Malta permanent residence for a professor from Thailand: attending scientific conferences in Europe without visas
With Maltese permanent residence, I see a bundle of new opportunities for both participating in outstanding scientific research and increasing my income. It’s inspiring.
In Europe, we are not strangers anymore. We can easily cross the border without having to answer various questions. I feel particularly great about it.
Why Suwit and Anong wished to get residency by investment in Europe
Suwit is a renowned Thai scientist and university professor. He has already retired but continues teaching and conducting research. His wife, Anong, is also a retiree.
The professor is often invited to scientific conferences in Europe. Suwit had to go through the lengthy visa application process each time he got an invitation. Due to visa delays, he missed several important academic events, which irritated him. Suwit wanted to get visa-free access to Schengen and become independent of the unsavoury bureaucratic procedures.
The opportunity to enter Europe without visas would also make it easier for the spouses to receive annual medical check-ups in Switzerland and meet with their son, who is now working in Germany.
To achieve their goal, Suwit and Anong could obtain either citizenship of a country with a visa-waiver agreement with the EU or residency in one of the Schengen countries. As citizens of Thailand, the couple was prohibited from having dual citizenship, so they decided to get residence permits.
Holders of standard residence permits are obliged to spend at least 183 days per annum in the country of residence, but the spouses did not intend to do so. They decided to participate in a residence-by-investment program because investors are exempt from this requirement. With this task, Suwit turned to Immigrant Invest.
Why the couple chose the Malta Residence and Visa Programme
We offered Suwit and Anong to consider four Schengen countries with investment programs: Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Malta. Residence permits in any of these states would give the couple visa-free access to Europe and solve their task.
The spouses took a closer look at these countries’ cultural and lifestyle features. Suwit also paid attention to universities and scientific communities. He found the University of Malta particularly interesting for collaboration, and when he contacted it, it turned out the interest was mutual. Suwit got an excellent offer of cooperation, which drew him to choose Maltese residency.
Malta has two investment programs. Investors can obtain temporary residence permits in Malta or permanent ones. The difference is that the status of a temporary resident must be renewed each year, while permanent residency is termless.
Maltese temporary residence requires much fewer expenses — a minimum of €34,000 against €330,000 to get permanent residency, though it sets a severe restriction. Holders of temporary permits cannot spend more than 183 days per year in another country. Suwit and Anong did not want to comply with this requirement, so they chose to apply for permanent residence through the Malta Residence and Visa Program.
Selecting real estate: purchase or rent?
Participants of the Malta Residence and Visa Program must fulfil several conditions:
Prove financial solvency by showing either €100,000 of annual income or €500,000 in assets.
Pay the non-refundable administration fee of €30,000.
Invest €250,000 in the Maltese Government Bonds for five years. After this period, the securities can be sold.
Purchase a real estate property in Malta or rent it for five years.
The minimum rent amount is €10,000 per annum in the south of Malta and €12,000 in the north or the centre of the country. As for the purchase, the investment property in the south must cost €270,000, and in the centre or the north — €320,000.
Changes to the Maltese investment program
The Malta Residence and Visa Program has been replaced with the Malta Permanent Residence Programme. The minimum investment under the program has been reduced from €330,000 to €150,000.
Suwit chose to buy real estate. He planned to sell it in five years at a profit, covering part of the non-refundable expenses. On average, housing prices in Malta grow by 4,9% per year.
Immigrant Invest real estate experts offered Suwit and Anong several properties to choose from. The spouses opted for an apartment in a Special Designated Area (SDA) for €350,000. The investor also paid €17,500 as a stamp duty at 5%.
SDAs are particular areas where foreigners can purchase real estate without restrictions. Buying property in such a project reduced the time needed to complete the deal to 1 month. Suwit did not need to obtain an Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) permit, which would take additional 2—3 months.
Another advantage of apartments in SDA complexes is that they can be rented out. The annual yield of the couple’s property will be 5—6% if they go for renting.
How Suwit and Anong obtained permanent residence in Malta by spending €651,720 and 11 months
What changes have occurred in the couple’s life after obtaining permanent residence in Malta
Had to get visas to enter the Schengen Area → Can visit Schengen countries visa-free.
Could live only in Thailand → Can choose where to live, in Thailand or Malta.
Worried about missing conferences → Confident to be able to attend any scientific event.
Now the spouses travel around Europe without the hassle and delays, be it for scientific events, health treatments or leisure. The couple now spends more time with their son in Germany, which pleases Anong greatly.
Suwit never has to worry about missing another conference. He continues to develop his academic work and now collaborates with the University of Malta, bringing him immense satisfaction and extra income.
As permanent residents of Malta, Suwit and Anong can reside in the country for as long or as little as they want.
Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the European Union and the Caribbean.
This case was provided by our expert
Head of the Maltese office, MBA
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