Current Affairs
What are the changes earmarked for residence with investment program?

A number of amendments will be presented in the residence with investment program which, during the pandemic year, generated some €20 million in foreign investment in Malta.

Parliamentary Secretary Alex Muscat said that the proposals will be discussed in Parliament, adding that the residence program has to compete with 20 others in the European Union and therefore, it was drafted to be more attractive and continues to increase foreign direct investment in Malta.

The new residence with investment program is expected to start operating in March and will continue to build on the previous program which left almost €50 million euro in Malta’s finances during the past four years.

The new program, which was tabled in Parliament today, includes various amendments, including that the initial investment by applicants will double from €30,000 to €68,000 in case of a property purchase or €98,000 for applicants who choose to rent property. Another change includes the renting of a property of at least €12,000 a year or the purchase of a property of at least €350,000 up to at least 5 years when the residence certificate is issued.

The Residence and Visa Agency’s chief executive, Charles Mizzi, made it clear that the proposed changes will affect the residence program and not the citizenship investment scheme.

“Obviously, the difference is the rights of the applicants. Citizenship has a right as every citizen with a passport. With regards to residence, the applicant has the right that he eventually lives here. Many of the applicants wish to provide a better future for their relatives; send their children to school, work, and open a business; however they do not have rights of a normal citizen.”

Mr Mizzi stated that the new amendments provide that each applicant has to donate €2,000 to a non-government organisation. He added that the majority of interested applicants are Chinese and also persons from South Africa, Turkey, Russia and India, among others.

Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Communities, Alex Muscat, told TVM that the program is being implemented under strict scrutiny with four layers which ensure that the applicants and their family are of good conduct.

“Our program is a serious one and the amount of due diligence on every investor is very rigorous. This give a message out there that ‘yes, Malta intends to be serious, you have to show us that your wealth was generated with good methods and legally’. If this is the case, the applicant is permitted to invest in our country”.

Parliamentary Secretary Muscat stated that in 2020 only this program generated €20 million, adding that this is an important tool for the government to provide benefits to the people, especially in the current circumstances. Over 2,500 applicants for residence have been submitted which, according to the Government, some 10% of which are refused.