Malta Residence Programme Amendments Discussed

January 13 01:47 2021 by The Editor Print This Article

Malta's investment migration laws will undergo another major amendment with the revision of the Malta Residence Visa Programme.  MRVA Agency CEO Charles Mizzi and Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship & Communities Hon Alex Muscat addressed a stakeholder meeting with immigration lawyers outlining the intentions of the Maltese Government to build on the five year success of the Malta Residence Visa Programme, that yielded a revenue of €50 million, netting the Consolidated Fund €24m.

The Concessionaires' marketing role terminated

The practice of granting marketing concessions to concessionaires responsible for the marketing of the Maltese residence programme in different regions would be discontinued, leaving the focus on the role of the licensed Malta residence agents who would be supported and guided in upping the standards of due diligence and investment attraction.

Qualifying Investments in Malta

Mizzi explained that further to feedback from practitioners, the Government was reconsidering the suitability of government bonds and listed equities as a qualifying investment under the Malta Residence Visa Programme.  Responses to questions sent to immigration lawyers on this matter raised a number of concerns on the matter.  Dr Antoine Saliba Haig, senior immigration lawyer at Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, highlighted the difficulties often faced by investors in identifying appropriate listed securities and of obtaining government bonds to satisfy the original requirements of the MRVP.  Accredited agent and immigration lawyer Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker commented that an investment in Government bonds did not add much value to the local economy and the Programme had failed to stimulate the Maltese capital markets as hoped at its inception.

Government Contributions and Qualifying Philanthropic Contributions

Given the success of the direct investment model operated by the Maltese Citizenship by Investment Programme and the new Investor route to Maltese Citizenship

Property Investment

An analysis of property investing trends of MRVP investors revealed an average purchase price ranging between €300,000 to €400,000 while rentals ranged between €10,000 and €14,000.  The Government is considering keeping the minimum property value at €350,000 and retaining the existing rental values.  Property lawyer Dr Maria Chetcuti Cauchi commented that trends in the local market throughout the year of COVID hadn't proved significantly detrimental to the Maltese property market, with a growing appetite of foreign investors taking an interest in opportunities arising in the Maltese market during this unusual time and an increased openness to invest in property in Malta through powers of attorney, relying on delegated physically inspections and valuations of the property.

Renaming the MRVP a Malta Permanent Residence Programme

MRVA CEO Mizzi commented that the Malta Residence Visa Programme was effectively granting Permanent Residence rights and therefore the term "Malta Permanent Residence Programme" would be a more appropriate name for Malta's residence programme going forward.