Single-Permit / Key Employee Initiative (KEI)

Intended applicants: Individuals who are not EU, EEA or Swiss nationals and who intend on residing in Malta for the purposes of employment / self-employment, as family members of eligible applicants, students or long-term residence (where applicant has been in Malta for at least 5 years).

Main conditions for eligibility:

  • Applications on the basis of employment must be submitted by the employer concerned and the permit would cease to apply if the applicant would no longer remain in said employment, and would only be issued where Maltese / EEA / Swiss candidates could not be found for the role. Applicants must prove that they are adequately qualified for the job (in the absence of academic qualification, one must show at least three years of experience relating to the job.
  • A fast-tracked service called the Key Employee Initiative (KEI) is available to highly-specialized Third-Country Nationals who are to be employed in Malta. The scheme facilitates the issuing of work / residence permits to prospective key employees within five working days from the date of submission of the application (subject to applicant meeting certain criteria).
  • Applications are generally submitted when the applicant is still abroad (if applicant is already in Malta, then evidence that applicant is residing in Malta legally must also be submitted). Upon submission of the application forms together with the complete set of supporting documents, the application would be processed. In the case of a positive outcome, the applicant would be authorised to travel to Malta.


Tax treatment:

  • Tax is charged at progressive rates (capped at a maximum of 35%) on Malta sourced income and capital gains, and on foreign source income (excluding foreign source capital gains) that is remitted to Malta.
  • Persons resident but not domiciled in Malta will be subject to a minimum tax of €5,000 annually in Malta if:
    • They are not taxable in Malta in accordance with a scheme in with a minimum amount of tax is payable in Malta; and
    • They derive income arising outside Malta amounting to €35,000 or more.
  • Other than the previous point, no tax is chargeable on foreign sourced income that is not remitted to Malta.
  • Capital gains are tax exempt in Malta, even if they are remitted to Malta.
  • Bank interest earned in Malta can be taxed at a 15% final withholding tax.


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