[WATCH] Completing Malta’s Gaming ecosystem: The Nomad Residence Permit – AGS Europe
In an AGS Europe 2021 panel which was held in Malta, the moderator Oliver de Bono, CEO at WikiBet, and the panelists Charles Mizzi, CEO at Residency Malta Agency, Anthony David Gatt, Manager at Malta Enterprise, and Ivan Filletti, CEO at Gaming Malta discuss Malta’s Nomad Residence Permit.
This panel meets to discuss the current initiation of the Digital Nomad Residence Permit and to gain more insight into what Malta wants to achieve with its residence permit. De Bono starts by saying that in the last 5 to 10 years, Malta has become a tech hub. We are now looking to attract the attention of digital nomads who would like to reside in Malta. De Bono’s first question to the panel is “what kind of individuals are we targeting for this particular scheme?”
Mizzi says that as the Parliamentary Secretary explained during a keynote speech, Malta is aiming to attract 3 individuals: those employed with organizations that are registered abroad, those who own a company abroad and can run it from Malta, and freelancers and consultants who provide their service to foreign company. Mizzi says that “the objective is to attract as much talent as possible”. Eventually, these digital nomads might fall in love with Malta, relocate here for good, and open their own business. Mizzi says that since launching, they have seen an increase in applications, with the average age being 39, and they also had applications from people who are over 50s and 60s “who eventually decided to relocate to Malta, to stay here for the short-term. Hopefully, they will remain with us”.
De Bono poses the question of whether a person who has a Nomad Residence Permit and decides to stay in Malta will have an easy transition into a standardized work permit, thus bringing that individual into the workforce here. De Bono supposes that if an “individual has already passed the requirements for the permit, it should be an easy transition into the local work”. Mizzi agrees to that and points out the difference between a visa, that other countries are offering, and the residence permit that Malta is offering. Here, individuals get a temporary residence permit for one year, which also gives them the opportunity to move freely within the Schengen area. De Bono points out that this turns Malta into their hub and this is very interesting. He adds that “the benefit for Malta is not just the great weather, but it’s to be surrounded by super tech innovation”.
Follow the whole panel discussion here:
De Bono turns to Gatt and asks him about the current focus of Malta Enterprise to deliver to the current market. Gatt says that we “need to focus on the ethos of what [they]’re doing”. Gatt says that what they are “doing here is trying to attract talent and retain talent in Malta”. The Malta Enterprise is also working together with the Residency Malta Agency to “attract startups, potentially also from third countries, to come to Malta”. Gatt adds that “the ethos of government is attracting quality to Malta, to service indigenous companies, to help bring startups to Malta, and to have companies grow out of Malta”. The “ethos of the government” is to attract talent and to increase the volume of human resources. De Bono says that the Malta Enterprise has supported a lot of startups in the last decade and this has contributed to many of the people who are here today. If those with the residence permit wish to open their own businesses in Malta, they are supported to transition into a startup within the community and De Bono sees this approach as a very holistic one.
De Bono turns to the gaming industry and asks Filletti to give us an idea of Gaming Malta’s current focus and effort, both in relation to the residence permit and the current tactics. Filletti says that Malta is a “home of gaming excellence”; a home, because it is how those working in Malta whilst looking for their global ambitions should feel. Malta, Filletti adds, is a stage for the global ambitions. At Gaming Malta, they are looking at three verticals: iGaming, video gaming, and esports. They have recently inaugurated a 700 sq m incubator, called base camp, for video gaming and esports. They already have a good international lineup waiting to take space there. Filletti says that it is also interesting to look “at the convergence of technology; so blockchain, augmented reality, virtual reality, etc.” The global challenge here is to have the talent and Malta needs to make sure to be ahead of the loop. This, De Bono adds, “coincides with what the residence permit is about”.
Gatt says that “Malta Enterprise wanted to give an overarching approach with a website, with a brand, that brings all the incentives and the government partners together under one roof”. In addition to iGaming, Gatt says that Malta is also building in digital games with a “very interesting mix of independent game studios, indigenous game studios, AAA game studios, looking at Malta and growing from Malta actively”. Gatt adds that in addition to digital games, there are also “advances in life sciences, so medical cannabis, biotech companies”. He added, that there is also something happening in “AI, augmented reality, [and] mixed reality”. De Bono says that this is very interesting because it links the three entities: the permit from Residency Malta Agency, the funding from Malta Enterprise, and the building from Gaming Malta.
De Bono asks Mizzi whether there will be any additional benefits for those who hold the Nomad Residence Permit; whether they will benefit from tax exemptions or whether they will fall under the government tax scheme as any other individual residing in Malta. Mizzi says that they will keep paying taxes in their own country and they don’t need to pay any additional taxes here which gives them a smoother transition. This permit is granted for one year and it can be renewed. Gatt adds that Malta Enterprise is working together with Residency Malta Agency to propose their different incentives to Nomad Residence Permit holders both on this stream and on the Startup Residence Programme that they are planning.
De Bono closes the panel buy saying that the long-term goal is to attract more people who will eventually stay in Malta.
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