Malta launches Citizenship by Investment

By Marilyn Mifsud

Posted: 14th March 2014 08:54

By virtue of Legal Notice LN 47/2014, the Government of the Republic of Malta grants, after a rigid and thorough due diligence process, naturalisation by investment to reputable individuals and their dependantswho will make a noteworthy contribution to the social and economic development of the country.
 
Legal Notice 47 of 2014 came into force on 4 February 2014 and officiated the latest establishment of the Individual Investor Programme for the Republic of Malta.  The Malta IIP is aimed at high net worth individuals and families worldwide.  The scheme has been fully approved by the EU Commission.  An important facet is that the programme which concedes Maltese citizenship in return for satisfying the prescribed investments in Malta which has a ceiling of 1,800 applications after which the programme will be exhausted.
 
Requirements
 
Citizenship shall be conceded to suitable individuals and families who satisfy the due diligence checks and make a significant contribution to the National Development Fund established by the Government in the manner prescribed.  The concession of Maltese citizenship has been tied to (i) one year residence in Malta (see definition), (ii) the holding of immovable property in Malta by title of either ownership or lease, (iii) additional investment in Maltese government securities and (iv) a global health insurance coverage for at least €50,000 for the main applicant and each of the dependants.
 
The minimum contributionlevels that are cumulative must be met in the initial phase of the programme have been set as follows:
 
 - €650,000 for main applicant
 - An additional contribution of  €25,000 is required for a spouse and for each dependant under the age of 18
 - Contribution for each dependant over 18  €50,000 each
 
The holding of immovable property in Malta currently shall be for a five year minimum holding period either through purchase (minimum value €350,000) or leasing (minimum annual rent €16,000).  Additional investment in Maltese Government bonds and securities shall be of a minimum of €150,000 investment which the applicant must make also with a minimum holding period of five years.
 
Definition of the ‘One Year’ Residence
 
One of the core requirements is that of a year’s ‘effective residency’ which needs to have been achieved by the applicant.  Such residence needs to be satisfied in such a manner that exudes a sufficiently strong bond between the applicant and Malta.  Owing to the highly delicate and complex camp to which residency belongs there have been issued no written guidelines by the European Commission on this requisite.  The spirit for this may be the ascertaining that authenticity may prevail with more ease and be more easily identified where it is found to subsist.  In effect the applicant will need to satisfy the pertinent Maltese authority through tangible and visible engagements that his dossier of connections to the Maltese islands is truly robust enough to warrant the grant in his favour.
 
Citizenship not a Right but a Privilege
 
Applicants are reminded that citizenship grants are concessions, not rights, and are thus subject to revocation in circumstances of abuse.  Verifications will include source of wealth and source of funds, satisfaction of Maltese anti-money laundering legislation, clearance of EU or UN black-lists, background checks by due diligence specialists and risk weighting assessments, Europol and Interpol collaboration with national executive police to conduct further checks and interviews as necessary.
 
The Exclusive Club
 
Those applicants who apply for residence in Malta as through the Malta Individual Investor Programmewill be afforded ‘red carpet’ treatment in that their biometrics will be taken exclusively and directly at the newly opened Identity Malta premises hosted at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta.
 
Finally, the list of successful applicants will be tabled to Parliament annually.  The Malta passport opens up many doors to EU and non EU countries including USA and Canada.

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