Investment Migration Insider spoke to Roderick Cutajar, head of the Malta Residence Visa Programme, during the 2018 Investment Migration Forum in Geneva. He revealed that the program’s application numbers were quickly approaching 800, that the strong interest had led to a few months’ increase in processing time, and that many applicants are buying – rather than leasing – properties in Malta.
“At the moment we are processing about 800 applications, and growing – we are expecting about another 300 – and as in all residence by investment programs, Chinese dominate but we are happy to note an increase in interest from other countries, such as South Africa, Turkey, Russia, and other countries,” said Mr. Cutajar in response to a request for a statistical update on the program’s popularity.
With regards to processing time, he said that the MRVP was “delaying a bit in the completion of applications given the growth but, as we say, we are looking for quality so we take our time to conduct all the due diligence processes that need to be done to successfully ensure that the client that we are bringing over to Malta is of good repute.”
Questioned as to precisely what sort of lead-time applicants may expect these days, Cutajar responded that while in the beginning the MRVP had been processing files in 3-4 months – due to a sharp rise in interest (500 applications in 2017 alone, and currently 15-20 applications a week) – current processing time was about 5-6 months, a number he said he expected to decrease along with continued investment in human resources and training.
Cutajar was also happy to share that many applicants opted to purchase property in Malta. The 100 or so already approved applications had resulted in EUR 16 million in outright property purchases, said the CEO.