The Maltese government has still not specified the duration of time a person applying for the Individual Investor Program (IIP) must live in Malta in order to fulfil the one year residency requirement of the scheme.
According to reports, the members of the IIP monitoring committee could not provide ‘satisfactory answers’ to the questions raised by Simon Busuttil, Leader of the Opposition party in Malta. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, former Head of Civil Service, Godwin Grima, and Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia were also part of the committee.
The Maltese IIP has already been revised three times since its introduction. The applicant identity secrecy clause was removed in the first round of changes, while in the second round it was decided that an IIP applicant must buy property worth a minimum of €350,000 as well as invest at least €150,000 in government bonds or stocks. In the third revision, the one-year residency requirement was added, with the government stating that that applicants would not actually need to live for a year in Malta but they would be required to come to Malta. It is not clear yet how long applicants need to stay in Malta to meet the residency requirement, or what would count as “proof of residency”.
The committee announced that the names of successful IIP applicants will not be published separately from those who acquire Maltese citizenship through other means. “Despite its promise to remove the secrecy clause, the people will still not know who bought a Maltese passport. There will be no way of distinguishing between someone who got a passport through the IIP and a person who obtained Maltese citizenship through marriage,” said one source.
According to reports, about 173 IIP applications for citizenships have been made so far. However only seven of them have reached the second stage where due diligence is performed.
The Maltese IIP scheme is capped at 1,800 applications.