Malta Permanent Residence Applications hit Record High

Dr. Antoine Saliba Haig | Published on 20 Sep 2018

Malta Permanent Residence Applications hit Record High

Malta Permanent Residence Applications hit Record High

Since the inception of the Malta Residence and Visa Programme, various investors from all over the world have shown interest in Malta and its flourishing economy. The programme allows good standing individuals the right to reside within Malta, enjoying its political and economic stability, as well as visa-free travel within the Schengen Area. Most importantly, investors have taken a liking to Malta for its pro-business approach and favourable tax system. For such reasons, Malta’s Permanent Residence applications have hit an all-time high, where according to the Malta Residency Visa Agency (MRVA), more than 1,000 applications have been received, truly establishing Malta as an international business hub of interest to many. 


The due diligence system currently in place prioritises transparency, effectiveness and reliability when considering applications for residency in Malta. This system has evidently attracted various investors, who appreciate the lengths the country goes to ensure that only the right residents are approved. Roderick Cutajar, head of the MRVA has upheld that “To date, we’ve received exactly 1,017 applications, and they’re now coming in at a rate of 50-60 a month”. Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms, Citizenship and Simplification of Administrative Processes Hon Julia Farrugia Portelli also upheld the impact of having such a programme in place “The benefits of the Malta Residence and Visa Programme are diverse, apart from attracting High Quality talented people to the Islands, the programme […] contribute[s] to the economy in no small way”.

The Malta Residency and Visa Programme’s Due Diligence 

EU countries offering residence by investment programmes have been criticised by the European Commission for facilitating entrance into the EU through laxed due diligence procedures. Indeed, a high level of due diligence in countries offering residence by investment programmes must be ensured. In this regard, the Maltese government has taken the necessary steps to duly and thoroughly vet prospective applicants by introducing various due diligence procedures which ensure that applicants are of high standing. Therefore, although there are various incentives which have been put in place to further attract foreign direct investment in Malta, the Island’s priority is to ensure its reputability and integrity are always upheld. It is through attaining these aims that this programme has positioned itself as the 7th most popular in the world, according to MRVA statistics, despite being one of the most recent programmes launched in Europe. 

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Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms, Citizenship and Simplification of Administrative Processes Hon Julia Farrugia Portelli also upheld the impact of having such a programme in place “The benefits of the Malta Residence and Visa Programme are diverse, apart from attracting High Quality talented people to the Islands, the programme […] contribute[s] to the economy in no small way”.

The Malta Residency Visa Agency and the authorised agent share the responsibility of verifying all information provided by the applicant, ensuring that all details are correct and that the person is of impeccable standing. The applicant must, therefore, satisfy a number of due diligence procedures. 
A risk matrix has been developed to duly carry out a thorough assessment of applications. This requires every single supporting document on how applicants’ wealth was created to be presented during a four-tier due diligence process, which includes checks with international due diligence platforms as well as investigative journalists. This is done to ensure that all information submitted is correct and corroborated. The last stage of the due diligence process is the culmination of this risk matrix during which the due diligence teams of the agencies thoroughly assess all of the findings.

It is after this stage, that the IIP’s ‘risk matrix’ comes into play, with the agency’s due diligence team of risk and compliance officers making a thorough assessment of the voluminous findings. This includes assessment of background verifications, peer review, and senior management review.

Once the agency has proven that the aforementioned criteria have been satisfied, the applicant will be able to permanently reside in Malta, and subsequently benefit from visa-free travel to all Schengen countries. The dependents of the applicant will also be able to apply under this programme to acquire permanent residency in Malta. This includes parents and grandparents of both the main applicant and the spouse, as well as unmarried and economically dependent children of the family.

To further ensure that applicants are of high repute, Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates has implemented its own due diligence tests which go above and beyond what is required by law. Therefore, our Residency and Citizenship lawyers will be able to determine, with particular accuracy, whether applicants will be approved or denied residency in Malta. Our experts, alongside the client, will therefore be able to determine whether the applicant should submit an application for this programme. 

Mr Kenneth Camilleri, Senior Partner at the Firm, has upheld the effectiveness of the system in place as well as the opportunities which this provides Malta with, “the programme’s income and wealth requirements ensure the quality of families qualifying under the Residency Programme. As a result, investors also tend to take on investment and business opportunities presented by Malta’s diversified economy”.

Malta: Small Island, Big Success

Malta has been experiencing unprecedented economic success in the past decade, allowing it to position itself with top performing economies in Europe. Through the efforts that have been made these past couple of years to further attract foreign direct investment, including adopting a pro-business attitude, Malta’s economy is not solely dependent on the income made from the residency and citizenship programmes in place, but is currently experiencing success within various other industries. 

Founder of Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti, has in fact upheld that “Feedback from investors we have represented over the last 15 years tells us that Malta isn’t only attractive on account of its Residency Programmes, Malta’s investment in long-term economic fundamentals in key niche sectors is now yielding exceptional results in the Maritime and Aviation sector, the Online Gaming sector, the Financial Services and Fintech sectors as well as the Real Estate market”.  



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Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti

Senior Partner, Global Residency & Citizenship

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Mr Kenneth Camilleri

Director, Tax & Immigration

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