Malta and Cyprus provide simplified schemes for non-EU nationals who wish to obtain a Permanent Resident permit in the jurisdictions. A fast-track procedure has been put in place to attract foreign investment under which simplified procedures and easily met conditions are applied to non-EU nationals.  Both Cyprus and Malta are very attractive places to consider for residence and citizenship. They are both EU countries situated in the Mediterranean, with warm, pleasant climates, active financial centres, and convenient air links to travel both within and outside of Europe.

 

Malta Golden Visa Programme

The Malta Golden Visa was launched in August 2015 by virtue of an amendment to the Immigration Act, Cap 217 of the Laws of Malta. Legal Notice 288 of 2015 was enacted with the aim of attracting individuals of impeccable standing and repute to receive a Malta Golden Visa on the basis of a one-time contribution of €30,000 to Malta and an investment of €250,000 for 5 years in Malta Government Bonds.

Under the Malta residency by investment programme applicants and their registered dependents enjoy the opportunity to reside, settle, and stay indefinitely in Malta, and to hold a Schengen card allowing visa-free travel within the Schengen Area.

The Global Residence Programme

The Global Residence Programme is a scheme designed to attract individuals who are not nationals of the EU, EEA or Switzerland and who are not long-term residents. Individuals benefiting from this programme are not precluded from working in Malta, provided they satisfy the requisite conditions for obtaining a work permit. Beneficiaries may also have household staff providing a service in their qualifying property, as long as all the requisite procedures are satisfied.

The application process for this programme is relatively fast, it can be completed in three months. To qualify for this programme, the applicant must satisfy certain criteria including, but not limited to:

  • Having purchased a property of a certain value in Malta, or entering into a rental contract of a property of a certain amount per year

 

  • Committing to a minimum recurring investment per year

 

  • Not benefitting from other residency or citizenship programmes

 

  • Being in receipt of stable and regular resources that are sufficient to maintain his/herself and any dependants

 

The Malta Retirement Programme

The Malta Retirement Programme (MRP) is a programme designed to attract nationals of the EU, EEA and Switzerland who are not in an employment relationship and are in receipt of a pension as their regular source of income. The applicant should be in receipt of a qualifying pension, which entitles the applicant to periodic pension payments, all of which are received in Malta, and which should constitute at least 75% of the beneficiary’s taxable income.

The applicant should hold a qualifying property (immovable property purchased for not less than €275,000 for a property situated in Malta, or €250,000 for a property situated in Gozo; or rental property – a leased property of not less than €9,600 per annum for a property situated in Malta or €8,750 per annum for a property situated in Gozo).

Malta Highly Qualified Persons (Professional Expat) Scheme

The objective of the Highly Qualified Persons Scheme is to attract experts of top level skill to occupy positions within companies licenced or recognised by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). Such highly qualified personnel can be entitled to a low Malta tax rate of 15% on employment income. These tax benefits are applicable to EU, EEA and Swiss nationals.

Cyprus Residency by Investment

In recent years Cyprus has introduced a fast-track permanent resident’s permit. A permanent residence permit can now be granted to wealthy foreigners who invest in the Republic of Cyprus.

The requirements for this programme are:

  • The applicant must purchase a property over a certain value

 

  • The applicant must be in receipt of a secure annual income from abroad

 

  • Funds must be transferred from outside of Cyprus to a Cyprus three year fixed deposit bank account.

 

  • The holder of the permit must then visit Cyprus at least once every two years to maintain the permit

 

Citizenship Programmes

Malta and Cyprus are both sovereign European countries with rich cultural heritages, offering a unique quality of life. Both countries are situated in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, and are ideal places to raise a family in a secure environment.

The introduction of Citizenship by Investment programmes rendered both jurisdictions ideal places to live, invest, and set up businesses. Both countries provide a window of opportunity wide open to a potential EU market of 508 million inhabitants — the world’s third largest population after China and India.

Malta Individual Investors Programme (MIIP)

The Malta Individual Investor Programme grants Maltese citizenship to foreign individuals who contribute to the economic development of Malta. Investors can also gain citizenship for their dependents with this scheme. Malta has been a member of the EU since 2004 and has been part of the Schengen Area since 2007. Citizenship obtained under this program gives the rights of full citizenship for life and can be passed on to future generations by descent. Maltese citizenship grants access to all investment opportunities in Malta and throughout the EU open to European Union citizens.

 

Legal basis for Citizenship by investment:

Maltese Citizenship by Investment may be granted under an amendment passed in November 2013 to the Maltese Citizenship Act, Chapter 188 of the Laws of Malta. These amendments provided the framework for the enactment of LN 47 of 2014. The Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) rules provide Maltese citizenship on the basis of a contribution to and investment in Malta.

 

Benefits:

  • Schengen residence status for one year prior to issue of passport (issued on application)

 

  • 160 visa-free destinations including the United States

 

  • Passport issued within one year

 

 

The MIIP has three main investment requirements:

  • A contribution to Malta

 

  • Purchasing or leasing of an immovable property

 

  • Investment in stocks, bonds, or debentures

 

70% of the initial contribution will be deposited into a fund set up by the Government of Malta, held by a board of trustees. This fund finances projects in Malta linked to education, public health, innovation, job creation, and other social projects.

Citizenship by Investment in Cyprus

The Cypriot Government has established a number of incentives to attract foreign direct investment into the country. One of these is a citizenship-by-investment program that grants full Cypriot citizenship to those that invest more than EUR 2.5 million in real estate and who meet certain other requirements.

Any non-Cypriot citizen may apply for Cypriot citizenship through Naturalization by Exception, if the applicant meets one of the following economic criteria presented below. The qualification may either be done personally or through a company/companies in which the applicant acts as a shareholder or even as a high-ranking senior manager.

Benefits of the Cypriot Citizenship-By-Investment Program:

  • Investing as opposed to donating your wealth

 

  • Approved within 90 days after application

 

  • No residence requirement

 

  • Investments can be combined

 

  • Basic documentation

 

  • Easy process

 

  • Very high approval rate

 

 

Economic Criteria

 

Investment in Government Bonds

The applicant must purchase state bonds of the Republic of Cyprus at least EUR 5 million (may also be used in a Major Collective Investment).

Real Estate

This option requires an applicant to invest at least EUR 5 million in real estate or other developments including residential, commercial or infrastructure projects (may also be used in a Major Collective Investment).

Investment in Financial Assets of Cypriot Companies or Organizations

The applicant must purchase financial assets such as bonds, securities, or debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus by Cypriot companies or organizations of at least EUR 5 million (may also be used in a Major Collective Investment).

Bank Deposits

This option requires the applicant, or a company, or a trust of which the applicant is the main beneficiary, to have held a minimum fixed deposit of EUR 5 million in a local bank account for at least the last three years.

Purchase, Creation or Participation in Cypriot Businesses or Companies

The applicant must make an investment of at least EUR 5 million in the purchase, creation or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies that are based and operating in the Republic. These businesses or companies should have a demonstrable and tangible presence in Cyprus and employ at least five Cypriot citizens (may also be used in a Major Collective Investment).

Combination of the Aforementioned Criteria

The applicant is required to have a combination of the above options amounting to at least EUR 5 million.

Impaired Deposits with the Popular Bank Public Company Ltd

This is available to individuals whose deposits with the Popular Bank Public Company Ltd. were impaired by at least EUR 3 million due to the measures implemented after March 15 2013. If the applicant incurred an impairment of under EUR 3 million, it may be possible to apply with an additional investment to cover the balance of the required amount up to EUR 5 million.

Major Collective Investments

The Council of Ministers may, on certain occasions, reduce the above criteria to EUR 2.5 million for investors who participate in a Major Collective Investment, provided that the total value of the investment is at least EUR 12.5 million.

 

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Anna Ziemkendorf
Corporate and Commercial Manager
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