All about the Malta Permanent Residency Programme and why it’s the perfect opportunity for South Africans

27 September 2022

In recent years, Malta has seen a significant increase in South Africans acquiring Maltese residency – and for good reason. Expats lucky enough to call Malta home often praise the country for its high quality of life, excellent education opportunities, prime healthcare services, and growing economic market. For those who have always dreamt of living in a safe and thriving country renowned for being an investment hub, the Malta Permanent Residency Programme (“MPRP”) offers the ideal solution.

What is the MPRP?

A residency-by-investment programme, the MPRP grants qualifying, high-net-worth individuals and their families the right to reside indefinitely in Malta, provided that an investment is made in the nation. Applicants can obtain Maltese residency by a one-time, non-refundable contribution of between €70,000 and €100,000, making the MPRP the most affordable residency programme in Europe. Additionally, in comparison to other countries’ programmes, there are no language requirements to apply. As a bilingual country with English being an official language, obtaining residency and moving from South Africa to Malta will be a seamless transition.

Being a family-friendly programme, the MPRP allows for up to 4 generations of family members to be included in one application, provided they are dependents of the applicant. The MPRP can also be passed on to family members in the unfortunate case of death. Having the highest standards of education, healthcare, and childcare, Malta ranks among the top European countries for family relocations.

Ranked as one of the safest countries in Europe in 2019, Malta is also one of the world’s top locations for setting up a business. This is due to an array of tax benefits available to non-doms who own their business through a Maltese company. Foreign-owned companies registered in Malta are entitled to a tax refund that results in 5% of corporation tax, the lowest corporation tax rate in Europe. When compared to the current 28% flat rate applicable in South Africa, one can see why this is yet another major advantage for those South Africans who obtain residency in Malta.

Benefits of the MPRP

Additional benefits tied to the MPRP include:

  • Residency status can be maintained without a minimum annual stay requirement
  • As a member state of the European Union, Malta has access to a market of over 500 million people
  • Residency card holders enjoy visa-free travel within the Schengen area for a total of 90 days out of every 180 days in a given calendar year
  • Malta holds a double tax treaty with South Africa, ensuring residents will not be taxed unfairly in either country, moreover, any capital gains derived in South Africa are not taxed in Malta even if remitted to Malta
  • Being located mid-way between Africa and Europe, Malta is the perfect location hub for the rest of Europe
  • Malta is already home to many South African expats, ensuring a friendly and hospitable community.
  • Malta and South Africa are in the same time zone so speaking to friends and relatives in either country will always be easy.

Who is eligible to apply for the MPRP?

What makes the MPRP attractive for many is that it is a relatively short process, granting permanent residency rights within four-to-six months to international investors who:

  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Are non-EU, non-EEA, non-Swiss nationals,
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Pass the due diligence checks conducted by a Licensed Agent and the Residency Malta Agency
  • Are in good health and have a sickness insurance policy that covers all risks across Malta and a travel insurance policy when travelling within the Schengen area
  • Provide proof of assets of at least €500,000 out of which at least €150,000 are financial assets
  • Rent a property for a minimum of €10,000 in the South of Malta/Gozo or €12,000 in the rest of Malta, or purchase a property for a minimum value of €300,000 in the South of Malta/Gozo or €350,000 in the rest of Malta
  • Pay a non-refundable administrative fee of €40,000
  • Make a government contribution of €28,000 if they purchase a property and €58,000 if they rent a property
  • Donate €2,000 to an approved charity or a Maltese Non-Governmental Organisation
  • Can demonstrate that they can sustain themselves and their dependents without relying on the Maltese social assistance system.

All applications must be submitted via a Licensed Agent in Malta. Once approved, the applicants and their dependents will obtain a Maltese Residence Permit that is monitored annually for the initial five years, and once every five years thereafter.

How can AE Business Advisors help?

AE’s Residency Practice Line is a licensed accredited agent with the Residency Malta Agency with AKM Licensed Agent Number AKM-BAIL. This puts us in an optimum position to assist, as all MPRP applications must be submitted to Residency Malta Agency through licensed entities. Even after the permit has been granted, the applicant’s agent will need to file compliance forms at regular intervals confirming that the conditions above continue to be adhered to. The team at AE will continue to work on your behalf, even after the issuance of the permit, to ensure uninterrupted enjoyment of your right to reside in Malta.

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Nicolette Spiteri Bailey