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What is happening to the Maltese CBI programme?

The Malta Citizenship by investment programme (MIIP) will be retained, Prime Minister Robert Abela confirmed, stating that he is prepared to introduce any due diligence changes necessary. The Prim Minister insisted that, the scheme has brought a lot of good to the country and preserving this programme is important.

Hon. Alex Muscat, Parliamentary secretary for citizenship and communities, defined the government’s plans for the Maltese Individual Investor Programme in an interview with The Sunday Times of Malta. Mr Muscat stated that more than 70% of the allocated 1,800 limit had been reached. He also confirmed that, once the quota of applications is reached, a revised programme will be launched.

The MIIP is known for it's rigorous Due Diligence processes, using a four tiered process and resulting in almost 25% of the applications being rejected since it's inception. Mr Muscat confirmed that Malta’s firm due diligence practises lead to the lowest approval rate in Europe at around 76% of applicants being accepted, in contrast to the UK at 91%, Latvia 98% and Hungary at 99%.

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What is going to change? Nothing has been confirmed yet, however the investment and contribution requirements may be modified in this revamped version of the programme. Mr Muscat also stated: “We are looking at further due diligence obligations on agents, and even to have certain checks and balances in place for a fixed period of time on successful applicants”.

  • Applicants are currently required to rent or purchase a property in Malta for a minimum of €16,000 per year or purchase a property in Malta for a minimum of €350,000 (excluding stamp duty and notary fees) and retain it for a period of five (5) years. We could be seeing a complete removal of the rental option or an increased minimum rental amount per year to promote the purchase option.
  • The current requirement of Euro 150k investment in Government bonds, could also be increased whilst possibly reducing the Euro 650k contribution fee.

The tricky part is ensuring that with the introduction of these changes, the programme is still competitive in the migration industry, that provides many other options for interested applicants!

Yes, we can expect to see these changes take place by end of year! According to the sixth annual report published by Malta’s Office of the Independent Regulator of the Individual Investor Programme (ORiip), the country’s investment programme has reached 1,054 successful applicants up till the end of June 2019. The authorities have stated that the cap could be reached by end of year 2020. The updates to the programme would therefore be introduced once this target is reached.

The Maltese CBI programme had made a significant impact on the economy. The Government Highlighted the positive effect of the scheme in the "measures for COVID-19" report confirming that the income generated through the program had put Malta in a position to implement adequate measures to the benefit of Maltese Citizens.

WHO regional director praises Malta for health measures, portraying the country as an example that should be followed. Hans Kluge, Regional Director of the World Health Organisation of Europe, tweeted about Malta and praised the country for the health measures taken to protect the population and control the spread of the corona-virus. Kluge said Malta was “on the right track and an example to follow”.

According to the country's National Statistics Office, the economy expanded by more than 3% last year. Malta's economy will be affected by the corona-virus pandemic this year but the impact will be less than the EU average, according to the European Commission's Spring forecast. The commission said Malta’s economy, would contract by 5.8% in 2020, but should rebound by 6% the following year.

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