The Residence Scheme Regulations 2004, originally issued back in 1988, facilitated the entry and indefinite stay of foreigners wishing to enjoy a second or retirement home in sunny Malta. The Scheme has also served to attract affluent foreigners seeking a Euro-Mediteranean lifestyle in a tax-friendly environment.
The revision of the Permanent Residence Scheme is now reaching completion with the announcement in parliament this week of the imminent issue of new regulations pending only the final stage of consultation with interested parties. As expected, the new regulations will not only improve the original scheme but also create new schemes for particular profiles that Malta is seeking to attract to its shores.
The following are the 5 schemes proposed by the Ministry of Finance . The Schemes are directed towards individuals satisfying different criteria as follows:
The High Net Worth Individual Scheme is targeted towards citizens of the EU, Switzerland and EEA member states satisfying conditions similar to the standing Permanent Residents Scheme with the exception of the application of higher thresholds. Residence permits granted under the HNWI Scheme will be valid for an indefinite period.
The Schengen Area Residence Scheme is directed at non-EU nationals. Although this residency scheme will be more onerous than the HNWI Residence Permit, it does however afford such residents access to the Schengen Area, thereby guaranteeing EU Residence Status as well as freedom of movement within Schengen countries.
The Global Mobile Permanent Scheme grants a four-year, non-renewable residence permit to non-EU citizens and specifically accommodates foreigners working in North Africa on three-year contracts, enabling their families to reside in Malta during that time. While less onerous than the non-EU residents scheme, it would not offer the benefit of EU residence.
The EU Professional High Net Worth Residence Scheme is offered to EU nationals particularly artists, singers and other professionals with high net worth. The status acquired through the Professional HNW Residence Scheme might be assimilated to citizenship and will be granted in limited numbers.
The Non-EU Professional High Net Worth Residence Scheme is similar to above scheme with the difference of addressing individuals who are artists, singers and other professionals with a High Net Worth and who are non-EU nationals. Such a scheme might also bring the individual’s status close to citizenship and as a result will be permitted in limited numbers. Individuals under this scheme would in addition be obliged to offer a greater contribution.
The introduction of the new Schemes re-positions Malta as a niche residence destination for High-Net Worth Individuals and creates opportunities to indviduals fitting clearly defined profiles.