Speaking at a press conference at the Auberge de Castille earlier today, Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat outlined the basis for a stronger connection with Malta for applicants seeking Maltese citizenship by investment.
Citizenship programme requires bond with Malta
Reaching consensus with stake holders and the professional sector, the Maltese Government announced the details of the regulations that would ensure the competitiveness of Malta's Citizenship by Investment Program.
The Government has worked with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, MHRA and FinanceMalta, having worked with the chairman' of Malta's financial services regulator, the MFSA to broker a compromise between the various stakeholders.
At the core of the regulations are the public's call for a stronger link with the jurisdiction, the public outcry at a programme run by one private company and a call for greater clarity as to the application of the contribution to be made to the National Development Fund. The highlights of the citizenship regulations are the following:
Contribution to the National Development Fund
Applicants for citizenship are to contribute the sum of €650,000. Seventy per cent of this contribution would be made to the National Development and Social Fund that would be run on the model of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, whilst thirty per cent would go directly to the public coffers. The National Development and Social Fund will have clear objectives in financing projects involving education, research and innovation, job and wealth creation, the implementation of the Jobs Plus plan and other social and health projects. The fund would not be run by the Government by a Board of Trustees composed of persons having the role and liberty of determining the application of these funds to projects presented by Government and Civil Society.
Property Investment / Rental
Citizenship applications must be backed by a property investment of at least €350,000 or a property rental of at least €16,000 per annum. The property holding or rental must continue for at least fiver years on pain of revocation of citizenship so granted.
Investment in Approved Bonds / Stocks
Applicants must invest €150,000 in a variety of bonds and stocks approved by Government and such investment must also subsist for at least five years.
Due Diligence at Four Levels
To ensure that only persons of the highest repute are attracted by the program, scrutiny will be at four levels of due diligence with the last of these being equivalent to that performed today by the MFSA.
The only interface between applicants representatives and the Government will be Identity Malta. The role of the concessionaire as originally proposed has been radically revised to ensure a free market and that reputable law firms in Malta will be able to represent clients directly with Identity Malta, the centralised governmental agency responsible for visas, work permits, residence permits, citizenship, identity cards, the land registry and the public registry.
Between the date of filing of applications for citizenship and the grant of citizenship under the Individual Investor Program, applications are subject to a statutory time frame of between six month and two years to ensure a thorough due diligence process.
The Government has announced an aggregate cap limiting the programme to a maximum of 1,800 successful main applications, with a view to reassuring the EU or any specific countries against any concern of an influx of thousands of third country nationals via Malta. Currently, Malta already grants approximately one thousand citizenship statuses per year. On reaching this upper cap, the program will close.