Changes to the Malta Residence and Visa Program (MRVP) In Discussion
Today, the 12th of January 2021, a stakeholder meeting was held to discuss changes going forward with the Malta Residence and Visa Program (MRVP) with an introduction to a new program to take over for the acquisition of permanent residence in Malta: the Malta Permanent Residence Program (MPRP).
The briefing session among stakeholders and authorized agents discussed updates to the MRVP’s regulations - highlighting the future of the program. At the meeting with licensed program agents, in which Citizen Lane’s lawyer was present, the Parliamentary Secretary of Citizenship and Community Affairs announced that the Malta Residency and Visa Program (MRVP) is prepared to be phased-out in the coming months (between February and March 2021).
The Malta Residency and Visa Program has offered third-country nationals (outside of the EU, EEA or Switzerland) the right to reside in Malta, travel within the Schengen Zone, and to apply for a work permit in Malta followed by working in the country. The conditions that must currently be satisfied on application (with each their own specifications) include property investment (purchase or rental), an investment in government bonds, proof of a stable and regular income (income or assets), ability to communicate in Maltese or English, valid travel documents, health, and sickness insurance policy, and due diligence.
It was announced that the new program with updated regulations will replace the MRVP and is expected to be confirmed and enacted in March 2021. This program deals with the acquisition of permanent residence in Malta and will be called the Malta Permanent Residence Program (MPRP).
Following this meeting, an official press release was issued outlining the proposed characteristics of this new program but subject to possible changes until the relevant legislation is passed in parliament and published.
Main changes from the Malta Residence and Visa Program
Today’s meeting included potential regulation changes to the types and amounts of contributions that would be expected under the newly-established MPRP, such as:
The removal of a government stocks and bond investment, thus-far required at the minimum amount of €250,000. The investment is now directed to the Government’s Consolidated Fund;
A slight increase to the minimum amount requisite for property investments; which has been kept at the amount of €320,000 until now (regulations regarding the lease of property were not discussed in this meeting). This increase reflects the market, with due consideration to any possible negative market impact;
An increase to the amount required from a non-refundable government contribution (which so-far has been fixed at the amount of €30,000);
A new mandatory charitable donation of the amount of €2,000 to an NGO or charity registered in Malta;
Waiving the requirement of proof of minimum income, of the amount of €100,000;
Continuance of minimum international assets requirement of €500,000;
Applicants will not require knowledge of the Maltese language;
The new Agency will invest a portion of funds received directly in CSR projects, making the benefits of FDI more tangible to citizens;
Higher fees for dependants;
The beneficiary’s health insurance now covers Malta (rather than all EU, and this will be replaced by travel insurance);
Applicants must be “fit” and “proper”, and have a clean criminal record;
Be in possession of sickness insurance in respect to any risks for Malta.
Qualifying criteria for entry into the Program
To benefit, applicants are to:
Rent a property for a minimum of €10,000 in the South of Malta/Gozo or €12,000 in the rest of Malta
Purchase a property for a minimum value of €300,000 in the South of Malta/Gozo or €350,000 in the rest of Malta;
Hold the qualifying property for a minimum of five years from the date of issuing of the residence certificate;
Pay an administrative fee of €40,000; €10,000 of which needs to be paid upon the submission of the application, with the remaining €30,000 to be paid within 2 months from the issuance of the Letter of Approval in Principle;
Pay a contribution of €58,000 if the applicant chooses to lease property
€28,000 if the applicant chooses to purchase property;
Pay a donation of €2,000 to a local registered philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare or artistic NGO registered with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations, or as otherwise approved by the Agency.
Eligibility criteria for entry into the Program
Applicants must be:
In receipt of sufficient stable and regular resources to maintain himself/herself and his/her dependants without recourse to the social assistance system of Malta;
In possession of a valid travel document;
In possession of a sickness insurance policy in respect of all risks normally covered for Maltese nationals for himself/herself and his/her dependants;
In possession of assets having a value of not less than €500,000, out of which a minimum of €150,000 shall be in the form of financial assets;
Pay an additional fee of €7,500 for every dependant over 18;
Submit application only via an accredited agent.
Processing time of an application
Expected lead time of application processing is 4-6 months.
A comprehensive look at the changes discussed in today’s briefing presents a few findings that are a win-win for both the Maltese economy, as well as, residency applicants. Considering the removal of government bond investments, it would be expected that the program would balance itself out by increasing the required amounts of non-refundable investments and contributions. However, if these changes are implemented, it seems that applicants will be able to acquire residency in Malta for a substantially lower capital expenditure, even if on non-recoverable conditions. All things considered, the total lower value that applicants will need to invest will undoubtedly attract an increased number of talent to the new program, in turn boosting the Maltese economy respectively.
The Maltese Government is indeed doing its best to attract further high-level entrepreneurs and investors to the island of Malta. The new MPRP Malta Permanent Residency Program has been scheduled for just months after the launch of the New 2020 Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment (MEIN) Policy back in November 2020, replacing the previous Malta Individual Investor Program MIIP.
Currently, no amendments have been officially approved nor implemented for the MPRP. This overview is only the introduction to the proposed MPRP and is subject to changes as the proposed version passes through the various stages (deliberated by Parliament and political entities prior to being officially published) until the finally enacted law.
This article will be updated regularly as further information continues to be published.
Last Updated: 21/01/2021