EU Citizenship for Sale: Malta’s Individual Investor Programme

Leading UK legal publisher, LexisNexis’ LexisPSL interviewed our Immigration Team and published an article on ‘whether Malta could set a trend for selling EU citizenship?’

M Ali Akram, principal of LexLaw Solicitors and Advocates, and Aisha Choudhry, immigration solicitor at LexLaw, commented on the Maltese Citizenship Act 2013 and the ‘Individual Investor Programme’ (as we reported last month).

Maltese Individual Investor Programme: Attracting Wealthy Foreigners

In November this year, Malta’s parliament introduced amendments to the Maltese Citizenship Act 2013 which made it possible for the Minister responsible for citizenship to assign citizenship by naturalisation to a person and his or her dependents (i.e. spouse and children) who made a financial contribution to the Individual Investor Programme.  The scheme would be targeted at wealthy citizens from countries such as Russia, China and the Middle East who would be able to enjoy rights of free movement and have the right to vote in elections for the European Parliament.

Furhermore, Maltese citizens are able to benefit from the Schengen visa scheme which allows entry into 22 EU states and 2 non EU states without requiring prior entry clearance or visa. An individual who contributes to the Individual Investor Scheme would therefore be able to enjoy the benefits in the same way as any other Maltese citizen.

Maltese Government Hopes to Raise International Profile

At the time of approving the Individual Investor Programme, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat stated that the scheme was expected to attract up to 300 people a year and earn the government €30 million in much needed revenue. The reason for Malta’s rather more welcoming attitude to wealthy foreigners can be seen as largely financial and the Maltese government hopes to raise the small island’s international profile by attracting celebrities and sports stars.

UK Government’s Tier 1 Investor & Entrepreneur Visa Routes

Malta is not the first country to offer this scheme; the UK is another EU member state which recognises the need to attract high net worth individuals and offers a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa and Tier 1 Investor visa routes. These visa routes attract wealthy investors as residency permits for non-EU citizens are more easily available. It is also believed by the UK government that wealthy foreigners are essential for renewed economic growth in the UK.

Successful Visa Applications for High Net Worth Migrants

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a Tier 1 Investor Visa application or Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa application step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law. We also provide expert legal advice on UK Visitor’s Visas. Please contact us so that we can review your case and provide you with an assessment of your case.

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