A new temporary residency scheme has been launched for people who want to move to Malta but work remotely.

The programme offers a six-month visa and an option of obtaining a one-year 'Nomad Residence Permit' and costs €300.

To qualify, applicants must prove they are contracted to work remotely by a company based overseas, show that they run their own business or offer freelance service to clientele based abroad. 

Announcing the scheme, Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship, Alex Muscat, said it could be a "profitable economic niche".

“We estimate that a digital nomad spends roughly €30,000 a year in our country, which would put us close to what tourists spent here in 2019," he said."One digital nomad spends in a year roughly what 260 tourists would spend in a day.” 

COVID-19 measures have introduced the world to remote working and islands including Bermuda and Barbados have already created similar programmes to invite workers to settle abroad and work remotely. 

Malta's scheme which comes into effect from Wednesday and can be applied for online, is aimed at people who are able to earn a living remotely and choose to travel frequently, often residing overseas to the company they work for.

Residency Malta CEO Charles Mizzi said applicants will be put through a due diligence process that requires them to have "a good reputation and police conduct". They must have a valid passport and proof that they are living in a residential property in Malta.

As digital nomads typically pay their taxes in a different jurisdiction, applicants will have to provide health insurance to ensure their access to health services.

Any work carried out by them for local companies would be subject to normal local taxation. 

Muscat said that a community of roughly 1,000 digital nomads already lived and worked from Malta, with the government hoping to attract between 1,000 to 1,200 applicants a year. 

He added that the majority of local nomads were European citizens and with the boom in remote working due to the pandemic, they sought to expand the opportunity to third country nationals. 

“Trends show that nomadic professionals are looking for safe places, even in terms of the healthcare that is available to them. We believe Malta is an ideal safe and secure destination to live and work in and we’re taking this step to introduce the ancillary services that accommodate these professions.”

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