Ordinary residence in Malta requires individuals to physically live on the island for a period of six months or more. The transfer of one’s residence from a high-tax jurisdiction to a lower tax overseas country is available to both EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA nationals. There is no minimum value property requirement for non-residents seeking to obtain ordinary residence in Malta, unless there is the need for an Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) permit, which applies in specific circumstances.
The qualifying criteria, which vary according to whether the individual seeking to obtain ordinary residence in Malta is an EU/EEA national or a third country national, can be easily complied with, thus making the attainment of Maltese ordinary residence even more attractive.
There are different grounds on which EU/EEA nationals may become ordinarily resident in Malta, including economic self-sufficiency, employment, education and opening a business.
This criterion requires that applicants show that they are able to provide for themselves and for their accompanying dependants by being financially stable and not being in need of any financial support from the Maltese government. The current thresholds for EU/EEA nationals are set at a minimum capital of € 14,000 or a weekly income of € 84.95 for single persons, and at a capital of at least € 23,300 or a weekly income of € 93.10 for married couples.
A second ground on which EU/EEA nationals may obtain ordinary residence in Malta is employment. Hence, an individual must accept offers of employment or seek employment in Malta, work in Malta as an employee or be self-employed. Alternatively, an individual may opt to set up a business in Malta and work for his / her own business.
Third Country Nationals
The qualifying criteria for Maltese ordinary residence in respect of third country nationals vary from those applicable to EU/EEA nationals. We are setting out below a few of these possibilities. An employment licence is required in order for non-EU/EEA nationals to work in Malta. This is granted upon satisfying certain criteria. Candidates qualified in the financial services, and information technology fields are sought after, and therefore it may be easier for such individuals to get an employment licence.
In order to qualify to apply for self-employed status and work for one’s business, a third country national must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- An investment of at least € 100,000. In relation to such investment, expenditure ought to comprise solely capital expenditure, which must consist of fixed assets (such as immovable property, plant and machinery) used for business purposes and this must be reflected in the business plan submitted with the application. Rental contracts do not qualify. Likewise, expenses such as salaries and legal fees cannot be paid from the €100,000 invested by way of minimum investment;
- Status of a highly skilled innovator with a sound business plan, committed to recruiting at least three EU/EEA nationals within eighteen months of establishment of business;
- Status of sole representative of an overseas company (with a sound reputation and established for at least three years abroad) wishing to open a branch in Malta; or
- The holding of a directorship in a company forming part of a project that has been formally approved by Malta Enterprise, and which has been formally notified by the latter to the Employment and Training Corporation.
A firm commitment regarding the engagement of EU/EEA nationals as part of the applicant’s staff will assist in the favourable consideration of an application.