RE/MAX Malta management recently attended a press conference organised by the Chamber of Commerce that tackled the permanent residency scheme which is currently on hold for the moment. The Chamber of Commerce acting under their real estate section, together with the Federation of Estate Agents, Malta Developers Association and the Special Designated Areas, combined forces to elevate the situation and inform the public, its client’s as well as Government that they are concerned that the permanent residency amendments are taking too long to be approved and implemented and there are too many businesses being financially effected without this scheme in place.
The press conference also clarified that all parties agree that there needs to be changes to the scheme and that proposals provided to the governement have been unanswered. Regulations of the permanent resident scheme apparently attracted some individuals that were jumping on the bandwagon without investing enough into the economy. The Maltese Government rightfully finds this situation unacceptable and endeavours to amend the policy so that the scheme is not so easily taken advantage of. Previously one of the mandatory policies was that an individual applying to become a permanent resident of Malta would have to buy a property in Malta or would only have to rent a property for a minimum of €4150 p.a. The Chamber of Commerce agreed that this was too low and proposed that minimum goes up to €12, 000p.a. which is believed to be a reasonable compromise to avoid individuals taking advantage of the generous system. The Chamber of Commerce also suggested that every applicant for the permanent residency scheme must prove that they have an adequate health insurance and assure that they will not be a burden on the Maltese health system therefore avoiding individuals utilising the system just to benefit from the system, which is known to be excellent but also free to Maltese Nationals and Permanent Residency Holders.
The main sticking point for the Chamber of Commerce was about the Maltese businesses that benefited from the permanent residency scheme. A Chamber of commerce spokesperson stated “Should the Governement not act fast and should the Governement not implement reasonable measures to assure the future of the scheme various Maltese businesses would be negatively affected. These would include painters to interior designers, carpenters to the top furniture importers, the small builder, big developers, hotels in Malta, cafe’s and restaurants, the estate agents, car hire firms and various other businesses that the Permanent Resident would need when living in Malta.” The trickle affect is not measurable however it is known through statistics that in 2010 alone over 151 non-eu citizens purchased property to the tone of € 35 million. This does not include the European Nationals and was supposedly during the height of a Global recession.
After the press conference Kevin Buttigieg, Managing Director of RE/MAX Malta commented “We agree with the government on one hand that there needs to be changes however these should be reasonable so that the genuine applicants that spend good money in our country are not put off.”
The Government later assured that they are taking necessary steps to ensure that the scheme is fool-proof.