Nexia BT made concessionaire to promote residency programme in Middle East

Programme is intended to attract wealthy foreigners to Malta in return for a residence permit and visa-free access to the Schengen Zone 

Brian Tonna, the managing partner of Nexia BT
Brian Tonna, the managing partner of Nexia BT

Audit firm Nexia BT has been appointed as the government’s official concessionaire to promote the Malta Residence and Visa Programme in the Middle East.

Nexia BT was thrust into the limelight last year when it was revealed that it had set up three offshore Panama companies – one for tourism minister Konrad Mizzi, one for OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, and a third, Egrant, who the PN has accused the Prime Minister of being the ultimate beneficiary owner of.

The residency and visa programme, launched in 2015, is intended to attract wealthy foreigners to invest in Malta in return for a residence permit and visa-free access to the Schengen Zone. It is a separate scheme from the Individual Investment Programme, that offers Maltese citizenship to wealthy investors.

Applicants must purchase property in Malta worth at least €320,000, or €270,000 if it is in the south of the island or in Gozo. They can instead opt to rent property for a yearly minimum of €12,000, downscaled to €10,000 if it is in the South or in Gozo.

They must also commit to a qualifying investment worth at least €250,000 which must be held for at least five years, pay a €30,000 contribution fee, and file an affidavit proving that their annual income stands at €100,000 or that they hold a minimum capital of €500,000.

In a legal notice this week, the government announced some changes to the scheme, including that the €30,000 application fee will now cover the main applicant, spouse and children together. However, applicants will have to pay an additional €5,000 per parent or grandparent included.

The previous age limit of 27 for unmarried economically dependent adult children has been removed, meaning that the applicant’s children who would have qualified as dependants at application stage will no longer lose their residency rights on their 27th birthday, or if they become economically active or get married.

If they marry, they may also be able to add their partner and their direct dependants to the residency scheme for an additional €5,000 fee.

Children of residency applicants or their children, born or adopted after the approval date, will be eligible for Maltese residency against a €5,000 fee.

The requirement for applicants to spend outside of Malta a period of either six consecutive months or an aggregate period of ten months over four years has been removed. 

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