Malta’s Golden Passport: Why do people around the world want citizenship in this small EU country?

So far 833 investors and other 2109 members of their families have acquired citizenship of Malta

So far 833 investors and other 2109 members of their families have acquired citizenship of Malta

News Time

There are big customers in the world selling global citizenship who want to pay less tax. Or they have political reasons and Malta has now become the favorite destination of such people. The Golden Passport Scheme announced by the Malta government is also under investigation. A delegation from the European Union Parliament has described Malta’s Golden Passport Scheme as threatening to import criminals and money laundering agents across the EU. Wealthy people in the world are big customers of this global citizenship market, who want to pay low taxes, want a good education or political reasons force them to take this step. So how much does Malta’s citizenship cost and what do we know about Malta’s passport buyers?

How can you buy Malta citizenship?

The scheme was introduced by the Malta government in 2014 to attract wealthy people and investment. In order to get a passport, any applicant must meet these conditions:

Submitting 650,000 Euros to the National Development Fund

Putting 150,000 Euros on the stock market in Malta or buying shares of the same amount

Buying a property worth 350,000 Euros or renting a property for 16,000 annually

In total, this amount equates to approximately 11.5 million Euros.

In addition, any applicant must maintain residency status for more than 12 months and it is not a prerequisite for the applicant to remain there during that period. Since the launch of the scheme, 833 investors and other 2109 members of their families have acquired Malta’s citizenship.

From the middle of 2017 to the middle of 2018, the scheme has collected 16 million 235 million Euros, which is equal to 1.38% of Malta’s gross national product during this period. However, sales of passports have seen a decline in 2018. For smaller countries like Malta, this is a clear incentive to create such schemes to attract good investment. Luck van der Byrne, a researcher at the European University Institute in Florence, says many small states are beginning to rely on the revenue generated by such programs.

Who is buying a Malta passport?

The Malta government does not release the home country information of any individual, who applies for a Golden Passport; however, overall the region is informed of the regions where people are getting citizenship or candidates. The assassination of journalist Daphne Karana in 2017 where the political elite shook the country there it raised widespread concerns about the alleged corruption and weak judicial system in Malta. According to the region’s information, the applicants are the leading European countries; the second is the people of the Gulf countries, Asia on the third, Africa on the small, and North America on the fifth. However, EU member states are obliged to publish annual citizenship data. That is, every year, people get citizenship.

Since the implementation of this policy in Malta in 2014, the number of citizens belonging to Saudi Arabia, Russia and China has increased. For example, before 2015, Saudi Arabia did not have citizenships, but since then more than 400 people have done so. There are legitimate and legitimate reasons for obtaining a second passport, but Malta’s government is facing accusations of misusing its country’s system for doing so.

A report published by the European Commission on the scheme in January 2019 states that they have concerns about the scheme, because Malta’s scheme is less rigid than other European Union’s citizenship schemes. For example, applicants do not have to live or exist in Malta before obtaining citizenship or they already have a relationship with this country. The International Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in a report in 2018 that Malta has been included in the high risk of tax evasion due to the Golden Passport Scheme. The Malta government says it regularly conducts screenings of all applicants, including politicians.

Wonder Barn says many people can use the scheme to educate their children or even bring their families to Malta from their home countries. However, he says the program could also lead to inequalities in the countries of nationality of the citizens, because this program only enables the elite or the rich to get another citizenship.

Similar schemes have been issued in the European Union for Cyprus and Bulgaria. From 2008 to 2018, Cyprus granted citizenship to 1616 investors, including 1685 investors, from their families. However, in November this year, Cyprus canceled the golden passport of 26 investors, stating that there were mistakes during the citizenship process.


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