Since inception, especially in the first few months of 2014, The Individual Investor Programme has caused a furore, garnering harsh criticism from its opponents, both local and foreign. On its online blurb, the IIP website states that the programme “is designed to attract to Malta’s shores applicants who can share their talent, expertise and business connections. It is the first citizenship programme in the European Union to be recognized by the European Commission,” going on to state that, “Malta offers great opportunities to applicants of the IIP and their families, including a high standard of living, a stable political system and a robust economy.”
Since those torrid months of 2014, the IIP has been deemed an unqualified success by the government, who at last count has stated that the programme has earned the national coffers a staggering € 300 million.
Also on its website the IIP states that “applications from countries where international sanctions apply may not be accepted. Applications from a particular country can also be excluded on the basis of a Government policy decision.” To date this has not seemed to be an issue in any shape, way or form, however, in a strange new twist it has now transpired that until further notice, Identity Malta Agency will not be accepting new applications for the Individual Investor Programme from individuals who hold a citizenship from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia.
These listed countries (bar Iran which is not mentioned) are the same countries which have made US president’s Donald Trump Muslim ban list last week. This new development in the current scenario raises a number of questions, both as to the reasons for its implementation as well as the ‘coincidental’ timing. Is this a question of national security? Has there been an imminent, tangible threat from these countries? Is there a specific rationale why we are following the US in refusing applications for the IIP from these same nations?
Is this simply normal policy which is updated from time to time by Identity Malta or is there more to it than meets the eye?