‘Austria and Cyprus have no residency requirements’ – Henley & Partners

Henley & Partners say that the PN's judicial protest doesn’t make any sense and calls for a mature political debate.

On Monday's Reporter on TVM, Chrisitan Kalin, an internationally well-known immigration and citizenship law specialist and a partner at the Henley & Partners Zurich's office said that the most important feature of the contract between the government and Henley & Partners has already been made public.

"Our remuneration has been made public. The other points are quite irrelevant for public discussion. It contains some important features that need to remain confidential because they are related to national security questions. These obviously shouldn't be published."

Following Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announcing further changes to the contentious Individual Investor Programme, Monday's Reporter on TVM took a deeper look at this scheme and whether the issue is a closed chapter.

Alongside Parliamentary Secretary for EU Presidency 2017 and EU Funds, Ian Borg and the opposition spokesperson for home affairs Jason Azzopardi, MediaToday Managing Editor Saviour Balzan analysed the government's concession in front of the European Commission and subsequent introduction of a residency period.

In his exclusive comments, Kalin said that the situation in Austria is very clear. "There is a paragraph in the Citizenship Act that provides that you can obtain citizenship directly without prior residence. Such provision has been introduced in 1986 and since then Austria has a quite established practice."

Kalin argued that not only sports and famous singers have been granted citizenship but also potential investors. "Effectively this provision has been used to attract investors and business people. The same as Malta is doing now. The only difference is much smaller numbers and complete secrecy about the process and the names involved."

He said that in Austria, there were about 20 to 30 cases a year. "But as I said, these numbers are not published at all."

Kalin also stated that Cyprus allows citizenship to be granted directly wihtout any residency required.

Balzan pointed out that the criticism levelled at Henley & Partners is that they are interested in making money.

"It is very clear that we obviously have an interest and this is our business. We are specialists in this field and we advice government's and countries around the world. But I do take offence in the way some of those criticisms are being aforesaid. Especially from those who are in opposition and the judicial protest, because this doesn't make any sense. One thing is to have a mature political debate about that. We are specialists that provide solutions in this field and we pride ourselves to do this very well," Kalin reiterated.

With the previous administration, we have helped with regards to the residence programme. "However, this programme had severe problems, because it was not very well managed over a long period of time. In the end, it ran into a point that it had to be closed. Hence, we closed it down and tried to restructure it. This is all related to the residence programme," Kalin replied.

Reporter on TVM also discussed whether there are more amendments in store and whether the 12-month residency period is the only change affected by the government's and the European Commission's agreement.

On Monday, Azzopardi said that the Opposition will ‘watch and see' until the Government publishes the new legal notice regulating citizenship programme as sanctioned by the European Commission.

Borg said that the main concern of the Nationalist Party is that this scheme will be successful and will attract a lot of foreign investment in Malta. He reiterated that the Nationalist MEPs undermined Malta's reputation.

On the other hand, Azzopardi said: "Roberta Metosla and David Casa criticised the Government's scheme that damaged Malta's reputation. What about the 182 Socialist MEPs that not only criticised and condemned this scheme, but voted against it? These MEPs were also forced by the Nationalist Party to do so?"

AD chairman Arnold Cassola said that the IIP scheme as it was in its unveiling, the secrecy clause would tarnish the country's reputation. Moreover, Maltese citizens had a right to know who was being granted citizenship.

Cassola argued that the Opposition wasn't right "when threatening to revoke IIP citizenships. This was an outright breach of the fundamental human rights."

On the other hand, he added that Finance Minister Edward Scicluna's comments that "Malta was short of certain people of calibre" were reprehensible and shameful.

"Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, together with former Prime Minister Alfred Sant who 11 years ago attempted to revoke my voting rights, has come to terms with what AD has been saying. This implies that residence does not only infer the individual's physical presence in Malta, but even habitual presence. Therefore, this means that those Maltese living in the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Brussels will have full voting rights."

Reporter is aired live every Monday at 6:55pm on TVM. The programme is repeated on TVM2 on Monday at 10:15pm.

 

More in National
avatar
Joe Tanti
Henley & Partners used to do a similar business with the previous government ,The PN are questioning the payment of the company in this scheme. Can the minister concerned tell us how much was paid to Henley & Partners when they were doing similar business with the PN government? And also if they were found in the famous Yellow pages, who brought they over, what was the commission involved ,and who was the commissioner/s involved?
avatar
Joe Tanti
Qeghdin jaghmlu hafna parole ghax Henley & partners sejrin jghamlu hana qliegh min din l-skema! Mela hawn xi had jahdem ghal xejn.L-aqwa li din ma instabitc min fuq il-Yellow Pages. Ohra, Henley & Partners kienu diga ghamlu xi xoghol ma l-Gvern Nazzjonalista, ghalura dawn ghamluh b'xejn? Jista il-Ministru concernat jghidilna bkemm thallsu u min kien li resaqhom u kemm dan l-individwu/I haddu bhala commission? Kemm qeda tahraqhom qalbhom il-PN sabiex jaraw kif jintefqu il-flus tal pajjiz ,U hekk xieraq , u dan xoghol ta l-oppozzizjoni.Pero din l-istess herqa ma uzawiex fil tberbieq ta 25 ta ammisstrazjoni PN. Dawn lanqas kellhom il-kapacita li jmexxu il-fondi tal-partit taghhom ghax fallewh, ahseb u ara kemm sejrin nergu nafdawhom bi flus il-poplu.
avatar
The truth is that Chrisitan Kalin's only interest is to make millions from the sale of our citizenship.If he were in Malta in the seventies or eighties and involved himself in local politics as he has been doing now by attacking the Opposition, he would have been given the boot under the famous Foreign Interference Act which, incidentally, is still in force.
avatar
Antoine Vella - So may be that's why Francis Zammit Dimech tendered for the said contract - to finance the PN, being so much in the red.
avatar
@ still worried: And would you really take a chance and invest your hard earned millions in Austria and or Cyprus? Henley & Partners are a business and their main concern is to make money and they do not have to invest their hard earned money in any of these countries. Henley & Partners are very good at what they do and they get paid very handsomely for their services. Henley & Partners are not looking out for Malta, Cyprus, Austria or any other place, what they are looking for is profits because that is why they are in business.
avatar
Is it true that Henley and Partners have a track record of financing the electoral campaigns of political parties? I'm surprised that Saviour Balzan - usually such a sharp interviewer - forgot to ask this question.
avatar
Ghallura Jason Azzopardi il-bierah waqt Reporter jew ma ghamilx il- homework sewwa jew kien qed jigdeb! Tal-misthija!
avatar
We should have made it like Cyprus.
avatar
It seems we are not alone in this prostitution business. What do you think Simon? http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/04/world/asia/australia-china-immigration/index.html?hpt=hp_c2