Malta Start-Up Residence Programme Launched

Malta consolidates its position as the leading jurisdiction for business in Europe and the wider MENA area with the launch of the Malta Start Up Residence Programme. The programme fills a vital gap that has until now existed between non-EU nationals wishing to establish a business in the European Union and their requirement for a residency permit.

Following the launch of the Nomad Residence Programme, the Malta Start Up Residence Programme continues to build on Malta’s forward-looking policy in attracting entrepreneurs from around the world. With a class leading IT infrastructure, Malta is the jurisdiction of choice for digital nomads and start-ups wishing to access the European bloc from an established international business and financial hub. A politically and economically stable country, Malta joined the EU in 2004 and the eurozone in 2008. Malta continues to attract foreign investors, offering a cosmopolitan lifestyle, excellent public health services and English as a native language.

Eligibility for Malta Start-Up Residence Programme

Applicants for the Malta Star Up Residence Programme must Meet the following criteria: 

  1. Be of at least 18 years of age
  2. Have a concrete intention to develop and/or extend the business in Malta
  3. Be the founder or the co-founder of an enterprise which has been registered for no more than 7 years, and fulfils the following:
    1. It has not yet distributed profits
    1. It has not been formed through a merger
    1. It has not taken over the activity of another enterprise
  4. A co-founder would be one of the first entrepreneurs to have set-up the start-up.
  5. Purchase or rent a residential property in Malta
  6. Be covered by a health insurance policy
  7. Not have previously had applications for a residence status or citizenship rejected in Malta or abroad.

This programme is open only to non-EU nationals. Nationals of (or those with close ties to) Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Venezuela are ineligible to apply. 

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Minimum Investment

in order to qualify for the programme, the start-up company in Malta is required to make an investment of no less than €25,000.  this may also take the form of fully paid up share capital.

In situations where applicants for the Start-up Residence Programme include more than four (4) co-founders, an additional €10,000 will be required to be invested per additional co-founder. As a general rule, the maximum number of co-founders eligible for the Start-up Residence Programme is six (6). 

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Personal Taxation

Since this is a residence programme it is no surprise that the founder and co-founders applying under the Malta Start-Up Residence Programme are required to have a physical and tangible presence in Malta. Successful applicants under this programme are required to live and pay taxes in Malta. 

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Residence Permit Duration

Following approval from the Residency Malta Agency and Malta Enterprise, residence permits issued under this programme will have an initial validity period of 3 years. Such permits may be renewed for an additional period of 5 years after the local government agencies verify that the start-up continues to operate and that its founders maintain the eligibility criteria of the Malta Start-Up Residence Programme. 

Qualifying Industries for the Malta Start-Up Residence Programme

While the Residency Malta Agency will process the residence application, the Malta Enterprise Agency will consider the proposed start-up venture through the submission of a business plan.

Start-Ups will be eligible if they operate in one or more of the following industries:

  • Software development
  • Manufacturing
  • Health, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and life sciences
  • Eco start-ups involved in the blue, green and sustainable industries
  • Other innovative economic activities enabled through knowledge and technology that provide services or products which are currently not readily available in the relevant market, or which shall be provided through a new process.

Start-Ups will need to have their business plan approved by Malta Enterprise in order to successfully apply under this programme. 

Prospective start-ups must also meet at least two of the following criteria: 

  • Propose products or services that have the potential to generate income from various geographical markets.
  • Produce products or services which are new or substantially improved compared to complementary products on the market
  • Utilise process which are new or substantially improved compared to those adopted in current complementary activities.

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Core Employees & Family Members

The Malta Start-Up Residence Programme does not stop at founders and co-founders, but is also available to core employees of the start-up who possess specialised skills and earn a salary of at least €30,000.

Employment of such core employees must take place within the timeframe in which the undertaking is classified as a start-up. 

The residence card for core employees will be issued for three (3) years, which upon successful completion may be extended to an additional 3-year period. The application for core employees will only be considered after the Malta Start-up Residence permit is approved for the co-founders.

Immediate family members of core employees, founders and co-founders are also able to apply for a Maltese residence permit. Applications may include the spouse, de-facto partner, minor children and adult children who are financially dependent on the founder or the core employee.

The statutory fees related to applications for the Malta Start-up Residence Programme are as follows:

  • €750 for each adult applicant or dependant
  • €82.50 per person to Identity Malta Agency for the issuance of the residence card covering a 3-year period. 

How Can We Assist?

Our firm enjoys the reputation of a premier specialist for company formation in Malta with roots in sound legal and tax advice supported by a fully-fledged team for company formation  in Malta, company administration and company accounting teams. Foreigners investing in Malta may benefit from a range of funding grants and incentives, while as a full-service advisory operation, we may also assist in the preparation and submission of business plans and residence permit applications under the Start Up Residence Programme.