分类: luke frendo

Auto Added by WPeMatico

Malta’s New Permanent Residence Program Open as of Yesterday

Malta’s new Permanent Residence Program (MPRP), which replaces the erstwhile Malta Residency Visa Program (MRVP), officially opened for applications yesterday following the publication of the relevant law last Friday.

The regulations now in effect have not changed materially from those IMI could exclusively reveal in January, the details of which you can read more about in our original article on the topic:

Going forward, the EUR 250,000 bond-investment requirement has been done away with in its entirety, while the real-estate investment minimums have increased to EUR 300,000 in the South of Malta and on Gozo and EUR 350,000 in the rest of the country, investments that must, in either case, be maintained for at least five years. No changes were made to minimum rental prices.

The government will make up for the removal of the bond investment by raising the amount required for the non-recoverable government contributions; for those who lease properties, the minimum contribution will amount to EUR 58,000, while those who choose to buy will need to contribute EUR 28,000.

Whether they are buying or leasing, all applicants will need to pay an administrative fee of EUR 40,000 of which a quarter is payable prior to approval-in-principle.

All applicants will also be subject to a mandatory EUR 2,000 contribution to a “local, registered philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare or artistic NGO registered with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations, or as otherwise approved by the Agency.”

Applicants must further control assets valued at no less than EUR 500,000, at least EUR 150,000 of which must be held in the form of securities.

You can read the legal notice that provides the basis for the program here.

Luke Frendo of Frendo Advisory, a law firm that, among other services, offers assistance with the program, said “we welcome the launch of the MPRP and the changes made to the Programme. The replacement of the requirement to invest in Government bonds with a higher contribution is certainly a positive development. As the world hopefully starts to reopen, I’m sure we will see the demand for the MPRP grow.”

More Policy Updates

Post Grid lazy load

Malta’s new Permanent Residence Program (MPRP) is officially open for applications, following the publication of the relevant law on Friday.

Applicants to the Cyprus Permanent Residency program now have more investment options than ever, writes Eleni Drakou.

Aiming to prevent foreign developers from “recycling”, Turkish authorities say a single property may henceforth only be used once to qualify for citizenship.

 

The post Malta’s New Permanent Residence Program Open as of Yesterday appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

MRVP Changes Discussed at Stakeholder Meeting: Higher Contributions Could Replace Bond-Investment

Courtesy of Malta-based Frendo Advisory, who shared the changes in real-time as they were announced during a briefing session for accredited agents today, IMI can today report that the Malta Residency and Visa Program (MRVP) are conducting consultations with agents and stakeholders to update its regulations. Program authorities emphasized that nothing was yet official and that both political colleagues and, eventually, Parliament would need to be consulted.

Until now, the MRVP’s financial requirements included three core elements:

  • Investment in government stock worth EUR 250,000 or other stock/equities listed and trading on the Malta Stock Exchange to be retained for at least five years;
  • A property purchase of EUR 320,000 (EUR 270,000 in South Malta or Gozo), or a property lease of EUR 12,000 per annum (EUR 10,000 in South Malta or Gozo);
  • A non-refundable government contribution of EUR 30,000 (of which EUR 5,500 constituted an advance payment of the government administrative fee).

Among the changes discussed at today’s meeting was a potential removal of the current EUR 250,000 bond-investment requirement, as well as an increase in the real-estate investment minimums. No changes were proposed for the minimum rent levels.

Potentially counterbalancing the removal of the bond investment stipulation, increases in the non-recoverable government contributions (with amounts tiered according to whether the applicant rents or buys a home) are on the table.

The government is also hoping to introduce an entirely new financial requirement; a mandatory contribution to a Malta-registered NGO.

A better deal, both for investors and for Malta
Somewhat paradoxically, the new regulations could at once both make the MRVP more economical for the applicant and more profitable for the government of Malta.

Under the hitherto prevailing rules, the minimum capital outlay for a single applicant choosing the absolutely cheapest option (renting in Gozo) would amount to EUR 330,000, of which only the EUR 250,000 bond-investment would have been recoverable, and even that only five years later with associated opportunity costs for locking up a quarter of a million euros in relatively low-yielding securities for five years.

Under the proposed new regulations, a single applicant would be able to obtain a residence permit in Malta for a considerably smaller capital outlay, though none of it would be recoverable.

For the government of Malta, such a new deal could make more economic sense; in recent history, all major ratings agencies have considered Maltese government bonds investment-grade, even during the height of the European sovereign debt crisis a decade ago. In other words, Malta has never had trouble getting financing at reasonable rates. Asking MIIP or MRVP investors to assist in this regard, therefore, was never necessary.

More Policy Updates

The new regulations would, at once, both make the MRVP more economical for the applicant and more profitable for the government of Malta.

An unexpected turn of events in light of the bipartisan consensus in favor of continued publication that emerged in Malta some two years ago.

A transition period that will see the exclusion of metropolitan and coastal areas from the program will begin on July 1st next year.

 

Our readers are the best-informed professionals in the investment migration industry.
Once a week, we’ll send you a curated newsletter with the week’s top stories.

Want updates every day?
Be the first in your company to know about breaking investment migration news; Get the most important stories delivered.

The post MRVP Changes Discussed at Stakeholder Meeting: Higher Contributions Could Replace Bond-Investment appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

New MRVP-Rules Announced Today: Bond Investment Removed, Contribution Amount Raised

Courtesy of Malta-based Frendo Advisory, who shared the changes in real-time as they were announced during a briefing session for accredited agents today, IMI can today report that the Malta Residency and Visa Program (MRVP) is just weeks away from updating its regulations.

Until now, the MRVP’s financial requirements included three core elements:

  • Investment in government stock worth EUR 250,000 or other stock/equities listed and trading on the Malta Stock Exchange to be retained for at least five years;
  • A property purchase of EUR 320,000 (EUR 270,000 in South Malta or Gozo), or a property lease of EUR 12,000 per annum (EUR 10,000 in South Malta or Gozo);
  • A non-refundable government contribution of EUR 30,000 (of which EUR 5,500 constituted an advance payment of the government administrative fee).

If the changes as announced today are approved by Parliament, which there is every reason to believe they will be, the requirement for an EUR 250,000 investment in bonds would be removed entirely, while the minimum investments in real estate will rise to EUR 350,000 and EUR 300,000 (South of Malta or island of Gozo). Minimum rent levels will remain unaltered at EUR 12,000 and EUR 10,000.

Rather than asking investors to boost treasury liquidity by purchasing bonds, the government will increase the direct contributions requirement; the government contribution will rise from EUR 30,000 to EUR 68,000 (for those who buy a property) and EUR 98,000 (for those who choose to rent).

The government is also introducing an entirely new financial requirement; a mandatory EUR 2,000 contribution to a Malta-registered NGO.

Though the administrative fees (covering the work of processing, due diligence, etc.) for the main applicant, spouse, and children are covered by the EUR 68,000/98,000, an additional fee of EUR 7,500 for a spouse, a parent, or a grandparent will apply, as well as a fee of EUR 5,000 for any adult children.

FEE STRUCTURE Current Program New Program
Main Applicant Flat fee of EUR 30,000 Option 1 (purchase of property)
– EUR 40,000 admin. fee;
– EUR 28,000 govt. contribution

Option 2
(lease of a property)

– EUR 40,000 admin. fee
– EUR 58,000 govt. contriubtion

Parents/Grandparents EUR 5,000 EUR 7,500
Spouse of an already-approved main applicant Free of charge EUR 7,500
Spouse of an already-approved dependent EUR 5,000 EUR 7,500
Adult child dependent of main applicant after approval Free of charge EUR 5,000
Minor child of an already-approved dependent child and/or of his already-approved spouse EUR 5,000 EUR 5,000

Until now, the program has also mandated that main applicants demonstrate an annual income of EUR 100,000 and a net worth of no less than EUR 500,000. The minimum annual income requirement will now be discontinued, while the minimum net worth requirement remains. Furthermore, applicants must hold at least EUR 150,000 of their capital in financial assets.

A better deal, both for investors and for Malta
Somewhat paradoxically, the new regulations would at once both make the MRVP more economical for the applicant and more profitable for the government of Malta.

Under the hitherto prevailing rules, the minimum capital outlay for a single applicant choosing the absolutely cheapest option (renting in Gozo) would amount to EUR 330,000, of which only the EUR 250,000 bond-investment would have been recoverable, and even that only five years later with associated opportunity costs for locking up a quarter of a million euros in relatively low-yielding securities for five years.

Under the new regulations, a single applicant would be able to obtain a residence permit in Malta for a minimum outlay of EUR 150,000, of which nothing would be recoverable.

For the government of Malta, the new deal makes more economic sense; in recent history, all major ratings agencies have considered Maltese government bonds investment-grade, even during the height of the European sovereign debt crisis a decade ago. In other words, Malta has never had trouble getting financing at reasonable rates. Asking MIIP or MRVP investors to assist in this regard, therefore, was new necessary.

Under the new rules, on the contrary, the unencumbered revenue the government would raise (in the case of a single applicant) would grow from just EUR 30,000 to either EUR 68,000 or EUR 98,000.

More Policy Updates

The new regulations would, at once, both make the MRVP more economical for the applicant and more profitable for the government of Malta.

An unexpected turn of events in light of the bipartisan consensus in favor of continued publication that emerged in Malta some two years ago.

A transition period that will see the exclusion of metropolitan and coastal areas from the program will begin on July 1st next year.

 

Our readers are the best-informed professionals in the investment migration industry.
Once a week, we’ll send you a curated newsletter with the week’s top stories.

Want updates every day?
Be the first in your company to know about breaking investment migration news; Get the most important stories delivered.

The post New MRVP-Rules Announced Today: Bond Investment Removed, Contribution Amount Raised appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Everything You Need to Know About the New Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization (MEIN) Regulations

See detailed application requirements, application forms, timelines, the code of ethics, the agent license application, and the regulation handbook.

As promised, Malta’s government yesterday published the regulations for its new expedited route to citizenship through investment. The policy’s formal name (note that official communications have studiously avoided referring to the policy as a “program”) is the rather clunky Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment. Not bound by the same circumscriptive limitations as officialdom, IMI will – for the sake of simplicity – henceforth refer to the policy as Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization (MEIN).

Under the MEIN policy, the number of citizenship certificates issued to principal applicants (i.e., excluding dependents) shall not exceed 400 a year and 1,500 for the duration of the policy.

The salient differences in policy between the MIIP and MEIN, which have not changed materially since first announced this summer, are summarized below, courtesy of Luke Frendo of Frendo Advisory:

  • Contribution
    The amount is either €600,000 or €750,000, depending on whether the standard (36 months) or expedited (12 months) residency route is chosen. For Dependents, the contribution is set at €50,000.
  • Donation
    A €10,000 compulsory donation to an NGO is introduced. Previously, this was generally done but at an amount of €5,000. 
  • Residential property
    Threshold for purchasing a property is increased to €700,000, while the threshold for rental remains unchanged at €16,000 per annum. This needs to be held for five years from the issuance of the certificate of citizenship.
  • Government bonds
    The requirement to invest in Government bonds is removed altogether. 
  • Due diligence fees
    There is a slight increase in the due diligence fees (to €15,000 for main applicant and €10,000 for dependents).
  • Maximum Age Threshold
    The maximum age threshold for dependents is increased from 27 to 29. Further, dependents who are deemed to meet the legal definition of disability can form part of a parent’s application, regardless of age. 
  • Application for residence
    All adult dependents need to apply for residence, not just the main applicant. The non-refundable pre-payment of the contribution at this stage, increased from €5,000 to €10,000. There is also a €5,000 fee for the main applicant. 

Procedural steps:

  • Application for residence; 
  • Submission of eligibility assessment (due diligence);
  • Approval in Principle à payment of contribution; 
  • Submission for naturalization for exceptional services by direct investment (that is, for citizenship);
  • Oath-swearing, within at most 6 months of approval/conferment of citizenship/issuance of passport(s).

Maltese law firm and RCBI specialists Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates have helpfully provided details on which categories of persons qualify as dependents:

An applicant applying under these regulations can include in a citizenship application the following dependents:

  • The spouse in a monogamous marriage or partner having the same or similar status. The term ‘spouse’ shall be construed as gender neutral
  • A child of the Main Applicant or the spouse under the age of eighteen (18)
  • An economically dependent and unmarried  child of the Main Applicant or the spouse who has not yet attained the age of twenty-nine (29), at the time when the citizenship application is accepted by the Agency
  • A child of the Main Applicant or the spouse, including an adopted child who at the time of the application has attained the age of eighteen (18) and is qualified as a person with a disability
  • An economically dependent parent or grandparent of the Main Applicant or the spouse above the age of 55

Chetcuti Cauchi has also outlined the grounds for ineligibility:

  • The person or any of the dependants is or was indicted of an offence before an International Criminal Court or has been arraigned at any time before an International Criminal Court, whether such person has been found guilty or otherwise
  • The person or any of the dependants are listed with INTERPOL or EUROPOL
  • The person or any of the dependants is an actual or potential threat to Malta’s national security, public policy or public health
  • The person or any of the dependants has been charged or found guilty of terrorism, money laundering, funding of terrorism, crimes against humanity, war crimes, defilement of minors, indecent assault and other serious crimes
  • The person or any of the dependants has been found guilty or suspected or has criminal charges brought against him for any criminal offence punishable with more than one (1) year imprisonment, other than an involuntary offence
  • The person or any of the dependants is or is likely to be involved in any activity which may cause disrepute to the Republic of Malta
  • The person or any of the dependants has been denied a visa to a country with whom Malta has visa-free travel arrangements with, and has not subsequently obtained a visa from that country
  • The person or any of the dependants is named or listed in international sanctions

If an applicant makes a false statement or otherwise omits material information, the application may be suspended and considered inadmissible. 

One agent previously licensed under the MIIP shared with IMI a number of key documents related to the MEIN policy, which readers may download below:

According to the agent license application form, the fee for successful license applications amounts to EUR 5,000, a fee that is payable upon renewal once a year.

“Harshly politicized”
In his foreword accompanying the MEIN policy documents, Secretary Muscat once more reiterated his unwavering commitment to retaining Maltese sovereignty on questions of naturalization and lamented the politicization of citizenship by investment:

“Despite the obvious economic benefits and the opportunity for better social development for Malta and for the Maltese, the Government has paid attention to the recommendations given by all the stakeholders involved and the EU Commission and availed itself of the constructive opinions of all those who provided them. The Government is acting in a rational manner because citizenship is, indeed, a matter that deserves to be treated without divisive blinkers. There is no political hue that should be attributed to it. Neither should such a fundamental concept: the attribution of citizenship, be up to any authority other than the Maltese to decide upon. Much to our disappointment, our initiatives have found themselves harshly politicised. The arguments being raised against the previous programme are largely political, with little to no legal substance to them.”

Muscat effectively dismissed the calls for a phase-out of citizenship by investment in Malta, instead pointing out that MEIN represents a refining of already-successful policies.

“We will not simply shelve initiatives that are proving to be beneficial to our society, but we will improve them. We have always displayed an attitude of dialogue on national and international levels, both with stakeholders and with the European Commission itself.”

Don’t call it a program
Despite the long-awaited publication of the new regulations, several program stakeholders have told IMI that authorities are requesting they refrain from marketing the MEIN policy. IMI understands that the decision to tell agents to keep a low marketing profile, as well as the conspicuous avoidance of the term “program”, is a reaction to previously published European Parliament reports that have criticized routes to EU naturalization in the guise of structured programs, all the while expressing no particular concern with more conventional routes to naturalization.

A few hundred carefully scrutinized investors a year were naturalized under Malta’s erstwhile IIP. The Commission argued that a non-negligible proportion of these constituted a security/corruption/money-laundering risk to the European Community. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of fraud-based naturalizations have taken place in the same period on the Southeastern periphery of the EU, and hundreds of thousands of legitimate but far more lightly vetted naturalizations take place under conventional routes (marriage, adoption, and so on) across the EU each year, without triggering infringement procedures. By not referring to MEIN as a program, Maltese authorities are, essentially, calling out European hypocrisy on the matter.

The European Commission’s opening of infringement procedures against Malta and Cyprus over their respective CIPs last month have been widely rejected as ultra vires by experts on EU law. Maltese authorities have consistently maintained that those procedures are politically motivated rather than grounded in legal concerns and that they are prepared to defend this position in an eventual case in the European Court of Jutice .

Know when to fold’em
Earlier this week, Paddy Blewer of Henley & Partners, the erstwhile concessionaire of the now-discontinued Malta IIP, told International Adviser that the “Commission’s move is a short-term political gamble with short/medium- and long-term risks. They clearly felt there was a window of opportunity to attack a policy that certain EU stakeholders do not like,” adding also that the Commission’s legal case was “remarkably weak” and that it raised “serious questions on the erosion of member state sovereignty vs centralization of power in Brussels.”

Employing a gambling-analogy, Blewer characterized the dispute as a game of “geopolitical poker,” in which the Commission appears to betting that Malta and Cyprus will be the first to blink.

“The Commission is a well-known successful player and pretends to be confident but they have a very weak hand. If Malta and Cyprus and other sovereign states call the Commission’s bluff on this case, Brussels might have to fold to avoid longer-term political damage.”

More Policy Updates

See requirements and forms, procedures, the code of conduct, the licensing requirements, the policy handbook, and analysis of the MEIN here.

Fees on adding dependents after-the-fact are sharply cut and even the future spouses and children of a dependent child may now be included.

No more physical presence requirements and the possibility to apply and invest through a company rather than as an individual.

 

Our readers are the best-informed professionals in the investment migration industry.
Once a week, we’ll send you a curated newsletter with the week’s top stories.

Want updates every day?
Be the first in your company to know about breaking investment migration news; Get the most important stories delivered.

The post Everything You Need to Know About the New Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization (MEIN) Regulations appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.