With so much movement going on in the world today, so much uncertainty and shifting sands in our environments, it is no wonder global citizens are increasingly considering spreading their wings and finding second residencies in countries that can offer them and their families a better future.

European Business Magazine speaks to Charles Mizzi (pictured) , Chief Executive Officer of Residency Malta Agency, about what Malta can offer prospects.

Let’s start from the very beginning: What is the Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP)?

The Malta Permanent Residence Programme is an opportunity. An opportunity for third country nationals to make Malta their second home, and to have a safe, quality alternative to their country of origin or domicile, in return for an investment.

Applicants from non-EU countries invest in property and make government contributions, and after a 4 to 6-month process, individuals and their families who successfully pass our robust due diligence checks are given a permanent residence permit that allows them to live and settle indefinitely in Malta, at the heart of the Mediterranean. 

We have strived to put together an accessible but secure residency-by-investment programme. The results we are now reaping are those of a popular residency programme that enjoys an esteemed reputation based on transparency and integrity. 

 What are the main requirements for applying under the MPRP?

 First of all, applicants must be non-EU citizens and not hail from any ineligible countries listed by our Agency. The programme is meant to benefit both applicants and the country, so individuals interested in applying must naturally have stable financial resources which are enough to maintain both themselves and their dependents without needing to recur to Malta’s social assistance system. Their capital assets must not be less than €500,000 with €150,000 of these being financial assets. 

Needless to say, applicants must have clean criminal records and during the due diligence process, we make sure that they do not pose any potential threats to national security, public policy, public health or public interest. While we are very interested in welcoming new residents to our shores, we also need to make sure that we are safeguarding local interest in the process, both for the sake of our citizens as well as the other worthy permanent residents who have invested in their second home, as well as for the integrity and reputation of the industry.

What are most important benefits of the MPRP that separates it from other similar programmes? Why do you think people choose Malta for their second residency?

The programme gives beneficiaries the right to settle, stay and reside permanently in Malta from day one. Visa-free travel across Schengen is accessible for 90 out of 180 days, and the local real estate market becomes available to beneficiaries. An interesting option is that of leasing property rather than purchasing. This gives families the chance to experience Malta and explore different locations before deciding on a particular region to buy their home. 

We also believe that one of the most attractive benefits of Malta’s residency programme is the inclusion of up to four generations in a single application, which makes it ideal for people wishing to relocate with their families. 

Another great benefit is Malta itself. The island enjoys a Mediterranean climate, access to countless beaches, a vibrant nightlife, outdoor sports, and a rich history. There is always something else to see or do in Malta, no matter how long you have been living here. Quality of life in Malta is high, with several benefits and excellent quality healthcare, top notch educational institutions and employment opportunities. English is an official language making communication very easy. And the island boasts an excellent connectivity infrastructure with a nation-wide 5G network and numerous free public wifi spots. Daily air and sea links connect the country to various cities in Europe and North Africa, facilitates business and leisure plans and for entrepreneurs, there is a wealth of opportunities in booming sectors like hospitality, igaming, financial services, knowledge services, film and pharmaceuticals.

You mentioned that the MPRP is attractive for the large family demographic. How did this happen? Was this one of the main goals when creating the MPRP?

The possibility to include up to four generations in a single application has made it possible for people to create a second home with the people they love, and this does not need to be limited to the nuclear family. In Malta, family values make up the fabric of our society, so we understand how important it is not to leave close family members behind in relocation plans. The MPRP was designed with this in mind. 

That aside, Malta itself is an ideal destination for families. It is one of the safest countries in the world, with negligible crime. High level education is very accessible in Malta, with several different options to choose from. For those with younger children, there are several childcare options. Our healthcare services are world-class, and we take care of our elders. Our leisure activities focus around the family and this gives any parent peace of mind. At the end of the day, if we want our country to truly be a home away from home, then we must present the real picture to our applicants.

The MPRP launched just last year — in 2021. Remembering the very first days of the programme, what challenges did you have to overcome? 

2021 was certainly not an easy year with regard to mobility. We were still in the thick of the pandemic and there was a lot of uncertainty. Restrictions were volatile and this was a worldwide issue. You didn’t know whether you would be free to return home in a week’s time should you choose to travel. This gave rise to a lot of fear and anxiety in people, creating perhaps a certain reluctance. 

At the same time, a lot of people realised that it would be beneficial as well as comforting to have a second alternative; a place they could always go back to, where they could have access to state-of-the-art healthcare options and a different environment to the one they were accustomed to. 

So, there were benefits as well as drawbacks at the time the programme was launched. We were confident, however, that the package being presented was attractive enough to draw interest, and we have not been disappointed. 

Detailed information, including eligibility criteria and investment requirements can be found on residencymalta.gov.mt