2018

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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.

Suwit

Suwit,

Scientist and university professor from Thailand

Clients’ names and photos have been changed

Malta permanent residence for retirees from Thailand

Malta permanent residence for a professor from Thailand: attending scientific conferences in Europe without visas

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.

Malta Permanent Residence Programme for retirees from Thailand | Valletta

Valletta is the capital of Malta. Here is located the University of Malta, which has made Suwit a job offer

Selecting real estate: purchase or rent?

Participants of the Malta Residence and Visa Program must fulfil several conditions:

  1. Prove financial solvency by showing either €100,000 of annual income or €500,000 in assets.

  2. Pay the non-refundable administration fee of €30,000.

  3. Invest €250,000 in the Maltese Government Bonds for five years. After this period, the securities can be sold.

  4. 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

1

October 20th, 2017

Preliminary Due Diligence

Suwit underwent our internal check, showing he was eligible for the Maltese investment program. His application would have a high chance of being approved.

We signed a Services Agreement and began preparing an application.

2

+ 1 month

Collection of documents, €4,000

We provided the spouses with the list of documents they needed to collect. Thanks to Suwit’s thorough style, all records were quickly prepared. The lawyers organised the translation, apostilization, legalisation, and notarization of the documents.

To prove the availability of funds of €500,000, Suwit ordered the estimation of the cost of his apartment in Thailand and a bank statement of his savings account. In total, his capital was €589,000, which fitted the program’s terms.

3

+ 7 months

Main Due Diligence, €5,500

As a licensed agent of the program, we filed Suwit’s package of documents to the Malta Residence and Visa Agency on his behalf. At this stage, the spouses did not have to come to Malta.

Suwit paid €5,500, a part of the €30,000 administration fee. The rest was to be paid after getting approval.

In 7 months, we were notified that Suwit’s candidacy was accepted, and he could move on to the investment stage.

4

+ 2 months

Fulfilment of the investment conditions, €624,500

We provided legal support for Suwit’s purchases of bonds and property. He also paid the rest of the administration fee and took out an insurance policy.

5

+ 5 weeks

Providing fingerprints and getting final approval

We arranged the delivery of biometric data by the couple. For that, they came to Malta. Then, the lawyers submitted the documents showing the spouses fulfilled all the conditions to the Malta Residence and Visa Agency. The investor got final approval.

6

+ 3 weeks, September 15th 2018

Receiving Maltese permanent residence cards, €220

After paying the card issuance fee of €110 per person, Suwit received Maltese permanent residence cards for himself and his wife.

What changes have occurred in the couple’s life after obtaining permanent residence in Malta

  1. Had to get visas to enter the Schengen Area → Can visit Schengen countries visa-free.

  2. Could live only in Thailand → Can choose where to live, in Thailand or Malta.

  3. 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

Igor Buglo
Igor Buglo

Head of the Maltese office, MBA

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