This year saw the conclusion of the Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) which has reached its maximum number of approved applicants, and the launching of the Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment. 

Parliamentary Secretary Alex Muscat pointed out that over the past 6 years, the MIIP generated approximately 1.5 billion euro. These funds have been distributed in many different sectors, all of which have contributed to improving the livelihood of the citizens of Malta. He starts off by mentioning the provision of laptops and tablets to schoolchildren with financially disadvantaged backgrounds, funded by monies generated from said programme. It also helped the National Development and Social Fund (NSDF) and contributed to better Social Housing. In fact, the Housing Authority has signed a memorandum of understanding with the NDSF to build 500 social housing apartments, an initiative worth 50 million euro. 

Other sectors such as the Sports Sector as well as Health Sector, also received financial aid –  as can be seen through the renovation of Cardiac Catheterisation Suites at Mater Dei Hospital. This has resulted in a 60 % decrease in the radiation dose levels incurred during cardiac procedures. This facilitates both more complex procedures, as well as less invasive ones.

Furthermore, sixty-four wheelchairs and seven motor mattresses were purchased for St Vincent de Paul patients and residences catered for by Aġenzija Sapport. The funds have also been used to fund cleaning and sterilising of government housing estates during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A generous sum of 1.5 million euro has also been donated to Caritas Malta. 

He explained that some of the money has also been utilised to sponsor environmental projects which took place in Mosta, Ħamrun and Qormi, with over €3 million being invested.

Furthermore, he noted that applicants’ donations total to circa 5 million euro; from which several philanthropic organisations have benefitted. However, it is important to appreciate other benefits apart from the financial ones; such as those relating to talent and human resources which also contribute to strengthening our economic situation.

Muscat concluded by noting that since the program’s capping has been reached, it is now time to defend the new residency regulations used to obtain Maltese citizenship. He explains that this motivation should be rooted in a strong belief of our sovereignty in this area, as enshrined in the very laws that regulate the functions of the EU. He refers to the numerous consultations made with other entities, including the European Commission itself. He commented that the Maltese Programme is better regulated than other programmes. Finally, he ends by saying that we ought to defend our well-thought programme both for the sake of economic gains, as well as for the sake of our citizens. 

He explained that some of the money has also been utilised to sponsor environmental projects which took place in Mosta, Ħamrun and Qormi, with over €3 million being invested.

The CEO of the MIIP, Jonathan Cardona, addressed some of the key elements of the new regulations. He referred to the setting up of a Community Malta Agency, aimed at administering and processing all Maltese citizenship applications. The various applications can be categorised into the following – citizenship by descent, citizenship through merit, citizenship by naturalisation through long term residence and through exceptional service by merit and exceptional service by investment in Malta. The New Agency has become more empowered to share information with law enforcement entities.

He then made reference to the new regulations which have been enacted to regulate the registration of agents. Once again, he explained that the Agency will have additional controlling powers, enabling it to suspend and revoke agents’ licenses. This is aimed at more efficient and effective sanctioning of any improper conduct. 

Any advertisement material will have to be communicated with the Agency, and publication requires prior approval by the said Agency. Agents necessarily have to fall under one of four categories of professionals; lawyers, accountants, public auditors, and financial advisors as licenses by the MFSA.  

Furthermore, these regulations introduced the concept that both applicants and their dependants need to be residents of Malta for a minimum period of thirty-six months. This period can, by exceptional means be reduced to twelve months, if a higher investment is made. In addition to this, applicants need to pass a thorough due diligence process. This is in stark contrast to other similar regulations belonging to foreign countries, and this is what makes our programme, essentially a residence-based programme which may subsequently lead to the granting of citizenship. This period of residence status is essential from a due diligence perspective, as it provides sufficient time during which important information on applicants can come up.

The CEO promises that the Agency will continue to enhance its due diligence and risk management processes. Finally, he concludes by ascertaining that it is the duty of all the stakeholders to practice with prudence.

 

Sources: Times of Malta

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