Key Employment Initiative

Key Employment Initiative

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‘The Key Employee Initiative’ (KEI) has been introduced with the aim of facilitating the issuing of single permits, to highly-specialised third-country nationals who seek employment in Malta.

The Key Employment Initiative (KEI)

The KEI is applicable to those who apply for a managerial or a highly-technical post which requires relevant qualifications or adequate experience related to the job being applied for.

Single permit applications based on the Key Employee Initiative are processed on a fast-track basis to ensure that third-country nationals applying for managerial or highly-technical posts with Maltese companies may commence their employment at the soonest possible time.

Eligibility for the KEI in Malta

Individuals applying under the Key Employee Initiative must satisfy the following eligibility conditions:

  • Annual gross salary of at least €30,000 per annum;
  • Proof of the relevant qualifications, warrants or the necessary work experience; and
  • Declaration by the employer stating that the applicant has the necessary credentials to perform the duties being assigned

Application Procedure for Single Permit Application

Applicants interested in the Key Employee Initiative can submit their application in Malta or whilst abroad. 

Once the application is approved, the applicant will be issued with a permit valid for a period of one year. This permit may be renewed for a maximum period of three years.

Single permit applications based on the Key Employee Initiative are processed on a fast-track basis to ensure that third-country nationals applying for managerial or highly-technical posts with Maltese companies may commence their employment at the soonest possible time.

Who qualifies for the KEI in Malta?

The Key Employee Initiative (KEI) in Malta is designed to attract highly skilled individuals to the country. To qualify for the KEI, individuals must meet specific criteria set by the Maltese government. These criteria include having a valid employment contract with a Maltese company, holding a highly skilled position, and earning a minimum annual gross salary as defined by the government of EUR30,000. 

Additionally, applicants must possess the necessary qualifications and experience relevant to their field of expertise. The KEI is open to non-EU citizens, making it an inclusive programme that aims to bring talented professionals to Malta.

Benefits of the Key Employee Initiative

The Key Employee Initiative (KEI) offers a range of benefits to qualified individuals who are granted KEI status in Malta. 

  • KEI holders are eligible for a fast-track residence permit, allowing them to reside in Malta for the duration of their employment. This provides a stable and secure living situation.
  • The KEI programme allows for indefinite contract periods, providing long-term stability and job security for the employee. 

Overall, the benefits of the KEI make it an attractive option for highly skilled professionals seeking employment in Malta.

Rights and Responsibilities of KEI Holders

KEI holders in Malta enjoy certain rights and must also fulfill specific responsibilities. As an employee under the KEI, individuals have the right to work and reside in Malta for the duration of their employment contract. They are entitled to a fair and competitive salary as agreed upon in their employment agreement. KEI beneficiaries also have the right to access public healthcare and social security benefits, ensuring their well-being. 

On the other hand, KEI holders have responsibilities towards their employer and the Maltese authorities. These include abiding by the laws of Malta, fulfilling their employment obligations, and adhering to any conditions outlined in their KEI status. 

Renewal and Extension of KEI

The Key Employee Initiative (KEI) status in Malta can be renewed or extended, depending on certain conditions. When the initial KEI status is nearing expiration, individuals can apply for a renewal by demonstrating that they continue to meet the eligibility criteria. The renewal process involves submitting updated documentation to confirm ongoing employment and compliance with the KEI program requirements. 

Successful renewal grants individuals an extension of their KEI status, allowing them to continue living and working in Malta. It is important to note that when the KEI status expires and is not renewed, individuals may no longer enjoy the benefits associated with the program and may need to explore other residency options or return to their home country.

How can CSB Group Help?

CSB Group specialises in assisting individuals and companies with various aspects of the Key Employee Initiative (KEI) programme. Our team of experts can guide individuals through the application process, ensuring that all necessary documentation is prepared and submitted accurately and efficiently. 

CSB Group can help prospective employers understand the requirements and obligations of the KEI programme, assisting them in structuring employment contracts that meet the criteria. Furthermore, CSB Group can provide ongoing support and advice to KEI holders, facilitating the renewal or extension of their KEI status when required. With their in-depth knowledge of the KEI programme and the local regulations, CSB Group can provide valuable assistance to individuals seeking to benefit from the opportunities offered by the KEI Programme.

Need our assistance with The Key Employment Initiative?

Key Contacts

Malcolm Ferrante

Senior Manager - Immigration and Relocation

Michela Pace

Investment Migration Officer



Need our assistance with Citizenship & Residence Planning services?

CSB Group has more than 35 years of experience and the expertise needed to help you with all your immigration service needs.

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T: +356 2557 2557

F: +356 2557 2558

E: [email protected]

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