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Malta Launches the Startup Residence Programme

In a bid to continue promoting Malta as a start-up hub, the Start in Malta Initiative has introduced the Malta Startup Residence Programme. This new programme is intended to grant a three-year residency permit (which can be extended to an additional 5 years) to non-EU nationals, allowing them to reside in Malta and launch their start up from Malta. Its aim is to boost the competitive market within the EU while supporting the immigration process of all those involved.

The benefits of this programme include:

  • Three years of residency in Malta, which can be extended for a further 5 years if the start-up is still ongoing
  • Immediate family members of the applicants can also benefit from such residency status
  • The possibility of applying for long-term residency after legally living in Malta for five years
  • The opportunity to bring ideas and business into the European Market.

To be eligible for this programme, the individual must satisfy these requirements:

  1. Have a concrete intention to develop/expand their business in Malta
  2. Be the founder or co-founder of such business which has been registered for a maximum of 7 years in any country (including Malta) and which fulfils the following criteria:
    • Has not taken over the activity of another enterprise,
    • Has not distributed profit,
    • Has not been formed through a merger.
  3. The co-founder is one of the first entrepreneurs of the start-up (which will be reflected in the market cap table)
  4. Must be a third country national (i.e. individuals from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland are excluded). Other excluded countries are Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Venezuela. This list may be revised from time to time.
  5. The founder, co-founder and core employee applying must be 18 years and older
  6. The incorporated start up must have a tangible investment and/or paid share capital of minimum €25,000. If more than four co-founders apply, an additional €10,000 is required per co-founder. The maximum number of co-founders is limited to six.
  7. The founder/co-founder must have a physical and tangible presence in Malta (both business and personal living). Therefore, the applicant must live in and pay taxes in Malta.
  8. Have health insurance covering risks in Malta for himself and all dependants.
  9. Have sufficient financial resources (proven through bank statements) to support himself and any dependents.
  10. Have no criminal record / pending criminal charges and does not pose a rise to national security or public policy/health/interest.
  11. Cannot have previously been rejected for residence/citizenship status in Malta or elsewhere.

The eligible start ups must be engaged in one or more of the following activities in Malta:

ManufacturingSoftware development  
Industrial services analogous to manufacturingHealth, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and life sciences,  
Eco start-ups involved in the blue, green and sustainable industriesOther innovative economic activities which are enabled through knowledge and technology providing services or products which are currently not readily available in the relevant market, or which shall be provided through a process which is novel.  

Furthermore, the business projects must meet a minimum of two of the following criteria:

  • Propose products and/or services that have the potential to generate income from various geographical markets
  • Produce products and/or services which are new, innovative, or substantially improved compared to complementary products on the market
  • Use processes which are new or substantially improved compared to those adopted in current complementary activities.

The applicable fees are:

€750Per adult dependant / dependant
€82.50To Identity Malta for the issuance of the Residence Card for each individual applicant.

This article was written by Dr Cherise Abela Grech and Ms Jodie Arpa.

For more information on applications for the Malta Startup Residence Programme please contact Dr Ivan Gatt and Dr Cherise Abela Grech.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to impart legal advice and readers are asked to seek verification of statements made before acting on them.