Malta looks to strengthen its offering with new program and requirements
The Maltese government is currently reviewing their offerings to the global citizenship by investment community following on from the success of their current program. The Individual Investor Program is one of Europe’s leading CBI programs and has attracted investors from the World over.
Despite the three compulsory investments – a financial donation to the Government, government bonds’ investment and a purchase or a lease of property, held for 5 years following approval and not permissible to be sublet to third party during the ownership, the current program is fast approaching 2 thirds of the original 1,800 quota in granted citizenship for life. As the adult child dependants and elderly parents of the main applicants can also be included on the initial application, the IIP Malta truly represents a viable options for many more high net worth families, who continue expressing their interest in the program, and for the country itself who enjoyed immense benefits from this alternative direct foreign investment since the program was introduced in 2013.
Those who invest in the program are initially granted a residency card at the first stage of the process, which is now valid for 18 months as supposed to 12 months originally, and therefore allows for extended schengen visa permit and access to 26 EU member states visa free ( www.schengenvisainfo.com/schengen-visa-countries-list/). Despite the extended validity of the residence card, an investor can still submit his citizenship application at 12 months and proceed to a grant of citizenship after the Government’s decision making following from the positive outcome of investors’ background verification report.
Indeed, so successful has the IIP been that the government of Malta is having to take measures to consider how they can continue to deliver real world solutions to the global elite once IIP Malta reaches its full capacity and 1800 international applicants receive citizenship. One of the main solutions that has been discussed, both as a means to a continuous investment into the country and a solid provision of solutions to high net worth clients, is to introduce residence by investment program in 2016.
The new measures being touted would see a reduction in the investment options. Under the proposed residency program, which is currently being legislated, investors will be required to settle following investments:
- secure legal title to a ‘Qualifying Property’ in Malta for a minimum of EUR320,000 or EUR270,000 if in Gozo
- OR property lease in Malta of a minimum annual rental EUR12,000/EUR10,00
- AND EUR 250,000“Qualifying Investment”
- AND being in possession of an annual income of minimum EUR100,000
- OR in possession of capital of minimum EUR500,000;
- AND being in possession of health insurance; and
- AND payment of the Contribution EUR30,000
It is also implied that an applicant, applying for a residence by investment program, will either have to hold 10 year residence before qualifying for IRL (permanent residence) and subsequently for Maltese citizenship, or will have an option of renewing his residence card.
The news will surely be of interest to those who are considering a European CBI program that offers flexibility, stability and value. Whilst the reports coming out of Malta are still yet to be fully verified by the government, those within the provider community are certainly excited by the prospect of the new residence program.
2016 is fast approaching and with demand at an all time high for Maltese programs, the new reiteration of the current program will surely garner high interest as investor’s seek a proven, flexible and accommodating program.