L.N. 29 of 2021 – Amendments to the Highly Qualified Persons Rules (S.L. 123.126)

11 Feb 2021

2 min read

These new rules shall come into force on 31st December 2020.

The first amendment was carried out on Article 6 of the said Rules. This Article regulates the ‘Claw-back of benefits’.

Prior to the amendments, sub-rule 4 of the said Article outlines that the rights acquired under the HQP Rules shall be withdrawn with retrospective effect if a beneficiary is a third country national and he either: a) physically stays in Malta, in the aggregate, for more than 1,460 days unless such stay is in accordance with an extension granted in terms of sub-rule 5 of this rule; or b) if he directly or indirectly acquires real rights over immovable property situated in Malta or holds a beneficial interest directly or indirectly consisting in, inter alia, of real rights over immovable property situated in Malta.

By virtue of the amendments, option (a) aforementioned, has been omitted and thus if one is in Malta for more than 1,460 days then it will not lead to the withdrawal of such rights.

L.N. 29 of 2021 has also carried out amendments to sub-rule 5. A beneficiary of the HQP rules may now be entitled to two further extensions of four or five years, as the case may be. Initially, prior to the said amendments, a beneficiary was entitled to a one-time extension. In view of such amendments, the maximum qualifying period can now not exceed a consecutive period of twelve or fifteen years, as the case may be.

Article 11 of the HQP rules states that for the purposes of rule 4 (eligibility criteria), the competent authority shall issue a formal determination relating to anything which needs to be proven to its satisfaction in terms of these rules.  In relation to this, Article 14 of the HQP rules has been amended whereby the rules have been extended by another five years whereby no determination shall be issued by the competent authority after 31st December 2025 (as opposed to 31st December 2020).

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