Lawyers urge consultation on ‘excessive’ permanent residents’ scheme rules

Chamber of Advocates calls for consultation on new rules to end prolonged suspension of permanent residency scheme.

The Chamber of Advocates has expressed concern at the lack of government consultation on the suspension of the residence scheme regulations, previously brought to public attention by the Chamber of Commerce.

The rules facilitate the entry and indefinite stay of foreigners to Malta who must first fulfil eligibility rules on heir good standing, minimum income, and wealth requirements – primarily attracting affluent workers. But they were abruptly stopped by the finance ministry over suspicion of abuse.

The Chamber’s secretary-general Stefan Camilleri said the scheme had been abused by a “minority of advisors and real estate agents locally and board who highlighted too commercially the indirect legal consequences of taking up residence in Malta to further their business interests.”

Camilleri hinted that a significant incident where an EU national had qualified for overseas medical treatment for serious illness at the expense of the national health system, may have contributed to suspicion of abuse of the scheme.

He said many lawyers represent clients who had commenced their relocation to Malta only to find their residence status was now in limbo, after having paid for accommodation, transportation, school fees for children and other deposits on homes.

“While the Chamber sympathises with this reaction, amendments in 20006 proved to have gone overboard in assuring that documents presented in support of an application for residence were genuine to avoid real abuse,” Camilleri said.

EU nationals in Malta under the scheme are entitled to free healthcare by virtue of EU citizenship, but non-EU nationals can only access such medical care upon qualifying for long-term residence status.

“The Chamber agrees with the need to revisit the rules but it fears the changes being considered by government will go overboard in redressing these concerns, rendering the scheme unattractive at a time when Malta’s competitiveness is under attack by jurisdictions who are more sensitive to wealthy foreigners seeking residence therein,” Camilleri said.

Camilleri said Cyprus, Monaco, and Switzerland have been “fast to respond” with favourable conditions to attract the rich and affluent.

"The Chamber urges the government to open up discussions and expedite the issue of new regulations to bring to an end this prolonged period of uncertainty for applicants and approved families caught up in the midst of this suspension," Camilleri said.

Published MaltaToday Wed 27th April 2011


  1. I'm new to Malta, and am perfectly willing and able to cover private schooling and private medication costs. It's a privilege to be in Malta. The permanent residency program was too easy to join. Tripling the entry thresholds would not make any difference to me. I'd encourage this review be moved along quickly. It creates uncertainty, which is more damaging than the review, in the long run. Bring this to a conclusion.

    I have bought one apartment in Fort Cambridge and am planning on buying a 2nd property in Qui Si Sana, for guest visits and our home-help, and our occasional home office.

    I love Malta, and plan on inviting more friends, family and business associates to enjoy it, and consider living here.

  2. Hi Mark, thanks for your comment. Please check this article link from The Times of Malta, uploaded earlier this evening.


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