The Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP)
There has never been a riper time than the one we are living, to explore the opportunities and peace of mind that second residency can give families. We are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic and the impact of major geo-political events make us uneasy. CEO Insight caught up with Charles Mizzi, Chief Executive Officer of Residency Malta Agency, to hear the pitch about Malta as a place for second residency.
CEO Insight: What would you describe as the key features and benefits of the Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP), serving to distinguish it from and elevate it above programmes from other jurisdictions?
Charles Mizzi: One of the greatest advantages of this programme is the fact that permanent residency is awarded from the very first day. Added to this is the quick processing time of 4 to 6 months, making it one of the most efficient residency programmes on offer. It also facilitates the relocation of large families since one application can include up to four generations.
Another thing that sets the MPRP apart is the option to lease property. Given the substantial investment one must make when acquiring real estate, it makes sense to allow new residents to explore different locations before committing to the place where they will eventually settle with their families.
Last but not least, you have Malta itself, which offers a variety of attractive features for residents old and new, both as a jurisdiction and as a primary or secondary place of residence. There is something for everyone here.
CEO: Indeed, what makes Malta attractive for second residency?
Charles Mizzi: For people with families, Malta is among the safest countries in the world, built on community and family values, and it also comes with excellent educational opportunities with increasingly available alternatives for both academically and technically inclined students, as well as a top notch healthcare system that is among the best in the world.
Connectivity is another plus, with daily air and sea links to Europe and North Africa, and solid connections to the MENA region, and travelling either for business or leisure is just a simple click or phone call away.
Our Mediterranean lifestyle makes it easy to wind down, and there are plenty of activities for everyone. The mild Mediterranean climate facilitates outdoor events and makes it easier to meet like-minded others. One in five residents is an expat, and this has added value to our melting pot of cultures and our community-based lifestyle. Most locals are fluent in English, which is the primary language of operation for most businesses, and this makes communication a breeze.
CEO: The MPRP has gained a reputation as being particularly attractive for the large family demographic. Why is this? Have you deliberately set out to court this sector?
Charles Mizzi: Our culture has very strong Mediterranean roots and our families are very close-knit. Most Maltese children grow up in close contact with aunts, cousins and other members of their extended families. We wanted to create a programme that would allow family relocation, with the possibility of including up to four generations in one application. In order to make this as accessible as we could, we made the fees for additional dependents very reasonable, and we have found that this is one of the most attractive and sought out features of our programme. And let’s not forget that Malta is a very family-friendly country in itself.
CEO: Which recent developments in relation to the MPRP are you most excited about and why?
Charles Mizzi: Launched just last year, the MPRP has been very well received. We’ve had a significant number of applications and we are glad that we can offer our beneficiaries a straightforward and competitive proposition that adds value to their experience.
Our Agency was not immune to the negative impact of Covid, and we still face challenges posed by lockdowns in other countries. However, we have seen a rise in applications, a trend that has gone up every month since the end of last year, and this is an encouraging observation. We have planned a series of promotional trips with the involvement of licensed agents, and our goal is to diversify our business and reach out to new markets.
We are very enthusiastic about the CSR components we have introduced. While we welcome others to our shores and give them the opportunity to experience Maltese life first-hand, we are also eager to make sure that this directly benefits Maltese citizens and society.
CEO: For those beneficiaries of Maltese residency interested in doing business in Malta, what kind of opportunities exist to make this happen?
Charles Mizzi: Malta has become one of the more popular European countries in which to set up shop. While we have always been pro-business, welcoming investments from all over the world, we have seen a rapid rise in opportunities over the last years.
Government runs a number of schemes to support entrepreneurs and to encourage investors to establish start-ups.
And while the success of the gaming sector gets a lot of coverage, it is far from the only sector fertile in opportunities. Pharmaceuticals, aviation, maritime, hospitality, financial services, film and the knowledge industry are only a few other successful sectors offering career options and investment opportunities.
Our fully developed market makes up for our small size and makes Malta an ideal test base for new products and services, and the fact that English is the primary language for doing business makes setting up and gaining momentum that much easier.
CEO: How does the MPRP contribute to the nation’s socio-economic wealth?
Charles Mizzi: To start with, our programme is among the Government’s initiatives to attract foreign investment to our shores while facilitating economic mobility for third country nationals and their families. Attracting new residents contributes in terms of initial investment and investment in real estate.
Moreover, funds derived from the programme go to the Government’s Consolidated Fund and the National Development and Social Fund, both of which lead to important local projects that come with great benefits for local communities.
As I previously mentioned, Residency Malta also manages its own CSR initiatives, which have already borne fruit over the previous year. Among our initiatives, we have contributed to the purchase of tablets for a local support agency, we have aided in a robotics project by the University of Malta, benefitting children on the autism spectrum, and we have refurbished a library and science laboratory in one of our secondary schools. Last but not least, Residency Malta has also committed a substantial sum to the government’s housing fund, which will assist with the provision of social housing for local families.
CEO: What metrics and yardsticks are used to determine the efficacy of the MPRP?
Charles Mizzi: The easiest way to measure the efficacy of the programme is to calculate the number of applications we receive. However, Residency Malta has always courted quality over quantity, and we apply strict due diligence to every application we receive. This is how we have maintained our stellar reputation. We carry out four-tier checks which ensure that only those applicants who are fit-and-proper can qualify for permanent residency, and we screen for adverse media, litigation, crimes, source of wealth and source of funds, among many other checks.
At the end of the day, we must be sure that we are opening our doors to members who will not only add value to our communities but who are themselves deserving of the added value our communities can give to them.
More information about Residency Malta’s programmes may be found at www.residencymalta.gov.mt