Amendments to the Malta Residency and Visa Programme

MaltaResidence

21 August 2017 - As a member of the European Union, Malta is a party to the world’s largest free trade area known as the Single Market. Malta’s sound financial administration and booming gaming industry as well as its legal regime, which is structured around encouraging foreign direct investment, makes it an ideal island to trade from and with.

The Government of Malta has recently issued Legal Notice 189 of 2017 that brought about beneficial changes to those non-European nationals and their dependants, opting to apply for the Malta Residency and Visa Programme.

The most notable amendments revoke a number of previously stringent restrictions, and in turn, reflect Malta’s more flexible approach toward third country nationals interested in investment and commerce using Malta as a platform and gateway from which to operate. These include;

1. The EUR30,000 fee that initially covered the main applicant, now includes the applicant, his or her spouse and their children.

2. The applicant may also contribute an additional EUR5,000 (non-refundable), per parent or grand-parent of either spouse.

3. There is now, no age limit for unmarried, economically dependent children to be considered. This previously stood at 27 years of age.

4. Children, who were granted Maltese residency as a dependant, will retain their rights even after their 27th Birthday, marriage or economic independence.

5. Upon the marriage or union referred to in 4 and subject to due diligence, the spouse or partner and their direct dependants may also be granted residency under the same application for an additional contribution of EUR5,000 per person.

6. The requirement for the applicant and his or her dependants to spend a period of time out of Malta no longer applies. Once they have entered into Malta, and their respective certificates have been issued, those persons are granted the right under Article 7 of the Immigration Act, to permanently and indefinitely remain in Malta. Eventually, this may lead to eligibility for Long Term Residency status.

7. Subject to a non-refundable administration fee of EUR5,000 and due diligence checks, the beneficiary certificate may now include;

* Children, born or adopted after the approval date of the application, belonging to the applicant or his/her spouse.
* Children, born or adopted after the approval date of the application, belonging to a dependant child of the applicant or his or her spouse.

Other benefits arising from the programme include, free movement within the Schengen area, eligibility to apply for a work permit, tax benefits under the Global Residence Programme and eventual naturalisation as a Maltese citizen after a prescribed period of residency and following certain conditions.

For more information on this and other related matters, feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive

aml-malta

11 August 2017 - The Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (No. 2015/849) (“4th AMLD”) is the most sweeping one to date. It was adopted on the 26th of June 2015 and gave Member States two years to reach full implementation. Amendments to the Directive were published in July 2016, halfway through the implementation period.

The Directive focuses on extending the scope of the previous directives whilst increasing transparency and aims at strengthening obligations with regards to rules on beneficial ownership, widening the definition of a politically exposed person (“PEP”) as well as extending the scope of the rules to the full gambling sector amongst other things.

One of the major changes brought about by the 4th AMLD is the introduction of the Ultimate Beneficial Owner (“UBO”) Register. Firstly the 4th AMLD defines UBOs in a manner which encompasses various possibilities and reduces uncertainties as to who the beneficial owner would be in situations with complex corporate structures and consequently the Directive stipulates that the UBO Register is to apply to all corporate entities, trusts, foundations and any other legal entities. The Register must contain adequate and accurate information which is to be accessible to authorities, Financial Intelligence Units (“FIUs”) and anyone who can prove legitimate interest. 

The introduction of the UBO register led to concerns being raised with regards to ease of access to information and transparency and privacy and this resulted in the UBO register for corporate entities and for trusts being kept separate. Furthermore a proposal was accepted allowing limited access to the trusts’ UBO register in situations where public access to the UBO’s information would expose them to the risk of harm. These are to be decided on a case by case basis.

The 4th AMLD also amends the definition of a PEP and includes in the definition, family members and close associates of the PEP amongst others. Once a PEP is no longer entrusted with a prominent public function, one still has to take into account the continuing risk posed by that person for at least twelve months

Another proposal put forward by the amendments to the 4th AMLD was that of information sharing through a centralised mechanism to allow FIUs to access information in a timely manner. FIUs are also to be given more power in their effort to acquire information required from any entities in an effort to combat tax avoidance and increase transparency.

The 4th AMLD also proposes amendments to the regulation of due diligence proceedings and requires entities to take a risk-based approach. In other words, if the risks are greater it should take enhanced measures, if the risks are simpler, it should take simpler measures. In fact the Directive does not define Customer Due Diligence instead focusing on a risk based evaluation of those situations where risks exist.

The implementation deadline for countries to incorporate the 4th AMLD into their national legislation was 26th June 2017 however due to various reasons some countries, including Malta, have missed the deadline.

For updates and for more information on this and other related matters, feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New Leave Entitlement for employees undergoing medically assisted procreation

Parliament

9 August 2017 - The Leave for Medically Assisted Procreation National Standard Order (S.L. 452.114) came into force on the 30th of May 2017, bringing into effect the minimum support measures which are to be provided to employees going through a medically assisted procreation process.

This new leave is granted to any “prospective parents”, being “two persons” whether “united in marriage, civil union, cohabitation, or have attained the age of majority and are in a stable relationship with each other”.

This Regulation provides for an entitlement of one hundred (100) hours of leave on full pay - to be shared between the two prospective parents who would be undergoing this process - whether in Malta or elsewhere, and which shall be compensated by the employer.

The Regulation stipulates that the entitlement to one hundred hours of full paid leave, shall be granted for each and every process of medically assisted procreation, up to a maximum of three processes. If only one prospective parent is employed throughout the process of medically assisted procreation, then the prospective parent who is receiving treatment shall be entitled to sixty (60) hours of leave, while the other prospective parent who is not receiving treatment, shall be entitled to forty (40) hours of leave.

The said leave is to be enjoyed concurrently by both prospective parents, if during the process of medically assisted procreation both the prospective parents are in employment, whether with the same employer or otherwise.

Employees requesting leave for this treatment must notify the employer - in writing - of the days when said leave will be availed of, at least two (2) weeks before making use of the entitlement. Furthermore, the employee is to provide proof of whether s/he is the receiving or non-receiving person and for this purpose a certificate written by a medical practitioner in charge of the procedure must be submitted.

Any individual  contravening the provisions of this regulation will be liable to a fine (multa) of not less than five hundred Euros (€500).

For any queries about this matter or any other employment related issue, please contact Gonzi & Associates on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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