Concept of Citizenship

Brexit is an opportunity to re-shape the concept of citizenship. Let’s stop treating it as a birthright, and make it more democratic

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Somewhere in the depths of the messy and multi-directional fallout of Brexit, an interesting counter-trend is crystallizing. Even as millions of voters around the world loudly embrace slogans like “Make America Great Again” or “Vote Leave, Take Control,” the notion of fixed national citizenship has probably never faced such a moment of reshaping. What started as a referendum on political membership for the United Kingdom may be the trigger for a radical redefinition of citizenship as a concept in the near future—more like a subscription membership than a birthright.

One immediate casualty of Brexit has been the notion of lifelong citizenship, most easily observed by a dramatic surge in applications for advantageous passports from countries like Ireland—part of the British Isles but not the UK, therefore remaining in the European Union. Facing an unprecedented run on applications forms, the Irish government asked aspiring passport-swappers hoping to take advantage of Irish ancestry to maintain a European foothold to take a breath. Many young British students and professionals who have staked their bet on remaining part of, and taking advantage of, the EU as a political, social, and economic project. For these British citizens, the Brexit vote was devastating.

Likewise, there is a rising apprehension among immigrants that they may also be booted from the UK. This led to an increase in the number of EU citizens applying for British passports in the run up to the June 23rd referendum, helping to fuel a 29% increase in applicants from 2014 to 2015. UK immigration lawyers also reported seeing a rush of new clients in the weeks following the shocking result.

Nationality-jumping isn’t solely a concern for those looking to protect relationships, investments, or livelihoods, however. Some national leaders are thinking aloud about how to sweeten the pot for those considering a new and improved citizenship status.  One immediate casualty of Brexit has been the notion of lifelong citizenship. A week after the Brexit vote, one German minister suggested re-opening the prospect of dual citizenship for UK citizens, while Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi suggested British students in Italy could apply for Italian passports.

Amid all of this unrest, Europe’s first hybrid digital residency program, Estonia’s e-residency offering, also reported a jump in applicants post-referendum. Though it doesn’t currently convey any right to actually live in the Baltic state or provide other EU residency rights, it does provide the ability to digitally open a bank account, and start and run a business. Yet, many new applicants are hopeful this digital foothold will eventually become more substantial in the longer term.

Single sign-on citizens

Is a form of digital citizenship the best way forward in a post-Brexit world? Unlike, say, the collapse of the Soviet Union, which reimposed old nationalities almost overnight a quarter century ago, the UK’s referendum comes at a moment when global flows of trade, travel, and technology have laid the groundwork for new ways of thinking about, and constructing, citizenship. It’s also shaking a generation that defines itself less through a national lens than through global connections.

Younger, more mobile, more tech-enabled citizens have grown up in a period of relative border permeability. These young people tend to see themselves more as global or regional citizens first, according to various surveys done prior to the Brexit vote. Interestingly, this sentiment has been growing fastest in countries like India and China, where middle classes have most recently emerged. These middle-class, relatively wealthy digital nomads have been the target of criticism post-Brexit as having escaped the negative fallout of globalization; but the desire to attract their skills—and taxes—has pushed governments to compete to meet their needs through new visa programs and new offers of hybrid citizenship. (Correspondingly, Harun Onder, a World Bank economist who also blogs at the Brookings Institution, has posited thatcountries with older populations tend to lean more nationalistic.) Young people tend to see themselves as global or regional citizens first. 

The Brexit situation specifically sparked some novel proposals for what could best be described as “fractional citizenship,” with holders paying costs in various countries based on length of residency. Many digitally native young people in both developed and emerging markets have already been nudged into pay-as-you-go utilities. So it’s not surprising that a similar idea would surface regarding the the hard and soft services—from healthcare to infrastructure to education to security—citizenship typically ensures.

Next stop: nation-as-a-service?

Technology as a carrier for identity is not new. Borderless platforms, such as the biggest global social networks or national digital identity programs (like those of Singapore, the UK and the Netherlands) could redefine how we identify ourselves—both domestically and internationally. Already some 70-odd countries have biometric passports, which are effectively simple digital IDs with paper backups. There are already several projects afoot to develop prototypeblockchain-based passports, and at least one country in the Middle East is rumored to be looking at blockchain-based e-citizenship, according to a source close to the project.

As countries become aggressive about attracting the digitally enabled, and build out more digital services of their own, the idea of nation-as-a-service comes into sharper focus. A country defined as a platform of digital services, social and cultural values, and economic rules, looks more like the cloud-based services of Dropbox, Spotify, Gmail than the nation-state as defined in the 17th century. While national identity is still a more complex notion, how that identity moves across borders is becoming more fluid.

 Could a country offer you a range of citizenship subscription options, and bill your taxes based on “membership”? Here’s a quick thought experiment: Could a country offer you a range of citizenship subscription options, and bill your taxes based on “membership” and services used? If countries like Germany, Italy, and Estonia are willing to reconsider what constitutes citizenship just to keep up with broader global pressures of economic competitiveness and migration, what package of benefits and protections might a forward-thinking country offer economic migrants, or extend to refugees seeking assistance while residing in another country? What if tapping the benefits of a third country wasn’t only the privilege of the wealthy, but something as easy as signing up for Netflix?

Right now, a migrant has to go through the complicated process of traveling to or visiting the physical embassy of, applying to, and waiting to enter a country in which they want to resettle. This involves both complex tangles of paperwork—and now data—that creates both intended and unintended friction. As a result, we have probably millions of people around the world stalled in limbo, awaiting the possibility of gaining new protections or opportunities.

Many European politicians have spent the days since Brexit openly questioning the borders of countries, mulling the possibility ofindependent city-states, and talking about dissolving longstanding political unions. It seems inevitable, then, given the stakes for citizens from these political upheavals, that citizenship might also be ripe for disruption. The fluidity of movement that’s been quietly, expensively—and exclusively—available to the super rich for decades may be entering its moment of actual democratization, and citizenship (or many citizenships) may just be a click away.

To avoid another Brexit let’s stop treating citizenship as a birthright

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MALTA, a Passport of Convenience

MALTA, a Passport of Convenience

 MALTA Individual Investor (Citizenship) Programme

MALTA way offers you the services of legal advisory for the residence scheme, on the basis of the different formats required by existing rules of the Maltese Regulations, according to the different applicants subjective profiles and citizenship
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From IMF

“Are you a Global Citizen? Let us help you become one.” You may have seen such an advertisement in an in-flight magazine designed to lure some business class passengers, largely from less-developed economies, into acquiring a passport that can smooth their entry at the border of their next destination. A whole new industry of residence and citizenship planning has emerged over the past few years, catering to a small but rapidly growing number of wealthy individuals interested in acquiring the privileges of visa-free travel or the right to reside across much of the developed world, in exchange for a significant financial investment.

A growing phenomenon

The rapid growth of private wealth, especially in emerging market economies, has led to a significant increase in affluent people interested in greater global mobility and fewer travel obstacles posed by visa restrictions, which became increasingly burdensome after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This prompted a recent proliferation of so-called citizenship-by-investment or economic citizenship programs, which allow high-net-worth people from developing or emerging economy countries to legitimately acquire passports that facilitate international travel. In exchange, countries administering such programs receive a significant financial investment in their domestic economy. Also contributing to the rapid growth of such programs is the pursuit of political and economic safe havens, in a deteriorating geopolitical climate and amid increased security concerns. Other considerations include estate and tax planning.

Economic citizenship programs are administered by a growing number of small states in the Caribbean and Europe. Their primary appeal is that they confer citizenship with minimal to no residency requirements. Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and several Pacific island nations have had such programs for years: the St. Kitts and Nevis program dates back to 1984. More recently, a number of new programs have been introduced or revived, including by Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and Malta, with St. Lucia the most recent addition to the list. While some of these programs have been in place for years, they have only recently seen a substantial increase in applicants, with a corresponding surge in capital inflows.

The price of citizenship

Similarly, economic residency programs were recently launched across a wide range of (generally much larger) European countries, including Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. Almost half of EU member states now have a dedicated immigrant investor route. Also known as golden visa programs, these arrangements give investors residency rights—and access to all 26 Schengen Area countries, which have agreed to allow free movement of their citizens across their respective borders—while imposing minimal residency requirements (see table). Although these programs differ in that one confers permanent citizenship while the other provides just a residency permit, they both allow access to a large number of countries with minimal residency requirements, in return for a substantial investment in their economies (see Chart 1).

Chart 1. Pick a country, any country

In contrast, some advanced economies, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have had immigrant investor programs since the late 1980s or early 1990s, offering a route to citizenship in exchange for specific investment conditions, with significant residency requirements. In 2014, Canada eliminated its federal immigrant investor program, but the provinces of Quebec and Prince Edward Island continue to run a similar scheme that leads to Canadian citizenship. And the United Kingdom and the United States continue to run and expand their programs.

The cost and design of the programs vary across countries, but most involve an up-front investment, in the public or the private sector, combined with significant application fees and an amount to cover due diligence costs. The programs in the Caribbean allow for either a large nonrefundable contribution to the treasury or to a national development fund, which finances strategic investment in the domestic economy, or an investment in real estate (which can be resold after a specified holding period). Other programs provide the option to invest in a redeemable financial instrument, such as government securities. In Malta, the program requires contributions in all three investment routes.

Economics of citizenship

The inflows of funds to countries from these programs can be substantial, with far-reaching macroeconomic implications for nearly every sector, particularly for small countries (see Chart 2). Inflows to the public sector alone in St. Kitts and Nevis, which has the most readily available data, had grown to nearly 25 percent of GDP as of 2013. Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica have also experienced significant inflows. In Portugal, inflows under the country’s golden visa program may account for as much as 13 percent of estimated gross foreign direct investment inflows for 2014; in Malta, total expected contributions to the general government (including the National Development and Social Fund) from all potential applicants—which are capped at 1,800—could reach the equivalent of 40 percent of 2014 tax revenues when all allocated passports are issued.

Chart 2. A big boost

The macroeconomic impact of economic citizenship programs depends on the design of the program, as well as the magnitude of the inflows and their management. The foremost impact is on the real sector, where inflows can bolster economic momentum. Programs with popular real estate options generate an inflow similar to that of foreign direct investment, boosting employment and growth. In St. Kitts and Nevis, inflows into the real estate sector are fueling a construction boom, which has pulled the economy out of a four-year recession—to a growth rate of 6 percent in 2013 and 2014, one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere. The rapid increase in golden visa residency permits in Portugal, which has issued more than 2,500 visas since the program’s inception in October 2012, has reportedly bolstered the property market, leading to a steep rise in the price of luxury real estate.

However, a large and too rapid influx of investment in the real estate sector could lead to rising wages and ballooning asset prices, with negative repercussions on the rest of the economy. And the rapid expansion in construction could erode the quality of new properties and eventually undermine the tourism sector, since most of the developments include (or are repurposed for) tourist accommodations.

Moreover, inflows under these programs are volatile and particularly vulnerable to sudden stops, exacerbating small countries’ macroeconomic vulnerabilities. A change in the visa policy of an advanced economy could suddenly diminish the appeal of these programs. It’s conceivable that advanced economies could act together to suspend their operations, triggering a sudden stop. Increasing competition from similar programs in other countries or a decline in demand from source countries could also rapidly reduce the number of applicants.

If they are saved rather than spent, inflows from these programs can substantially improve countries’ fiscal performance. In St. Kitts and Nevis, budgetary revenues from the program boosted the overall fiscal balance to more than 12 percent of GDP in 2013, one of the highest in the world. But these inflows can also present significant fiscal management challenges, similar to those caused by windfall revenues from natural resources (see “Sharing the Wealth” in the December 2014 F&D). Such revenues can lead to pressure for increased government spending, including higher public sector wages, even though the underlying revenues may be volatile and difficult to forecast. The resulting increase in dependence on these revenues could lead to sharp fiscal adjustments or an acute increase in debt, if or when the inflows diminish.

A country’s external accounts are also significantly affected by large program inflows. The budgetary revenues can improve the country’s current account deficit, and substantially so if they are saved, and the capital account can be strengthened by transfers to development funds and higher foreign direct investment. But increased domestic spending as a result of higher government expenditures and investment will substantially boost imports, particularly in small open economies, offsetting some of the initial improvement in the balance of payments. Risks to the exchange rate and foreign currency reserves are also magnified as these inflows become a major source of external financing. In addition, rising inflation from economic overheating can cause the real exchange rate to appreciate, lowering the country’s external competitiveness over the long run.

Large program inflows can also boost bank liquidity, especially if the bulk of the budgetary receipts are saved in the banking system. At the same time, they can threaten financial stability in small states. While some increase in liquidity may be welcome, large accumulation of program-related deposits presents new financial risks, reflecting small banking systems’ limited and undiversified options for credit expansion. Risks to financial stability may be magnified if banks face excessive exposure to construction and real estate sectors already propped up by investments from the economic citizenship program. In that case, a sharp decline in program inflows could prompt a correction in real estate prices, with negative implications for banks’ assets, particularly if supervision is weak.

Another challenge is the risk to governance and sustainability. Cross-border security risks associated with the acquisition of a second passport are likely to be the main concern of advanced economies. Reputational risks are also magnified: weak governance in one country could easily spill over to others, since advanced economies are less likely to differentiate between citizenship programs. In addition, poor or opaque administration of programs and their associated inflows—including inadequate disclosure of the number of passports issued, revenues collected, and mechanism governing the use of generated inflows—could prompt strong public and political resistance, complicating, or even terminating, these programs. Programs have indeed been shut down in the past as a result both of security concerns and domestic governance issues.

Weeding out the risks

Country officials can implement policies to reduce and contain the risks small economies face from large economic citizenship program inflows while allowing their economies to capitalize on the possible benefits.

Prudent management of government spending has an important role in containing the impact of these inflows on the real economy, but it should be accompanied by sufficient oversight and regulations to pace inflows, particularly to the private sector. For example, annual caps on the number of applications or the size of investments would limit the influx of investments to a country’s construction sector. A regulatory framework for the real estate market would reduce risk and limit potentially damaging effects of price distortions and segmentation in the domestic property market as a result of investment minimums imposed by these programs.

Changing key parameters of the program can also be an effective way to redirect investments to the public sector, allowing countries to save the resources for future use and to invest in infrastructure.

Saving is a virtue

Large fiscal revenue windfalls tend to trigger unsustainable expansions in expenditure that leave the economy exposed if the revenue stream dries up. Given the potentially volatile nature of these inflows, program countries—and small economies in particular—need to build buffers by saving the inflows and reducing public debt where it is already high. Prudent management of citizenship inflows would allow for a sustainable increase in public investment and accommodate what economists call countercyclical spending—spending when times are bad—and relief measures in the face of natural disasters. As in resource-rich economies, managing large and persistent inflows is best undertaken via a sovereign wealth fund. This would help deal with fluctuations in program revenues and stabilize the impact on the economy, possibly also providing scope for intergenerational transfers.

In any case, all fiscal revenue from economic citizenship programs, whether application fees or contributions to development funds, should be channeled through the country’s budget to allow for proper assessment of the fiscal policy stance and avoid complications in fiscal policy implementation. In particular, development funds financed by economic citizenship programs should have their role properly defined and their operations and investments fully integrated in the budget.

Effective management of inflows, combined with prudent fiscal administration, will also reduce risk to the external sector, by containing the expansion of imports, limiting the rise in wages and the real exchange rate, and accumulating international reserves—to serve as a buffer in case of a sharp slowdown in program receipts. Strengthening banking sector oversight is also needed to moderate risks arising from the rapid influx of resources to the financial system. Caps on credit growth, restrictions on foreign currency loans, or simply tighter capital requirements may be needed to dampen the procyclical flow of credit.

Managing a reputation

Preserving the credibility of the economic citizenship program is perhaps the most critical challenge. A rigorous due diligence process for citizenship applications is essential to preclude potentially serious integrity and security risks. And a comprehensive framework is needed to curtail the use of investment options as routes for money laundering and financing criminal activity. Such safeguards are integral to the success of economic citizenship programs. A high level of transparency regarding economic citizenship program applicants will further enhance the program’s reputation and sustainability. This could include a publicly available list of newly naturalized citizens. Complying with international guidelines on the transparency and exchange of tax information would reduce the incidence of program misuse for purposes of tax evasion or other illicit activities and minimize the risk of adverse international pressure. Countries with similar programs should also collaborate among themselves and with concerned partner countries to improve oversight and ensure that suspicious applicants are identified.

Moreover, to help garner necessary public support for these programs, the economic benefits should accrue to the nation as a whole. They should be viewed as a national resource that may not be renewable if the nation’s good name is tarnished by mismanagement. A clear and transparent framework for the management of resources is necessary, including a well-defined accountability framework with oversight and periodic financial audits. Information on the number of people granted citizenship and the amount of revenue earned—including its use and the amount saved, spent, and invested—should be publicly available.

The ever-surprising effects of globalization have given rise to a new dynamic whereby passports can carry a price tag. Economic citizenship programs facilitate travel for citizens of emerging and developing economy countries in the face of growing travel restrictions and are an unconventional way for some countries, particularly small states, to increase revenue, attract foreign investment, and bolster growth. Keeping these programs from being shut down calls for efforts to ensure their integrity, and the security and financial transparency concerns of advanced economies must be duly addressed. Small states offering these programs must develop macroeconomic frameworks to deal with the potential volatility and inflationary impact of the inflows, by saving the bulk of them for priority investment in the future and by pacing and regulating their flow into the private sector. ■

Judith Gold is a Deputy Division Chief and Ahmed El-Ashram is an Economist, both in the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department.

This article is based on a 2015 IMF Working Paper, “Too Much of a Good Thing? Prudent Management of Inflows under Economic Citizenship Programs,” by Xin Xu, Ahmed El-Ashram, and Judith Gold.

EU and Monaco sign new tax transparency agreement

EU and Monaco sign new tax transparency agreement

Brussels, 12 July 2016

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Today the EU and Monaco signed a new tax transparency agreement, under which they will automatically exchange information on the financial accounts of each other’s residents from 2018.

This will ensure that both sides are better equipped to detect and pursue tax evaders, who will nolonger be able to hide income and assets in financial institutions abroad.

Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “Today’s agreement reinforces Monaco’s commitment to international tax transparency standards. The EU and Monaco have today sent a joint clear signal: we are allies when it comes to tax transparency and allies in the fight against international tax avoidance and tax evasion.”

Under the new agreement, Member States will receive the names, addresses, tax identification numbers and dates of birth of their residents with accounts in the Principality, as well as other financial and account balance information. This is fully in line with the new OECD/G20 global standard for the automatic exchange of information.

Today’s agreement marks the latest in a series of international landmark deals the EU has signed with Switzerland, Liechtenstein, San Marinoand Andorra.

For more information, see:http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/personal_tax/savings_tax/revised_directive/intl_developments_en.htm

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-2456_en.htm

New 2016 Malta Residence and Visa Programme

New 2016 Malta Residence and Visa Programme

Non-EU Nationals interested in taking up permanent residence in Malta can now avail themselves of the the Malta Residence and Visa Programme. This programme follows on the success of the Malta Individual Investor (Citizenship) Programme and allows the beneficiaries together with their registered dependents to reside, settle or stay indefinitely in Malta.

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The programme is managed by Identity Malta, whose role is to examine applications and issue certificates where all criteria required are met. Eligibility to the Malta Residence and Visa Programme requires applicants to satisfy a three-tier investment, including:

  • An initial contribution of €30,000 (non-refundable), in the manner as requested by Identity Malta
  • A Qualifying Investment  in a form determined by Identity Malta having an initial value of €250,000. This investment ought to be held for a minimum period of 5 years from the date of the issue of the Malta Residence and Visa Programme certificate;
  • Hold title to a qualifying property, be it through outright purchase or long term lease, which must be held for a minimum period of 5 years from the date of issue of the certificate.
    • Either ownership of an immovable property purchased for not less than €320,000 for property situated in Malta, or €270,000 for a property situated in Gozo or in the South of Malta; OR
    • Leasing of an immovable property for a rent of not less than €12,000 per annum in the case of property situated in Malta or €10,000 per annum in the case of property situated in Gozo or in the South of Malta.

Any individual interested in applying for this programme is required to do so through a registered approved agent or accredited person.

The application fee, due to the Authority, is set at €5,500, which is non-refundable and constitutes a part payment of the contribution.

Other general requirements for a person to be issued a certificate under the Malta Residence and Visa Programme demand that such person:

  1. Is at least 18 years of age;
  2. Is a third-country national (i.e. non-EU/EEA/Swiss);
  3. Is not a long-term resident;
  4. Is in possession of sickness insurance in respect of all risks across the whole of the European Union normally covered for Maltese nationals for himself and his dependants;
  5. Has an annual income of not less than €100,000 arising outside of Malta or in possession of capital of not less than €500,000;
  6. Commits himself to provide proof of title of a qualifying property in Malta in accordance with these regulations;
  7. Commits himself to invest in a qualifying investment;
  8. Commits himself to pay in full the contribution in terms of these regulations.
  9. Is not a person who benefits under other programmes, including;
    1. The Residents Scheme Regulations
    2. The High Net Worth Individuals – EU / EEA / Swiss Nationals Rules
    3. The Malta Retirement Programme Rules
    4. The Residence Programme Rules
    5. The Qualifying Employment in Innovation and Creativity Rules
    6. The Highly Qualified Persons Rules

The certificate issued under these regulations shall be monitored annually for the first five years and every five years thereafter.

All individuals who are beneficiaries of the Global Residence Programme shall be allowed to apply for the issuance of the certificate in terms of these regulations.

 

Is digital identity and residence a new business way for Malta?

Why Estonia Is Letting Entrepreneurs Become “E-Residents”

Is digital identity and e-residence a new business way for Malta as well?

MALTA il paese leader in Europa nei servizi di #eGovernment per cittadini e imprese … come il Sud del Mediterraneo batte il Centro e Nord Europa

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A common mistake governments make is assuming that a “more digital” economy will equal economic growth. But digitalization does not necessarily translate into growth.

For instance, in the HBR article “Where the Digital Economy Is Moving the Fastest,” the country with the fastest rate of digital development in the past, and the steepest trajectory for future digitalization, is Singapore. But, as the Singaporean government is slowly realizing, correlation does not mean causation, and digitalization does not mean growth. The Singaporean economy’s growth rate went from 6.2% in 2011 to 2.9% in 2014.

Many governments have been focused on both making themselves more efficient through digital technology (such as making it easier to renew passports through online portals) and making their countries more attractive to digital technology companies (by reducing the cost of doing business within their borders). As the examples of Singapore and many other countries illustrate, these steps are not enough.

If the public sector is to realize the full potential of digital technology to transform public finances and even kickstart national economic growth, governments will have to move beyond streamlining services and cutting red-tape for entrepreneurs.

Let’s look at the lessons from the private sector. As students of disruption realize, a new technology is never a disruption on its own. It’s an enabling condition, arguably even a necessary one, but it is not a sufficient condition. For a new digital technology to deliver a disruptive innovation, a new technology must leverage two things:

A new route to market. All disruptive innovators in business have capitalized on a channel of commercialization where the leading firms are not present. For instance, Dell sold directly to consumers, as did Salesforce, Skype, and eBay.

A new business model. Disruptive innovators usually change the revenue architecture — how you hire a car or plan a trip, for example. It’s really hard for incumbents already deeply invested in an existing business model to follow suit, which explains the success of free newspapers, Zipcar, TripAdvisor, and Lending Club.

So what would this look like in the public sector?

One example comes from Estonia. The small European nation has made it possible for entrepreneurs to become “e-residents.” Anyone in the world who wants to operate out of Estonia can become a “resident” of the country — without living there. While e-residents don’t have full rights as citizens (they don’t vote, for example), the government will grant you, for a flat subscription rate, a digital identity that grants you full rights to do business in Estonia and in most European countries, depending on the industry. This enables the Estonian government not only to foster entrepreneurship in their economy but to generate revenue through the e-card subscriptions. Even better for public finances, e-residents are not physically in the country (they just pay taxes there), which means they don’t generate the expenses that normal citizens impose on a country.

Note how this initiative is not about using digitalization to make the process of entrepreneurship more efficient or faster, which is one of the key metrics on how countries are measured worldwide, but instead leverages a new model (in this case, a new model of citizenship) to capture new net growth.

As with disruption in the private sector, Estonia’s e-residency program offers both a lower price and fewer features while simultaneously creating a new route to market. In this way, Estonia is suddenly making it possible for a whole new cadre of startup founders to operate in Europe at a fraction of the cost of living there.

Marc Andreessen, the prominent venture capitalist, once said that software is eating the world. He’s not wrong, but it’s more complicated than that. Technology is just one part of the story. No matter how innovative a new technology is, it’s not automatically profitable. To truly create economic value, a digital technology needs a new channel of commercialization and must offer the possibility of creating a new business model.

Once governments realize that digitalization does not automatically mean growth but can act as a powerful enabler, they can use disruptive principles to create new net growth.


WHY MALTA

MALTA your new SWITZERLAND, your Northern Europe but in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, inspired by Island City-State Model of SINGAPORE

Apart from the desire to be here in Malta now , that this picture arouses , answer these questions :

How do you see the future of Italy , of a person or entrepreneur , honest , not parasitic , competent , creative , motivated to grow and create ?

Which country offers a quality of life , gorgeous weather 12 months a year , cost effectiveness , frequent connections and low cost flights (max of 2 hours from your city) , a stable country system of rules and tax, very competitive in the global arena and in Europe as well?

Where you can find an open large international community and a Regulations’ model designed to attract great people , companies , ideas and capital, able to grow together in a multi-cultural country ?

We, after a long and in-depth comparison of experience and analysis, we have the answer !

MALTA is the best place to move in, with an Anglo-Saxon Business Culture and Regulatory environment in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, to prosper, develop and protect the Business and the Assets of a Corporation and HNWIs…with a plan to be the next SINGAPORE of the MED SEA

CENTER OF MED SEA

Which country offers exceptional quality of life, gorgeous weather 12 months a year, low cost of living, frequent and low cost flights to a maximum of 3 hours from your EU city, a system of rules and competitive tax around the world ?

NEW COUNTRY LEADERSHIP

MALTA is your new SWISS and your Northern Europe but in the middle of the Mediterranean, stable and secure, inspired by the model of the City – State of the Island SINGAPORE

INCOME, CAPITAL, WEALTH TAX

Zero inheritance tax, ZERO capital & wealth tax, ZERO capital gain tax, ZERO real estate tax, 5% corporate tax

MALTA, EUROPE, COMMONWEALTH, WORLD

Where you can find an open international community, with country regulations shaped to encourage and to attract people, companies, ideas and capital ? These are the rare and valuable resources from the world that MALTA needs to grow together

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Malta FinTech, a true hub of Finance and Technology from eGaming and eCommerce to eFinance and eBanking, valuable solutions, services and support for the Consumer and Corporate world


TOP REASONS TO INVEST IN MALTA

STRATEGIC LOCATION

Malta is strategically located at the heart of the Mediterranean with very close ties to mainland Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The island is considered the best choice for investments in knowledge based sectors and high end manufacturing. Due to its excellent port infrastructure, Malta is also considered an ideal logistical hub. This, together with EU membership, makes the country a perfect gateway to the Euro-Mediterranean region and further.

Flights duration to main business hubs

Algiers Amsterdam Berlin Brussels Dubai Dublin Edinburgh
 1:15  3:10  2:55  2:55  5:00  2:55  3:00
 Libya  London  Madrid  Milan  Moscow  Munich  Oslo
 1:30  3:00  2:55  2:00  4:00  2:30  4:00
 Paris  Prague  Rome Stockholm   Vienna  Warsaw  
 2:45  2:45  1:30  3:50  2:15  3:50

NIMBLE ECONOMY

Malta has undergone an incredible transformation in the few decades since independence was gained in 1964. Four decades later, with a fully functioning open market economy, joining the EU in 2004 was seen as a natural step towards securing the economic future of the country. The adoption of the Euro in 2008 ensured that the economy would not be vulnerable to currency fluctuations and would allow the nation to be more competitive.

Progress and flexibility are key factors in the success of Malta’s ability to react quickly to international trends and the global market place. Our pro-business government continually seeks to strengthen Malta’s attractiveness as an open market economy. The exogenous shocks of the global recession inevitably had an impact on the local economy. However, it should be noted that Malta was one of the last countries within the European Union to enter the recession and it was also one of the first countries to rebound from the economic downturn. In essence Malta showed great resilience and emerged in a strong position.

LANGUAGE FLUENCY

The country’s national language is Maltese but both the latter and English are official languages in Malta. This certainly adds to the destination’s appeal for visitors, traders and investors. Practically all Maltese are bilingual and many are also conversant in Italian. Some may also have at least a working knowledge of French or German. Foreign language fluency as a percentage of the population is as follows: English 88%, Italian 66%, French 17% and German 6%.

WORKFORCE

The success of a business is not achieved by financing or technology but is ultimately determined by people power. The labour force in Malta is a very productive one, highly educated and extremely flexible with an excellent work ethic. Our people are our greatest natural resource and the country has good availability of professional, managerial and technical staff as well as a ready supply of top graduates most of whom are technology-experienced. The link between education and industry is vital for our competitiveness. Education and HR-related strengths top the criteria for choosing Malta as an investment destination.

INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CENTRE

Malta is now an internationally recognised financial services hub. However, due to the sector’s traditional and conservative approach it never experienced a real financial crisis. Indeed, the strength of the financial services sector was a critical contributing factor to the speedy emergence of Malta’s economy from the recession. In fact, the reputation of the Maltese financial services sector improved considerably due to the resilience and stability it showed during the financial crisis. This did not go unobserved in the global scenario and the impeccable reputation of the local financial services is expected to fuel further growth in this sector.

EXCELLENT ICT INFRASTRUCTURE

It has always been considered strategically important to the country’s human and economic advancement to be well connected with the rest of the world. As such there has been a great deal of investment and consolidation in order to create and ensure a reliable Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure.

Malta’s fully liberalised and developed ICT infrastructure has certainly contributed to the island fast becoming a regional centre of excellence in ICT and financial services.

LOW CORPORATION TAX

A long-standing, full imputation tax system has existed in Malta since 1948. The rate for corporate taxation in Malta stands at 35%; however upon distribution of dividends, shareholders may qualify for a refund generally equivalent to 6/7th of the tax paid, thus resulting in a paid tax rate of 5%.

SAFE AND PLEASANT LIFESTYLE

There are many reasons why investing in Malta makes good business sense but it is not enough for the figures to add up and the stars to be aligned. In this day and age – where time, health, safety and true quality of life are precious commodities – Malta scores highly on all these aspects. Travelling distances are minimal, the healthcare facilities, which rank among the best in Europe, are first-class in both public and private hospitals and the crime rate is very low. However, the biggest selling point of the island nation is undoubtedly the lifestyle that investors and their families enjoy in the country. Indeed, those thinking of investing in Malta are highly recommended to visit the nation to explore and experience for themselves the wealth of history, culture, hospitality, bars and restaurants. That way they can also get a real taste of the flavoursome Maltese and Mediterranean cuisine that the country offers.

 

MALTA introduces a very attractive Residence and Visa Programme

MALTA introduces a very attractive Residence and Visa Programme

We have some good news for you and we are ready to advice and support you.

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Those of you who are considering taking up residence in Malta are in for a treat with the all new Malta Residence and Visa programme.

Contact us for more detailed information about the Malta Residence and Visa Programme and to advice you about the best real estate solutions in Malta and Gozo and a Qualifying Investment as well.

 

Launched in September 2015, the new programme follows on the success of the Malta Individual Investor (Citizenship) Programme and allows the beneficiaries together with their registered dependents to reside, settle or stay indefinitely in Malta.

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The programme is managed by Identity Malta, whose role is to examine applications and issue certificates where all criteria required are met. Eligibility to the Malta Residence and Visa Programme requires applicants to satisfy a three-tier investment, including:

  • An initial contribution of €30,000 (non-refundable), in the manner as requested by Identity Malta
  • A Qualifying Investment  in a form determined by Identity Malta having an initial value of €250,000. This investment ought to be held for a minimum period of 5 years from the date of the issue of the Malta Residence and Visa Programme certificate;

  • Hold title to a qualifying property, be it through outright purchase or long term lease, which must be held for a minimum period of 5 years from the date of issue of the certificate.
    • Either ownership of an immovable property purchased for not less than €320,000 for property situated in Malta, or €270,000 for a property situated in Gozo or in the South of Malta; OR
    • Leasing of an immovable property for a rent of not less than €12,000 per annum in the case of property situated in Malta or €10,000 per annum in the case of property situated in Gozo or in the South of Malta.

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Any individual interested in applying for this programme is required to do so through a registered approved agent or accredited person.

The application fee, due to the Authority, is set at €5,500, which is non-refundable and constitutes a part payment of the contribution.

Other general requirements for a person to be issued a certificate under the Malta Residence and Visa Programme demand that such person:

  1.  Is at least 18 years of age;
  2.  Is a third-country national (i.e. non-EU/EEA/Swiss);
  3.  Is not a long-term resident;
  4.  Is in possession of sickness insurance in respect of all risks across the whole of the European Union normally covered for Maltese nationals for himself and his dependants;
  5.  Has an annual income of not less than €100,000 arising outside of Malta or in possession of capital of not less than €500,000;
  6.  Commits himself to provide proof of title of a qualifying property in Malta in accordance with these regulations;
  7.  Commits himself to invest in a qualifying investment;
  8.  Commits himself to pay in full the contribution in terms of these regulations.
  9.  Is not a person who benefits under other programmes, including;
    • The Residents Scheme Regulations
    • The High Net Worth Individuals – EU / EEA / Swiss Nationals Rules
    • The Malta Retirement Programme Rules
    • The Residence Programme Rules
    • The Qualifying Employment in Innovation and Creativity Rules
    • The Highly Qualified Persons Rules


    The certificate issued under these regulations shall be monitored annually for the first five years and every five years thereafter.

    All individuals who are beneficiaries of the Global Residence Programme shall be allowed to apply for the issuance of the certificate in terms of these regulations.

     

    Malta: the best Non-dom Regime in Europe

    Malta: the best Non-dom Regime in Europe, with MALTAway advise and solutions

    …from Finance Malta

    read as well Relocate Global

    http://www.relocatemagazine.com/news/dsapsted-04-2015-labour-pledges-to-end-non-dom-tax-status-for-most

    Maltaway is your gateway to access the global and Malta’s opportunity to relocate and protect Yourself, Your Family, Your Business, Your Asset

    The UK General Election held in May brought about a surprise outright Conservative Party victory which has been swiftly followed by a Summer Budget from George Osborne which itself contained a few surprises of its own. Whilst some further changes to the ‘non-dom’ regime were expected it is perhaps without exaggeration to suggest that of all the announcements the swift cutting of permanent non-dom status may hurt those affected the most.

    Non-dom status in the UK has hitherto provided a very attractive proposition for wealthy individuals able to attain that status and conferred upon them, rightly or wrongly, a number of tax benefits otherwise inaccessible to UK resident and domiciled individuals.  In broad terms, the changes announced in the Budget mean that a non-dom is no longer able to remain resident in the UK for any more than 15 years before paying tax in the UK on all of their worldwide assets.  The ability to previously shelter non-UK assets from UK tax coupled with all the non-tax benefits of living in the UK has made it a very attractive base for UHNWIs and their families to reside, invest and build businesses there.

    So, if the tax changes erode the attractiveness of the UK as a place for non-doms to live, is there a viable alternative and where will this non-dom ‘flight of capital’ flow to?
    Malta is consistently ranked as one of the best places in the World to live and offers a high quality Mediterranean lifestyle in a stress-free environment. Malta is a member of the EU and operates a favourable tax regime for individuals and businesses alike.

    From a personal tax perspective, Malta offers an attractive non-dom regime whereby expatriates who take up residence in Malta are only taxed on foreign source income to the extent that this is remitted to Malta, whilst capital transfers into the country are not taxable at all.  This is a basic feature of Malta’s tax system which was inherited from the British, albeit Malta’s non-dom regime does not carry any annual charge and provides certainty insofar as an individual being able to maintain non-dom status permanently.

    Many expatriates choose one of Malta’s attractive residency schemes to benefit from the non-dom rules.  As a resident of Malta, a primary residential address is required there.

    However, it is not uncommon for many individuals to regularly travel overseas and simply use Malta as their home base.  There is no statutory, minimum limit on the number of days a person is required to be in Malta and so in general terms one simply needs to avoid spending too much time in any one other country to avoid the risk of being deemed a dual tax resident.

    Below is a summary of the main residence options available in Malta:

    1. Ordinary residence in Malta: This is available to both EU/EEA/Swiss and non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals, although the qualifying criteria are much easier for the former than for the latter.
    2. Special residence programme (for both EU and non-EU nationals): Beneficiaries are subject to a beneficial flat tax rate of 15% on foreign remitted income, with a minimum tax liability of €15,000 p.a.
    3. Malta retirement programme:  Beneficiaries are subject to a beneficial flat tax rate of 15% on foreign remitted income that is received by them or any of their dependants, subject to an annual minimum tax liability of €7,500 and an additional €500 for any dependant / special carer.
    4. Highly Qualified Persons programme (for senior professionals in the Financial Services, Gaming and Aviation industries, both EU and non-EU): Eligible applicants enjoy a beneficial 15% tax on their employment income for a specified number of years, and pay no income tax on any earnings exceeding €5,000,000.
    5. United Nations pensions programme (for both EU and non-EU nationals): This new programme exempts beneficiaries who are in receipt of a pension or a widow(er)’s benefit from the United Nations, and offers a beneficial flat tax rate of 15% on any other foreign remitted income.

    In addition to the above, Malta offers an Individual Investor Programme (IIP) which allows for the granting of full citizenship status, through a certificate of naturalisation – subject to a very strict due diligence process – to individuals who make a contribution to the economic and social development of Malta.  This is an attractive proposition for wealthy non-EU citizens who wish to benefit from full EU citizenship, which confers a number of important rights, including the right to move freely in all 28 EU countries and visa-free travel to more than 160 countries.

    So, whilst London may be seen as a ‘cooler’ place to live than Malta, you can still have your cake and eat it by moving there and enjoying its wonderful lifestyle and still being able to spend time in London, Paris, Milan …… Malta gives you choices that non-doms in the UK are fast running out of.

    http://www.financemalta.org/sections/malta-trusts-financemalta/financemalta-wealth-management-articles/detail/malta-attractive-non-dom-regime