Malta’s citizenship scheme takes top spot

Malta’s citizenship scheme takes top spot

This was the second year running that Malta ranked first.

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The study put under the spotlight seven other countries that also offer a citizenship by investment programme.

“For improved visa-free travel, permanent relocation and financial security, Malta is the way to go” the report says.

Malta’s Individual Investor Programme earned a score of 73 out of 100, ahead of Cyprus and Antigua and Barbuda. The Caribbean states St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia and Dominica were ranked penultimate and last, respectively.

Malta’s excellent reputation, splendid climate, very friendly people and low crime rate offering a great quality of life were some of the reasons for its excellent ranking, as cited by Henley & Partners. Other positive factors were the right to settlement in all 28 EU member states and visa-free travel to 168 countries including the EU, US and Canada.

The report also ranks global residence programmes, where Malta ranked in fourth place behind Portugal, Belgium and Austria in decreasing order. In this case, beneficiaries do not become citizens but acquire residence status.

Rolled out in 2013, the IIP allows wealthy individuals to a buy a Maltese passport against a payment of €650,000, a property investment of €350,000 and an additional contribution of €150,000 in government bonds.

The programme drew huge criticism amid concerns that its beneficiaries, whose names are published alongside all naturalised Maltese persons, would be shady individuals with no genuine link to the island.

Subsequently, the government was forced by the EU to introduce a residence clause whereby each applicant would need to live in Malta for a minimum of 12 months.

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