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Conversation with CEO: the “Big Shake-up” of Malta Residency Agency May Affect Immigration Policy

On April 5, 2024, Globevisa invited Mr. Johnathan Cardona, CEO of Residency Malta Agency, Mr. Henry Fan, Founder and CEO of Globevisa, and Mr. Luke Frendo, Managing Partner of Frendo Advisory, the exclusive legal partner of Globevisa for Malta Permanent Residency, to participate in a comprehensive online seminar. The seminar aimed to address concerns of applicants and seek solutions in light of the reforms.


On December 23, 2023, Mr. Jonathan Cardona succeeded Mr. Charles Mizzi as the new CEO of Residency Malta Agency. In the months following Mr. Cardona’s appointment, he introduced a series of policy adjustments and processing measures related to Malta’s residency programs. For instance, applicants not utilizing residence cards are no longer required to purchase health insurance, there are heightened requirements for rental documentation during the investment phase, and time limits have been imposed on the submission of supplementary application materials.

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The drastic changes in European immigration policies have made applicants eager to understand how the reforms by the Malta Residency Agency will impact immigration applications.

This online meeting also marks Mr. Cardona’s first encounter with global immigration firms since assuming office.


During the meeting, Mr. Fan introduced Mr. Cardona to Globevisa’s scope of business and the operational status of the Malta Permanent Residency program. Mr. Cardona acknowledged Globevisa as an internationally influential immigration service provider and commended its outstanding performance in the Malta Permanent Residency program over the years. He emphasized Globevisa’s indispensable role as a partner and assured maximum support for Globevisa in various aspects including marketing promotion in the future.


Regarding the concerns about policy changes, Mr. Cardona responded: “We have always set the legal framework and processing procedures for the Malta Permanent Residency program to the highest EU standards, ensuring compliance with sustainability. Of course, we also adhere strictly to processing standards to keep the Malta Permanent Residency program competitive.”


Regarding the pressure exerted by the EU on the golden visa programs across European countries, Mr. Fan added: “I believe this presents a fantastic opportunity for Malta. With upcoming policy changes expected in the Greek golden visa program, the investment costs for applicants will significantly rise. Malta’s Permanent Residency program offers distinct advantages in terms of investment amount and structure. Additionally, being one of the few English-speaking countries in Europe, Malta holds great appeal for applicants seeking to settle in Europe. I have high expectations for this program.”


Success rate has always been a focal point of concern for applicants, and Mr. Frendo stated how to ensure application success: “Frendo Advisory collaborates with Globevisa to successfully process hundreds of applications annually. Our interdisciplinary team, both domestically and internationally, has established a seamless workflow to efficiently gather necessary information regarding applicants’ income and net assets and present it clearly to the immigration authorities. This minimizes the need for supplementary documentation requests, expediting the application process and ensuring a high success rate.”


The increasing volume of applications for the Malta Permanent Residency program has led to longer processing times, causing concern among many applicants. In response to this, Mr. Cardona stated: “Yes, that’s correct. The volume of applications we received last year nearly doubled. When I first took over the affairs of the Immigration Office, we faced manpower shortages. Fortunately, in recent months, we have had new staff joining us. We are working hard to improve our workflow, enhance processing efficiency, and ensure that each application can receive a result within a certain timeframe. The recent series of measures is just the beginning of our optimization efforts.”


Mr. Johnathan Cardona has extensive and longstanding experience in the fields of citizenship and residency rights in Malta. We believe he will undoubtedly inject new vitality into the Malta Residency Agency and bring about new changes.

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