Alternative residence and citizenship programs have become an increasingly important aspect of international private client planning, and Malta’s Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) is currently the most interesting option available to the international client - not just from a financial perspective, but also because the island nation offers a certain rare beauty.
Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, the archipelago has a history that dates as far back as 5,000 BC when the inhabitants of neighboring Sicily crossed the waters to settle there. They built infrastructure unlike anywhere else, and these buildings still exist today as the oldest megalithic structures known to man. Malta’s capital Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stuart MacFeeters, Managing Director of Henley & Partners Malta says, “The country has a splendid climate with very friendly people and one of the lowest crime rates in Europe. It is neutral, stable and safe, and offers its residents a good quality of life overall. It is no surprise that Malta is ranked first on theGlobal Citizenship Program Index (GCPI), above Cyprus, Austria and four other countries.”
The index, which provides a comprehensive, systematic analysis and benchmarks the world’s most relevant investor immigration and citizenship-by-investment programs each year, ranks the countries according to 10 indicators; namely Reputation, Quality of Life, Visa-Free Access, Processing Time, Compliance, Investment Requirements, Residence Requirements, Relocation Flexibility, Physical Visits Required, and Transparency.
The island nation ranked consistently in the top three across all the indicators, but it emerged as the clear leader for Compliance; the procedures and components with regard to due diligence requirements for profiling the backgrounds of applicants.
Malta also boasts an excellent reputation, having developed an effective business infrastructure over the past 15 years and positioning itself as an international business hub. Since the island nation joined the European Union (EU) in 2004, its financial industry has experienced constant growth, offering a number of advantages for business people. From a tax perspective, Malta places one of the lowest tax burdens on its residents, with favorable tax credit incentives.
MacFeeters adds, “Malta has it all; a rich history, a vibrant culture, and great business opportunities. Citizens have visa-free access to 166 countries, including all 28 EU countries and Switzerland, making the MIIP the most advanced and most exclusive citizenship-by-investment program available.”