Malta introduces new residency scheme

andres del risco

One of the major trends that has been taking hold in property markets around the world over the past year or more is that of governments offering residency inducements for foreign buyers.

The schemes are aimed at bringing overseas investment into a country by tempting foreign nationals to buy into domestic property markets. Although some of the plans revolve around tax breaks and other financial incentives, many countries are offering relaxed visa regulations and residency permit deals to attract investors.

In Europe, the Schengen Agreement covers the issues of free movement of people between member states, and it is the basis on which ‘passport free’ travel is allowed throughout mainland Europe. It also means that European residents can enter other member states without requiring visas and can live and work in other countries with ease.

Spain, Ireland and Portugal have all introduced elements of such schemes and now Malta is introducing similar measures.

The Maltese residency permit was launched by the Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Dr Edward Zammit Lewis, and will be available to individuals who buy a property in Malta over a certain value and pay a minimum amount of tax.

The Global Residence Programme requires a non-EU foreigner to purchase a home with a value of more than €220,000 in the south of Malta or in Gozo, or a minimum of €275,000 for properties in central and northern Malta.

As well as giving the opportunity for freedom of travel throughout other European states, having a Maltese Residence Permit will entitle non EU Nationals to many other benefits. These include free education up to and including university level and free health care.

If you are interested in buying a property in Malta, you will inevitably need to send money there. Before jumping into a currency transfer, think carefully about how you send cash abroad. Using a specialist currency exchange firm can mean you access exchange rates that are far more competitive than those offered by the banks.

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