Last Updated 23 | 12 | 2013 at 20:05

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New citizenship programme creates bond with Malta - Prime Minister

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Prime Minister Joseph Muscat this said evening that the citizenship by investment scheme has undergone radical changes to ensure that the attractiveness of the programme remains while addressing the points put forward by stakeholders and citizens.

The details of the scheme were given at a press conference after talks with the Opposition on the scheme failed. The Opposition insisted that it disagreed with the citizenship for sale scheme.

Dr Muscat said that the citizenship scheme will be manage by Identity Malta while Henley and Partners will be the agents together with other entities such as PwC and Deloitte. The names of those granted citizenship will not be kept secret.

Applicants will be required to make a contribution of €650,000 out of which 70 per cent would go into the national development and social fund run by a board of trustees on the lines of the Sovereign Wealth Fund in Norway. The remainder of the funds, 30 per cent, will go to the consolidated fund.

Applicants will also be required to make an investment in property of €350,000 or an annual rent of €16,000 for a minimum of five years. Individuals will also be required to make a €150,000 in bonds and shares and kept for five years in Malta.

The programme will be capped at 1,800 main applications and close when the limit is reached. At present around 1,000 people are granted citizenship every year for free. Due to four levels of due diligence that will be performed the minimum time for the granting of citizenship will be of six months and maximum of two years.

“The total of €1.15 million will create a bond with Malta. It is clear that the government moved away from its initial position. The programme does not present small touches but radical changes that emerged from the ideas presented by the constituted bodies,” the Prime Minister said.

The new programme was agreed upon with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Finance Malta, the MHRA and the organisations representing estate agents. The representatives of these organisations flanked the Prime Minister during the press conference.

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