Around 700 people have applied for Malta’s ‘cash-for-passports’ scheme, described as on the most popular schemes run by Henley & Partners, their vice-chairman Andrew Taylor said during a radio interview on a South African radio station, reports the Maltese Independent.
Extolling the virtues of the scheme, Mr Taylor said that while Malta is more expensive than similar schemes offered in Antigua and Barbuda, the major bonus is visa-free access to 28 EU member states.
“Our clients in South Africa, particularly, don’t actually want to emigrate or don’t want to reside or plan today to spend additional time in any of these countries, but they almost want it as an insurance policy for them or their kids.”
“If they ever do decide to make that decision to move in the future or their kids make it in many years to come, then they’ve got the right an freedom to do so and the right and freedom to choose from 28 different countries rather than, say, one country.”
Applicants are supposed to foster a “genuine link” with Malta, and the 12-months residency period prescribed in the scheme must be “effective.”
Mr Taylor said such citizenship schemes are highly lucrative for the countries offering them.
“We estimate we’ve helped the industry of the different governments we’ve worked with – Jamaica with US$4bn – so annually it’s a significant industry now, and it’s growing. Like Portugal is in the thousands and Malta – the programme was only launched in March of last year and … there are about 700 people already starting the process. And when you think of the price tag being around €1m, you can see the amount of money being generated for these countries.”
Applicants must pay €650,000 for their Maltese passport, as well as making a property investment of €350,000 and buying €150,000 in government bonds.