Malta suspends golden passports scheme for Russians, Belarusians

Community Malta Agency and Residency Malta Agency stated that existent due diligence checks cannot be carried out effectively due to the ongoing conflict

Malta's citizenship-by-investment scheme will suspend all applications from Russian and Belarusian nationals due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. 

Community Malta Agency and Residency Malta Agency have suspended the processing of applications for Russian and Belarusian applicants, stating that the existent due diligence checks cannot be carried out effectively because of the war. 

In a statement to the press, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Citizenship and Communities said that none of the applicants who have been granted citizenship or residency over the years are currently on the EU sanctions list.

"Similarly, no applications from individuals on the EU sanctions list are currently in process," the statement reads.

The secretariat added that its due diligence process means the relevant agencies have the power to revoke any status granted to people who feature on the sanctions list. 

The move comes after widespread pressure on Malta to suspend the scheme for Russian nationals. MEPs had stated that EU countries with golden passport schemes should review all beneficiaries of such residence status.

Both Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech and ADPD - The Green Party called for the scheme to be scrapped for Russians, but the Labour Party continued to defend the scheme during press conferences and political activities.

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In a separate statement, the Nationalist Party criticised Robert Abela for not taking this anction earlier on.

"Robert Abela took this step not with conviction but out of convenience. Solidarity with the Ukrainian people would have required us taking this step far earlier on, without waiting for others to tell us what to do," the party statement reads.

The Nationalist Party added that government needs to carry out proper verifications on recent applications to the scheme from Russian nationals.