Fifty-nine per cent of applications for Maltese passports under the Individual Investor Programme have been received from the former Soviet republics, 30% from Asia, 9.8% from Gulf countries, the regulator of the programme, Godwin Grima, has reported to Parliament.
He said that by the end of June, 173 applications had been received. These, in turn, had 96 adult dependants and 101 children. Seven of the applications had progressed to the second stage, submitting all the necessary forms and paying the fees for the four-tier due diligence process to commence. Only one of these applications was from an applicant with an already long-standing relationship with Malta and with a residence permit.
Meanwhile, however, Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela, replying to a parliamentary question today by Kristy Debono (PN) said that 459 applications for residence in preparation for citizenship had been received.
In his report Mr Grima focuses on the regulations governing the scheme, repeatedly pointing out a grey areas over the issue of the residency requirement of applicants
No metrics or guidelines had been provided to Identity Malta on the definition of residency, he said, while noting that the commitment made by Malta to the European Commission was that the applicants had to provide ‘genuine links to Malta through the introduction of an effective residence status in Malta prior to the possibility to acquire Maltese naturalisation.”
This, Mr Grima said, left a potential gap in ascertaining ‘effective residence status’.
“It is important for Identity Malta to provide clear guidelines of what is to be considered as admissible proof of residence in Malta. This so that actual or potential applicants will know upfront the onus upon them to prove their residence requirements in Malta.”
The report was tabled in Parliament just minutes after Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi asked when the report would be presented, and Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela said he would reply in another sitting.