The Malta Independent 25 February 2020, Tuesday

Malta’s Individual Investor Programme tops Ius Pecuniae Index

Jonathan Cardona Sunday, 4 February 2018, 07:30 Last update: about 3 years ago

Malta's citizenship by investment programme has received yet another accolade. Malta secured the overall top position in the Ius Pecuniae Index, while also sealing top spot in the Travel Convenience Index©, a special index analysing  multi-dimensional convenience for visa-free travel and the quality of visa-free destinations.

Ius Pecuniae Research Centre, an initiative of the advisory firm HF Corporation, is an autonomous unit that aims to promote the investment migration industry through in-depth analysis of investment migration and economic citizenship programmes.

The Ius Pecuniae Index analyses and compares countries that run legal and well-established programmes which grant citizenship to foreign individuals based on investment. The Index is composed of six different indicators, which are assigned different weightings. The study looks into monetary requirements, travel convenience, quality of life and business environment, settlement rights, reputation and residence requirements.

The Maltese passport offers holders the convenience of travelling to 169 countries without having to go through the hassle of obtaining a visa for business or leisure purposes. As well as taking into consideration the total number of destinations that allow visa-free access, the Index evaluates the quality and overall value of the countries in question. Malta is the only country in this index whose nationals enjoy the convenience of 'reciprocal healthcare' in Australia under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement between both countries.

Malta also scored highly when it comes to quality of life and ease of doing business. Citizens want freedom of movement, freedom of choosing a place of residence in the country of their own choice, freedom of getting their children educated in the best institutions and freedom to get medical treatment from hospitals they feel can provide the best care and freedom to do business.

Maltese citizens enjoy the right of settlement in other countries; they have the right to reside freely and/or are allowed to take up employment or be self-employed for a relatively longer period of time in the territory of another country without undergoing extra administrative procedures.

Reputation of a citizenship-by-investment programme is paramount. It is usually based on 'due diligence' and the 'compliance' of the country with accepted international standards. Reputation means how well the programme is perceived in the industry - that may include regulators, institutions, intergovernmental organisations and other professionals. The due diligence standards set by the responsible government agencies, either directly or through professional due diligence providers, are one way of reflecting the transparency of the programme.

The stricter the due diligence standards and transparency, the better the long-term reputation of a programme  and the greater its acceptance. In addition to funds derived from the citizenship programme for the welfare of the local population, this will attract more foreign direct investment into the country.

Malta's Individual Investor Programme is considered one of the steepest in the industry. Applicants are obliged to make a significant contribution to the government with a hefty initial outlay that is non-refundable. In addition, applications are only processed once applicants have been residing in the country for 12 months. 

While each sovereign country has, and should have, the right to design its naturalisation policy - robust due-diligence standards, pricing befitting the offered benefits, smart processing and effective channelling of the foreign direct investment for economic development will determine which programmes perform best in this competitive marketplace.

 

Jonathan Cardona is the CEO of IIP 


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