The Republic of Malta is a small, strategically located country 60 miles south of Sicily and 180 miles north of Libya, astride some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. A politically stable parliamentary republic with a free press, Malta is considered a safe, secure, and welcoming environment for American investors to do business.
Malta joined the European Union in 2004, the Schengen visa system in 2007, and the Eurozone in 2008. With a population of about 533,286 and a total area of only 122 square miles, it is the EU’s smallest country in geographic size. The economy is based on services, primarily shipping, banking and financial services, online gaming, tourism, and professional, scientific, and technical activities. Manufacturing also plays a small, but important role. Maltese and English are the official languages.
Given its central location in one of the world’s busiest trading regions, as well as its relatively small economy, Malta recognizes the important contribution that international trade and investment provides to the generation of national wealth.
Prior to COVID-19, Malta was one of the EU’s fastest-growing economies. In 2022, real GDP growth is estimated to have reached 6.6 percent. In 2023, real GDP is forecast to grow at a slower pace, by 3.1 percent, following a wider economic slowdown in Malta’s main trading partners. In 2024, real GDP growth is expected to reach 3.7 percent, supported by net exports and growth in domestic demand. Malta’s unemployment rate stood at 3.1 percent in February 2022.
The top three credit rating agencies assess Malta’s economy as stable. The current sovereign credit ratings are A-/A-2 with a stable outlook (S&P); A2 with a stable outlook (Moody’s); and A+ with a stable outlook (Fitch).
In 2020, the Government of Malta revamped its citizenship-by-investment program, which provides citizenship by naturalization to applicants (and their dependents). The new program still offers a track to citizenship through the introduction of a residency requirement before the acquisition of Maltese citizenship. The residency program offers two investment routes to acquire citizenship: i) individuals can apply after a one-year residency period if they invest €750,000 ($875,000) or more; or ii) applicants can opt to pay €600,000 ($700,500) if they apply after a three-year residency period. IIP conditions include a €700,000 ($814,000) minimum for purchasing immovable property, or a €16,000 per year minimum for leasing immovable property (which must be retained for at least five years), and a €150,000 minimum for investment in stocks, bonds, or debentures. Applicants must also make a mandatory €10,000 ($11,600) philanthropic donation and pass a due diligence test before filing the application. In March 2022, the government suspended the processing of applications for nationals of the Russian Federation and Belarus. The suspension applies to both Malta’s citizenship-by-investment scheme as well as a residency through investment scheme, which must be renewed on a yearly basis.
|TI Corruption Perceptions Index||2022||54 of 171||http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview|
|Global Innovation Index||2022||21 of 132||https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/analysis-indicator|
|U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions)||2021||$2.3 billion||https://apps.bea.gov/international/factsheet|
|World Bank GNI per capita||2021||USD 30,760||http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD|