Malta is braced for a dip in the popularity of its investment immigration programs because of uncertainty over the UK’s relationship with the European Union.
It is an accepted norm that many of the applicants for the Maltese programs have no intention of residing there, but are instead targeting homes for themselves and/or their children in the UK.
This is despite a 12-month residency rule that was added to the program in order for it to achieve European Commission approval.
Investment Requirements for Malta Individual Investor Program
- Main Applicant: €650,000
- Spouse: €25,000
- Child under 18: €25,000
- Unmarried child aged 18-26: €50,000
- Dependant parent over 55: €50,000
After approval, the applicant must
- Invest at least €150,000 in approved instruments and hold the investment for at least five years.
- Buy residential immovable property in Malta with a minimum value of €350,000 and hold the property for at least five years or lease a residential immovable property in Malta with a minimum annual rent of €16,000 for a period of five years.
There has already been a downturn in interest according to local agents, as prospective investors look to bide their time until the UK has negotiated its exit from the EU following the shock referendum result.
Some applicants who had already begun proceedings are now trying to pull out.
It could be years before the UK actually leaves the EU, with the gruelling negotiation process due to begin soon following the swearing in of new Prime Minister Theresa May.
Maltese officials will be hoping the initial reaction to the ‘Brexit’ vote will settle down once potential investors realize how long the process will take.
Some have even suggested there could be a twist that results in British citizens becoming applicants to the Malta program.
With their free movement around Europe threatened by the vote to leave, many are said to be considering second citizenships, with Malta one of those available.
Meanwhile, the Malta program’s residential rental option is proving popular.
Of 143 people given a passport until the end of April 2016, 116 of them signed a five-year rental contract worth an average €21,000 a year.
Under the terms of the program, applicants can choose to either invest in property worth at least €350,000, or lease a property for a yearly minimum rent of €16,000.
But only 27 applicants have taken the option to buy, spending an average €950,000.
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