The last week¸ new residency scheme – Global Residence Programme (GRP) has been announced (Click here to read more about GRP). The new scheme grants foreigners (both EU-nationals and non-EU nationals) who buy property in Malta to enjoy the same rights like Maltese citizens. Under the GRP¸ the value of immovable property was brought down to €275¸000 and the €500¸000 bond removed¸ while the minimum value for property is in the south of Malta or in Gozo was reduced to €220¸000.
Speaking at the launch of the programme¸ Parliamentary Secretary for Competiveness and Economic Growth Edward Zammit Lewis said: “The new programme is addressed specifically to address the needs of non-EU and non-EEA foreign nationals. It is government’s intention to look into all the programmes that Malta has and if necessary introduce improvements to make them more attractive.”
This initiative aims to boost the property market and revitalize the sector. However¸ recently the Opposition has called for risk mitigation measures. The parliamentary secretariat for economic growth ensures that the new programme was prepared carefully after a review of similar initiative in other countries. The Parliamentary Secretariat claims that: “Every individual and every application will be scrutinized¸ assuring an efficient and transparent process that respects the applicant and safeguards the country’s interests”.
The government says that only the person who pass due diligence might be considered as an applicant for Maltese citizenship. However¸ Kristy Debono (the PN’s spokesperson on economic growth) claims Malta “might be at risk of attracting residents where tax is their main motive for them relocating to Malta.” Ms Debono adds: “If a scheme is not regulated in a proper and diligent manner¸ the risk exposed to money laundering is higher”.
Alternattiva Demokratika Secretary – General Ralph Cassar comments: “We hope it will not be used as an excuse for more development”. Depending on the property sector as a means of economic growth was the main cause of the crisis in Spain and Cyprus