Malta has recently introduced the Key Employee Initiative ("KEI") Programme in order to facilitate the issuing of work / residence permits to highly qualified/specialised Third Country Nationals ("TCNs") who wish to reside and work in Malta.

Who is eligible to apply?

The KEI scheme is applicable to managerial or highly-technical posts which require the relevant qualification or adequate experience related to the job being offered.

Applicants have to be in possession of the following eligibility criteria:

  • To receive an annual gross salary of at least Eur30,000 per annum;
  • To provide certified copies of the relevant qualifications, warrants or the necessary work experience;
  • To submit a declaration by the prospective employer in Malta stating that the applicant has the necessary credentials to perform the duties being assigned.

Additionally, the KEI scheme applies to innovators involved in start-up projects which are specifically endorsed by the Malta Enterprise.

What is the application procedure to be followed?

Applications and all relevant documentation for a single permit under the KEI scheme may be submitted while the applicant is physically in Malta or still abroad.

Should the KEY application be accepted, the TCN would be provided with a work permit in Malta valid for the period of one year. Said permit may be renewed for a maximum period of three years, subject to the presentation of a valid definite or indefinite contract of employment, and the original annual tax declaration form stamped by the Inland Revenue Department.

What is the timeframe?

According to the guidelines recently provided by Identity Malta, KEY work / residence permits shall be issued within five working days from the date of submission of the KEY application.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.