Malta: Perfectly Formed for Investors
Malta’s location in the middle of the Mediterranean makes it as sought after a destination for investors as once it was for those with military ambitions looking for safe harbour and a strategic staging post from which to attain naval dominance in the region.
The mix of Arab, French, Spanish, Italian and English influences is palpable, and today, Malta is happy to play host to all, leveraging its status as a natural centre of trade and commerce. Moreover, with it now constituting the only EU member state with English as an official language since Britain’s decision to go it alone, Malta already has a built-in advantage when it comes to conducting international business from its shores. As a gateway to Europe, Africa and the Middle East, it is unparalleled, with the likes of fintech, gaming and high-end manufacturing that have little physical footprint, ideally suited to Malta’s compact land mass and served well by its excellent ICT infrastructure.
“Foreign direct investment in the country increased by 1392.30 million euro in the third quarter of 2021.”
Given its access to the Mediterranean and deep natural harbours, it stands to reason that Malta is also a leading maritime centre. And, with significant investment having been made in superyacht marinas, associated operations and services have flourished, so further cementing Malta’s reputation in this regard. In this way, Malta has become a highly regarded and firmly established international ship register, ranking first in Europe by registered tonnage, and supported by a comprehensive legal and regulatory platform.
With the euro as its currency, Malta is not subject to currency fluctuations, and has experienced virtually uninterrupted growth since independence from Britain almost sixty years ago. Meanwhile, on the corporate tax front, shareholders of a foreign-owned Maltese company can qualify for a refund equivalent to six-sevenths of tax paid at the point of dividend distribution, effectively bringing down the 35 percent tax rate to a highly attractive five percent, representing the lowest corporate tax rate in Europe. Importantly, this is held to be in keeping with the prevailing international winds of compliance, having been reviewed and approved by the EU Commission and the EU Code of Conduct Group.
Tourism remains a key part of Malta’s economy, traditionally accounting for some 20 percent of GDP, and a new tourism strategy set to take the country up to 2030 sees the sector looking to respond to the not inconsiderable challenges visited upon it by COVID-19. This is centred upon the watchwords of ‘recover’, ‘rethink’ and ‘revitalise’, and is strongly aligned with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s vision for sustainable tourism.
Taking all of the above into account, it is small wonder that according to statistics released by the Central Bank of Malta, foreign direct investment in the country increased by 1392.30 million euro in the third quarter of 2021. Malta is bouncing back and bouncing back fast!
Evolving international sentiment towards the investment migration industry and the changing requirements of prospective investors have seen Malta pivot its model away from citizenship to residency with the introduction of the Malta Permanent Residence Programme. This looks to enhance the socio-economic enrichment to the Mediterranean nation, while retaining its offer of greater mobility, access to numerous benefits and relief from instability for investors from their countries of origin or current domicile. Meanwhile, the distinct Nomad Residence Permit taps into a growing clamour for short term residency for those seeking greater freedom of movement, such as remote workers. The levels of interest in these pay testament to Malta having perfectly pitched its offer at no cost to its soul.