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