The Malta Independent 24 September 2021, Friday

EC still analysing replies sent by government on ‘golden visa’ scheme - Alex Muscat

Wednesday, 2 June 2021, 13:30 Last update: about 5 months ago

The European Commission is still analysing the replies sent by the Maltese government over the country’s golden visa scheme, Parliamentary Secretary Alex Muscat said.

This comes following the news earlier this year that the European Commission launched infringement proceedings on Malta and Cyprus’ ‘golden visa’ schemes. 

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Last year, Malta phased out the controversial Individual Investor Programme, which had been administered by Henley and Partners, and launched a new scheme which, the government says, focuses more on residency and can lead to citizenship.

Speaking to journalists who asked for an update regarding the matter, Parliamentary Secretary Muscat said that “so far, the Commission has not officially corresponded with us again on either the new programme or the former IIP.”

Muscat explained that the European Commission gave Malta a time frame to which it replied around December. Muscat had previously said that Malta would be telling the European Commission that Malta would not cede its citizenship rights which fall under national competence.

The European Commission had told The Malta Independent in February that it was still analying Malta’s reply and Muscat said on Wednesday that there have been no new developments since.

With reference to the Individual Investor Programme, Muscat said that “we are no longer accepting new applications due to the decision we made. Nowadays there are new residency rules, however, after we sent our reply to the Commission, it has so far not come back with its response or with information as to what it intends to do next.”

“These new rules are in place and are working, but we do not need approval from the European Commission because they are obviously of national competence,” Muscat said.

He explained that when talking about citizenship and residence, the country has the freedom to make any decisions.

Muscat said that the infringement procedures do not affect any of this, adding that “the Commission issued an infringement on what was the IIP, but today, the IIP is no longer in force, and we are no longer accepting applications.”

Footage: Miguela Xuereb/Newsbook

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