Considering relocating? Looking for somewhere that has a low crime rate, good climate, affordable housing, excellent health services, and a reasonable cost of living? According to Mel Roberts, Consultant at Maitland, Malta ticks all the boxes!
Malta is a small archipelago of islands in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, 80 km south of Sicily. It is a member of the EU, enjoyed a GDP growth rate of 5% in 2016 and is predicted to grow by a further 4.7% this year. Both unemployment and inflation are amongst the lowest in Europe.
Although a citizenship application via the Individual Investor Programme (IIP) is a popular route and has many advantages, it is not the only way that one can reside in Malta. Also of interest are the Malta Residence and Visa Programme (MRVP) and the Malta Residence Programme (MRP).
“In brief, the IIP route provides the applicant and family members with Maltese passports and citizenship, hence automatically conferring the right to live and work in any of the EU countries, and visa-free travel to more than 160 countries,” says Roberts.
There are a number of conditions that have to be complied with, including the payment of a non-refundable contribution to the Malta National Development and Social Fund, starting at €650,000.
At present, the IIP is limited to passports for 1 800 families, but following the June 2017 general elections, the Office of the Prime Minister confirmed that the government would seek the approval of the European Commission to extend the limit, if this number is reached soon.
The second programme, the MRVP, entitles the applicant and his/her dependents to reside, settle, and stay indefinitely in Malta. It is only available to third country nationals (not EEA or Swiss nationals). The residency certificate is monitored annually for the first five years, to ensure that all the conditions have been complied with, and then every five years thereafter. The most significant cost is a one-off contribution to the Maltese authorities of €30,000 (of which €5,500 is payable on application and is non-refundable).
“In relation to the IIP and the MRVP, during the period of your residency, you are liable for tax on any income (but not capital) that is sourced or remitted to Malta (but not capital gains remitted to Malta) at the normal Maltese tax rate which is progressive and tops out at 35% on income over €60,000 per annum,” Roberts adds.
The third programme, the MRP, is more suitable for those who have a higher level of foreign sourced income that they wish to bring to Malta, as it offers a flat tax rate of only 15% per annum (subject to a minimum annual tax payment of €15,000, per family unit). Any income earned in Malta, however, will be taxed at a flat rate of 35%. The initial application fee payable to the Maltese fiscal authorities is €5,500 or €6,000, depending on the location of one’s qualifying property. The scheme is open to both non-EU and EU, Swiss or EEA citizens.
Common to all three programmes is the need to be in possession of adequate medical insurance, be a fit and proper person (supported by a police clearance certificate), and to either rent or purchase a property in Malta for a minimum sum – which differs according to the programme chosen, but varies from a minimum rental of €9,600 per annum (MRP) to €16,000 per annum (IIP) and a purchase price of €275,000 (MRP) to €350,000 (IIP).
“For the MRP and the MRVP, slightly cheaper rental and purchase requirements apply if you lease or purchase property in the South of the island, or on Gozo, a smaller island just seven km away from the mainland. The IIP and MRVP also require an investment in Maltese stocks, bonds, or debentures for a five year period,” Roberts explains.
In all cases, the authorities require that applications be channelled through an Authorised Registered Mandatory and Maitland Malta is able to provide this to applicants.