Malta is an attractive fast-developing and extremely fast-growing business hub for many foreign investors and local businessmen, in spite of the global pandemic. Opening a business in Malta entitles one with many appealing benefits, such as the Maltese attractive tax regimes. Also, the sound legal system and modern business facilities encourage more and more foreign investors to invest and establish their business operations on the island.
Opening a company in Malta is a very straightforward process that can take as fast as 2-5 days for a new company to be incorporated. To know more about the process continue reading on our company formation dedicated page, whilst in this article, we will discuss the other responsibilities which one would need to keep in mind when starting a business in Malta.
It is important to note that certain types of businesses require special permits or licenses to be able to operate. Upon incorporation of the company one would need to apply for a relevant business license should such be applicable for the type of business.
Remember, that businesses operating without licenses would incur fines and can be a subject to legal prosecution!
Main Types of Licenses in Malta
Once the company has been incorporated, the first step towards successful business operations has been completed. The next step for a new company is to apply for a relevant license should such be necessary. The business which would require a license to operate would include catering establishments, the hospitality sector and entities operating in the financial services industry.
A business license is issued by the special government body-regulator. There is a number of specific licenses regulated by the Maltese government, and each is regulated by the designated authority. Whilst each industry would have its own sub-categories of the licenses, first of all, it is important to identify which industries require an entity to hold a license overall. Some of the most common licenses for business would be:
- Trade License – only a few business activities require a trading license to operate, as a trade license requirement has been removed for many business activities in 2016. The remaining business activities include such types of businesses as various types of hawkers and buskers. Nonetheless, companies such as Trading Companies involved in Import and Export might be required to be registered with the relevant Chamber of Commerce.
- Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) license – license for businesses operating in the hospitality industry, such as hotels or restaurants.
- Employment Agency License – license required to be able to operate in the recruitment services industry.
- Financial Services License – for entities operating in the financial services industry.
- Gaming license – entity operating in gaming & iGaming businesses.
- Cryptocurrency (VFA) License – one of the latest and yet modern licenses for entities operating with virtual financial assets. Malta has become one of the first countries worldwide to establish a regulatory framework for blockchain technologies and cryptocurrency exchanges.
- Educational Institution License – All educational institutions offering further or higher education in or from Malta must be accredited by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) in order to be eligible to deliver education courses and programmes.
Malta Tourism Authority License
If your business will be operating in a hospitality sphere, you would require a special license to operate such business. The main types of licenses issued by Malta Tourism Authority are:
- Accommodation license (for hotels and other accommodation services);
- Catering Establishment license (for cafes, bars, restaurants, etc.);
- Travel Agent license (for travel operator, excursion operator, etc.).
In order to obtain a relevant for your business MTA license, you need to submit an application under the relevant category, following the specific requirements of your business. Upon compiling all necessary documents and submitting an application for a license, one will usually obtain a license within 20 days since the day of submission should all the documents be in place. Once the license has been issued, a business can start operating.
Employment Agency License Malta
Recruitment companies are a common practice all around the world and Malta is not an exception. Considering the highly skilled Maltese workforce and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world, Malta has become an attractive destination for foreign investors to open a recruitment agency.
In order to set up a recruitment agency in Malta, once the company has been incorporated, one would need to apply for a special permit for the company to become an employment agency. The issued certificate has a validity of 1 year and subject to renewal.
The application for an employment agency license is submitted to the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations in Valletta.
Financial Services Licence Malta
When starting a business in the financial services industry one must obtain a relevant license in accordance with the business activity of the registered entity. Malta Financial Service Authority (MFSA) is the single regulating authority in Malta responsible for financial services industry in the country. MFSA is responsible for issuance of relevant licenses, regulation and monitoring of the industry and licensed entities, as well as compliance with laws of Malta and continuous review of the legislations.
There are 4 main types of financial services licenses issued in Malta:
- Investment Services License;
- Banking License;
- Financial Institution License;
- Insurance License.
Each license is a subject to strict due diligence and vetting process. An entity who will be holding a financial services license would be a subject to continuous scrutiny and monitoring of its activities, compliance with laws and regulations, and mandatory reporting to the regulator on all activities.
Gaming License Malta
Malta caters for both offline and iGaming industries, having sound legislations to regulate the industry. Moreover, Malta was the first EU jurisdiction to introduce regulated remote Gaming, and is the largest EU iGaming hub, with companies-billionaires opening their offices on the island.
All gambling activities in Malta are regulated by the Gaming Act of 2018. Entities operating in gambling industry, both land-based and iGaming, are subject to licenses issued by the Malta Gaming Authority. There are 2 main types of licenses for Gaming industry businesses:
- Business-to-consumer (B2C) – known as Gaming Service License, which allows the entity to provide games for players;
- Business-to-business (B2B) – known as Critical Gaming License, issued for operators hosting other gaming platforms.
Educational Institution License
In Malta, licensing of educational institutions is done according to the Subsidiary Legislation 327.433 on Licensing, Accreditation and Quality Assurance. Institutions, which meet the stipulated standards and the criteria established by NCFHE, are issued with appropriate provider license. The category of the license depends on the type of programmes institutions is going to deliver.
There are the following categories of licenses:
- Higher Education Institution;
- Further Education Institution;
- Further Education Centre;
- Tuition Centre.
SMM Consultancy Department
If you are considering starting a business, it would be advantageous to do so in Malta. However, obtaining special licenses can be an overwhelming process and thus, you should always seek professional assistance and advice. SMM Group can assist you with both company incorporation and obtaining the required licenses in order to be able to conduct your business activity in Malta.