefit from unrestricted Schengen Area access, with the grant of a Schengen Visa.

The primary applicant under the Programme must complete a three-tier investment into Malta on behalf of themselves and their family, namely: a contribution to the National Development and Social Fund (a reduced contribution than that required under the IIP), the purchase or long-term let of Maltese real estate and an investment into approved Government bonds.

This programme may be particularly attractive to foreign individuals who wish to enjoy the benefits of permanent Maltese residency, but who are unable to obtain Maltese citizenship without forfeiting their native citizenship.

Global Residency Programme (GRP) and Residence Programme (RP)

The GRP and RP are aimed at affluent non-EU/EEA and EU nationals respectively, who seek to avail themselves of an advantageous tax treatment on the foreign income which they remit into Malta. The Programme entitles the beneficiary to apply for a residence permit, to reside in Mata.

Individuals benefit from an advantageous tax rate of 15% on all income which arises outside of Malta and received in Malta. Maltese sourced income is taxed at a flat rate of 35%.

With a minimum tax threshold of Euro 15,000 for the main applicant, and no additional minimum tax requirement for dependants, successful individuals enjoy various additional benefits, such as no taxation on capital gains remitted into Malta and no inheritance taxes, as long as the purchase or letting of real estate and the minimum stay requirements are met.

Malta Retirement Programme (MRP)

Successful completion of the Programme allows for a grant of residence to nationals of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland who are not in an employment relation and in receipt of a pension as source of income.

It is important to understand that individuals who retire in Malta under this programme are prohibited from paid employment in Malta, but may hold a non-executive post on the board of a company situated in Malta. The individual shall be subject to a requirement to purchase of let real estate in Malta.

A successful applicant will be subject to a flat 15% tax rate on any income that is received in Malta for foreign sources, subject to a minimum tax threshold of Euro 15,000 for the main applicant and an additional Euro 500 for each dependant or special carer under the application.

Highly Qualified Persons (HQP)

The Highly Qualified Persons programme provides attractive incentives for skilled employees looking to relocate in order to work within Malta’s flourishing financial, gaming, and aviation industry.

Subject to the individual holding an eligible office with a required minimum salary, such individuals would be subject to an advantageous flat 15% tax rate, up to a maximum income of Euro 5,000,000, applied for either a 5 or 4 year period, depending on whether the individual hails from the EU or EEC.

Ordinary Residence

EU/EEA individuals are regarded as tax resident for the year if their stay in Malta exceeds 183 days. Non-EU individuals can also gain such authorisation if residing here for a specific purpose, such as studying in Malta or for family reunification.

WDM International, through WDM Lex Advisory and Dr. Jonathan De Giovanni, Private Clients Partner at the Firm, has been accredited as Approved Agents by Identity Malta, the Agency responsible for administering the various citizenship and residence programmes in Malta and would be pleased to offer advice and assistance in this regard.

For further information on the various immigration programmes available, please visit WDM International’s website  on www.wdm.com.mt, under the Residence and Relocation section found under the Expertise tab.


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