Malta Individual Investor Programme (IIP)

Tuesday 22 November 2016

By Colin Gregory, Managing Director, Equiom Malta

Introduction

Home to a variety of diverse and growing industries, it’s safe to say Malta has firmly found its feet as a well-established economic heavyweight and, more recently, as an ideal breeding ground for start-ups and businesses looking to operate in an agile jurisdiction. But as we well know, it’s not just traditional industries such as finance and banking that are supporting the growth of the Island. With a thriving ‘blue economy’, Malta Freeport is one of the busiest harbours in the Mediterranean and the Island is home to the largest shipping registers in Europe. Elsewhere, eBusiness is a sector that continues to go from strength to strength while a healthy tourism trade provides the ideal backdrop to a prosperous and cosmopolitan country.

All this, combined with a pro-enterprise government, paints a very attractive picture to individuals looking to become part of a successful and opportunistic economy.

Why choose Malta?

With a flexible and progressive approach to various regulations, coupled with double taxation agreements with all EU member states (plus 50 other jurisdictions around the world), it’s understandable why Malta attracts so many foreign investors year on year. As a business hub, Malta is extremely fit for purpose, standing at the forefront of the digital age, as evidenced by Malta’s cutting edge eGovernment system.

Beyond the attractive lifestyle and favourable travel links to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, a key unique selling point for Malta is the excellent infrastructure readily available to start-ups and businesses looking to relocate. Boasting nationwide connectivity, Malta sits at the top of the European Union digital agenda scoreboard, positioning the Island as a location of choice in which to do business.

Furthermore, offering a robust banking sector that has served as the backbone to growing industries over the past decade (and a reason Malta was hardly affected by the 2008 recession), the benefits of Malta are widespread and ever growing. On a more personal level, the Island offers a wonderful lifestyle with world-class amenities such as a leading education and healthcare systems.

More recently, high net worth investors have been given yet another reason to look at Malta following the introduction of a unique citizenship programme, launched to attract prosperous business people with the objective of expanding Malta’s pool of talent and expertise.

What is the Malta Individual Investor Programme?

Historically, before the introduction of the Malta Individual Investor Programme (IIP) in 2014, the only way to gain citizenship was by birth. However, in 2013 an opportunity was identified and changes were made to pave the way and welcome individuals looking to make ties with Malta.

Targeted towards high net worth individuals looking to contribute to the local economy, the IIP offers individuals and families wanting to become citizens of Malta the opportunity to invest in a growing economy.

Following an initial contribution of €650,000, plus a few further steps, the application process is simple and straightforward (applicants will hear whether they’ve been approved in just four months) and the overall process takes around 12 months to complete.

Breaking the mould, Malta’s IIP is the first citizenship programme in the EU to be recognised by the European Commission, an added nod of confidence to applicants seeking fresh challenges from a growing economy.

What are the benefits of the IIP?

Once an individual (and family) has been granted a Maltese citizenship, they can enjoy visa-free travel to more than 160 countries and also benefit from the choice of living and working within any EU member states. From a business perspective, the IIP opens many doors and provides individuals with the opportunity to become part of the EU.

Successful applicants can make the most of operating in a business hub that trades globally, has access to more than 35 international banks and where business operations can rely on a modern connectivity infrastructure. English is an official language on the Island and Malta is proud that its unemployment and crime rates are among the lowest in Europe.

What are the requirements of the Malta IIP?

In order to be eligible for the Malta IIP there is a strict due diligence process. Furthermore, the applicant must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Make an initial contribution of €650,000 to the National Development and Social Fund
  • Make a minimum contribution of €150,000 into qualifying investments such as Government bonds
  • Have genuine ties to Malta – applicants must provide proof of residence in Malta for 12 months ahead of applying
  • Cover any due diligence fees
  • Pay additional fees per family member (if applicable)

How can Equiom help?

If you are considering the benefits of the Individual Investor Programme, Equiom’s Malta team can assist applicants, ensuring the process is as seamless and straightforward as possible.

Equiom’s Malta team offers a comprehensive range of onshore EU opportunities relating to the establishment and administration of trusts, asset protection through appropriate structuring and a comprehensive range of corporate services.


Contact

For more information about Malta IIP, please contact Colin Gregory