We will tell you under what conditions benefits are available and whether it is possible to obtain an EU residence permit by investment in a business.
International business support in Malta
If a Maltese company wants to do business internationally, it can obtain funding from TradeMalta and HSBC Bank Malta. Funding is available through the Global Growth Programme.
The funding will cover up to 50% of the company's development costs, but one business will be allocated a maximum of €10,000. The money may be spent on:
- travelling abroad to meet clients or attending trade fairs and conferences;
Flying overseas clients to Malta;
- Seeking and recruiting partners for development in target markets;
- Designing, producing and translating marketing materials, product packaging and product information for export;
- SEO optimisation and translation of the company website - not exceeding €1000.
Only companies that already have experience of cooperation with foreign customers will be able to receive funding for 2022. The money will be allocated for business expansion in the international market. Who can apply for funding.
Applications for funding are accepted until 19 November 2021. To do so, you need to fill in a form on the TradeMalta website. The application must be accompanied by company information and a business plan with international business development objectives for 2022. Full list of application documents.
If the company is approved, it will receive money for the costs of the business plan. Once approved, the company pays an administration fee of €100 with VAT regardless of the approved expenditure amount.
Benefits for foreign companies in Cyprus
In October 2021, the Cypriot government approved a new strategic plan to attract foreign companies. It will come into force on 1 January 2022.
The plan will make it easier to transfer business to Cyprus and start new international companies, with tax incentives and relocation benefits for employees. The changes are primarily aimed at the target sectors: IT, advanced technology and innovation, shipping, research and development, biogenetics and biotechnology.
A new business facilitation service, the Business Facilitation Unit, will take care of all procedures for setting up and expanding companies in Cyprus. Namely:
- registration and licensing of new companies;
- approval of the name of the new company;
- Registration of companies with the social security, VAT and Income Tax Registrar;
- Assistance in obtaining and renewing residence and work permits for employees of foreign companies.
Residence permits and employment of foreign employees. Cypriot companies can hire nationals from countries outside the EU for key positions. Under the new rules, foreign professionals must:
- Have a university degree or other proof of qualification. Evidence of at least two years' experience in the chosen field is accepted as proof.
- Have an employment contract with a Cypriot company for at least two years.
- Receive a salary of at least €2500 per month before tax.
Foreign specialists in key positions must not account for more than 70% of the total number of employees. The rule applies for the first five years after registration of the company with the Business Facilitation Unit.
Third-country nationals are also allowed to be employed as support staff or rank-and-file employees with a salary of less than €2,500 per month. The proportion of foreign employees in rank-and-file positions must not exceed 30%.
Foreign employees will receive a residence permit and a work permit in Cyprus for three years. Key employees with a salary of €2,500 or more per month will have the right to bring their family to Cyprus and their spouses will also have the right to work in Cyprus.
Third country nationals may be employed under the new rules:
- Existing or new Cypriot companies with a representative office in Cyprus, such as an office;
- Cypriot dry cargo companies;
- Cypriot high-tech, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
Visas for self-employed and remote workers. A new type of visa, the Digital Nomad Visa, is planned to be issued to 100 applicants in 2022. Applicants with an income of €3,500 per month, health insurance and no criminal record will be granted the visa. The income must come from sources outside Cyprus, such as Russia.
The visa is valid for one year, after which the visa can be extended for another two years. If the visa holder resides in Cyprus for more than 183 days in one year, he/she will be considered as a Cyprus tax resident.
The applicant's spouse and children may also receive a visa and move to live in Cyprus. They are however not allowed to be employed or run a business in the country.
Perspective on Cypriot citizenship. In order to obtain Cyprus citizenship by naturalisation a foreigner has to live on the island for several years. The government proposes shortening the period after which a foreign employee of a Cypriot company can apply for Cypriot citizenship. But whether the rule will take effect from 2022 is not specified.
Tax exemptions are also proposed to be introduced from 2022. Parliament will receive a list of exemptions for consideration by the end of 2021 and will make a decision by the end of March 2022.
Proposed tax incentives in Cyprus from 2022
|Benefit||For whom||Receipt conditions|
|50% discount on income tax||New tax residents who are employed by Cypriot companies||Annual income from €55,000|
|50% income tax reduction for 17 years||New tax residents who are employed by Cypriot companies||Annual income from €55,000 to €100,000|
|50% income tax reduction for 10 to 17 years||New tax residents who are employed by Cypriot companies||Annual income of €100,000 or more|
Has not been a tax resident in Cyprus for 17 years prior to employment with a Cypriot company
|50% discount on investment tax||Corporate investors||When investing in certified innovative companies|
|Up to 20% discount on research and development costs||Cypriot companies||Not specified|
|Tax deduction from taxable income at the rate of 120% of actual income||Cypriot companies||For research and development expenditure|
How to get permanent residence in Malta or Cyprus by investing in a business
Permanent residence in Malta is not granted for an investment in a business. But permanent residence status can be granted to investors who fulfil four investment conditions
Investment conditions for obtaining permanent residence in Malta
|Condition||Amount of investment|
|Renting or buying a residential property||From €10,000 - rental|
From €300,000 - purchase
|State fee||€58,000 for renting accommodation|
€28,000 when buying
The investor also pays for the services of a notary, translation and apostille of documents: costs start at €4, 000. Health insurance is compulsory and costs from €400.
You have to rent a property for at least five years, so the cost of obtaining a residence permit for renting starts at €154,400. If you buy a home, it starts at €374,400.
An investor can obtain a residence permit in Malta together with their family: spouse, children, parents and grandparents.
Holders of Malta residence permit cards are entitled to live, study, work and do business in Malta. They can also travel visa-free to 26 Schengen countries.
Permanent residence in Cyprus can be obtained by investing money in shares of an existing or new company. The business must be profitable from sources in Cyprus and must have at least five employees.
The applicant cannot be employed in Cyprus if he/she wants to obtain a permanent residence permit for an investment. However, he/she can own a business, e.g. run a company in which he/she plans to invest in order to obtain a permanent residence permit.
The minimum investment in a Cypriot business to obtain a permanent residence permit is €300,000. The investor also needs to prove an annual income of €30,000 or more and have a home in Cyprus.
The investor's spouse, children up to the age of 25 and parents may apply for a residence permit together with the investor. Children over the age of 18 are only allowed to be included in the permanent residence permit application if they are full-time students, unmarried and financially dependent on the investor.
A permanent residence permit in Cyprus gives the right to live, conduct business and study in the country. Cypriot residents receive a Schengen visa through an expedited procedure. An investor can apply for Cyprus citizenship five years after obtaining a permanent residence permit, not after seven years as with naturalisation.
Three-bedroom penthouse in a residential complex in Marsascala, Malta
Price - €340,000
Villa with swimming pool in a golf resort in Paphos, Cyprus
Price - €800,000
Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent of permanent residence programmes in Malta and Cyprus by investment. If you want to become a Maltese or Cypriot resident and start a business in the European Union, seek advice from experts in investment programmes.