54% of IIP applicants are from Russia

Total of 459 residence permit applications submitted in preparation for the acquisition of Maltese citizenship

Russians have queued up to get their hands on a Maltese passport
Russians have queued up to get their hands on a Maltese passport

The absolute majority of applicants for Malta’s citizenship programme, otherwise known as the Individual Investor Programme (IIP), hail from former Soviet Republic countries, an annual report shows.

Tabled in parliament this evening, the report was compiled by IIP Regulator Godwin Grima and carries an evaluation of IIP applicants as at June 2014, when 173 main applications had been submitted.

The number today is much higher, with 459 applications submitted for residence permits, as part of the IIP requirement.

According to the analysis carried out by the Office of the Regulator, 59% of all IIP applicants came from former Soviet Republic countries; 30% from the Asian continent and 3.5% from the African continent – 18% derived from Middle East countries whilst 9.8% hailed from the Gulf.

Applications from BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – represented 61.3% of total applications.

Grima noted that 54.3% of the applications came from Russian citizens: “Whilst Russia may be defined as a European country, it also forms part of the BRICS grouping of emerging economies where there is potential for growth and which may therefore have positive secondary impacts on Malta.

“Taking these applications out of the equation, one notes that Malta received 79 other applications, mainly from Asia, but with an interesting distribution across the Middle East and Gulf states.”

The Regulator noted that “perceptions are at times more formidable than reality. Hence Identity Malta needs to quash any negative perceptions that may apply to certain regions or individual countries”.

As at end June 2014, 173 main applications had been submitted. These, in turn, had a total of 96 adult dependents and 101 minor dependents.

Applications received as at June 2014

Europe                               104

FSR                                   102

Asia                                    52

Gulf                                    17

Middle East                        31

Africa                                  6

North America                   10

South America                   1

Of the 173 main applicants, seven had progressed to the second stage submitting all necessary forms and paying the necessary fees for the four-tier due diligence process to commence. Only one of the application was form an applicant with an already “long-standing relationship” with Malta and with a residence permit.

“As on date of compilation of this report, no recommendations have been submitted to the minister and consequently no naturalisation certificates were issued. This is to be expected given that the programme is still in its infancy,” the Regulator said.

The Maltese expects to generate €30 million in one year from IIP and a total of a €1 billion for the Social Development Fund.

A local economist, the Regulator’s report said, has estimated that “from each approved applicant, the economy stands to gain €1.67 million in nominal growth, additional to that planned from the IIP”.

The economist calculated that, if 600 applications are approved each year for three years until the capping is reached, the total additional nominal GDP expansion could exceed €1 billion for each of these three years.

In view of emerging competing citizenship programmes offered by other EU member states, Grima said that “Malta must ensure that it continues to develop its infrastructure in a manner that benefits any modern and growing economy as this competitiveness aspect will play an important part on the applicant’s choice of country of citizenship”.

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