Legislators in the Mediterranean island of Malta have voted to approve a scheme allowing high net worth individuals from outside the European Union, such as from Russia and the Middle East, to become Maltese citizens.
Legislators in the Mediterranean island of Malta, have voted
to approve a scheme allowing high net worth individuals from outside the
European Union, such as from Russia and the Middle East, to become Maltese
citizens. The matter, however, threatens to cause a row among EU lawmakers, media reports have said.
The move, which has stirred considerable controversy due to
whether issuance will incur rigorous identity checks on applicants, has been
approved by the Maltese parliament. The measure has been brought in by the
Labour-led government, which won power in national elections by a wide
majority earlier this year.
Citizenship, under the scheme, is granted to investors
contributing at least €650,000
($878,000) and who undergo certain checks. Spouses and minor children can also
become citizens for a sum of €25,000 in each case.
The Individual Investor Programme has certain features in
with other countries’ citizenship programmes for high net worth individuals,
such as the Investor and Entrepreneur visas operated in the UK. However,
such policies are controversial: in the UK,
the influx of wealthy foreigners has been cited as a reason for sky-high
residential property prices in London.