FinancialGuy Writes!

This week has been a curious one here in Malta, if you happen to have been following the developments of the Individual Investor Programme. In case you aren’t aware, IIP is the scheme under which citizenship is possible in 12 months subject to applications and a contribution of 650,000 euros (the best description of it that I can find is here).

First there was an announcement by the original concessionaire, Henley and Partners, that 100 applicants with total commitments of 100 million euros to Malta were underway.

To say that the programme is contentious is something of an understatement. Since the citizenship concept was announced within the first nine months of new Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s term, but did not appear in his party’s manifesto, it has divided opinions with many more Maltese being opposed than in favour of it. As such, whenever there is any mention of the plan from almost any source, questions are asked in Parliament and front page news is made.

Those questions prompted an answer confirming that 144 applications for residency have been made (applicants need to become a Maltese resident for 12 months before they can be approved) but that only 12 were complete applications. Of these 12, only 6 will be approved it seems, the rest have been returned by Identity Malta. Of the other 132, one presumes that the applications were incomplete and that more (or or more appropriate, or translated) documentation is being sought.

The contributions of 650,000 euros are being made to the National Development and Social Fund. The fund itself is new, but I had not realised until this week that it’s governing board has not yet been appointed.

It also seems that the monitoring committee, established to oversee the process, has not yet met for the first time.

Whether these delays are designed to protect the scheme is difficult to say. Back in November, the leader of the opposition, Simon Busuttil, announced that when in power he would cancel the scheme and revoke the passports sold.

So honestly, who knows what might happen…

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