Four years since the launch of Malta’s Individual Investor Programme (MIIP), what have been the results?
The programme has been very successful – around 1,000 families were approved, of which over 900 completed the programme successfully, generating over €760 million in direct payments to the Government of Malta. This means that over €460 million have been deposited into the national Development and social Fund run by an autonomous agency. The functions and duties of the agency are to contribute towards significant projects of national importance, supporting advancement in education, research, innovation, justice, employment, and public health. Furthermore, approved applicants have also reached out to local NGOs and philanthropic organisations, making a direct contribution of approximately €4 million. However, Malta’s economy is not dependent on the revenues generated through the programme; they are an additional boost. In recent years, we have been experiencing GDP growth rates of around 6 to 7%, making Malta one of the most dynamic economies among all EU countries.
How do you expect the investment migration industry to evolve over the coming years?
Establishing global and common standards will be the way forward, as currently, the investment migration industry remains largely unregulated. This means that the level of international scrutiny is bound to increase. Malta has been advocating for the introduction of industry-wide standards ever since its programme was launched, while it remains one of the few countries that have established an independent regulator to oversee its operation. To this end, Malta continues to retain the world’s top citizenship-by-investment programme for the very high due diligence standards it set up. Recommendations have also proven that firms and agencies worldwide need to invest heavily in their due diligence to match this bar; these are much needed efforts that will help maintain this ongoing success without exposing the industry to unnecessary risks. The investment migration industry is also looking into developing professional qualifications as a standard for its employees. This will help demonstrate that such programmes are a step closer to reaching the much-needed high standards and a high level of scrutiny.
What updates and new initiatives are in the pipeline?
To date, the requirements and regulations have not changed. However, updates for the programme will be in place in the near future, which will reflect the feedback obtained from a public consultation exercise and from the report issued by the European Commission earlier this year. We went through this whole process to ensure that the updated and revised programme continues to attract successful individuals who can contribute to the country, while having in place the necessary safeguards that would counter any potential risks.