EU Passports for 650,000 Euros: Citizenship for Sale in Malta

Protesters in Valetta express their opposition to a new law that allows foreigners to buy Maltese passports. Zoom
REUTERS

Protesters in Valetta express their opposition to a new law that allows foreigners to buy Maltese passports.

For 650,000 euros, foreigners from outside the European Union can now buy Maltese citizenship. The controversial new law passed on Tuesday also gives buyers the right of free movement within Europe.

Non-European Union citizens with €650,000 ($873,000) to spare can now buy Maltese citizenship thanks to a new plan approved by the Mediterranean island's parliament on Tuesday.

According to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, the program's goal is to raise revenue for the country and attract "high-value" people who will invest there.

The government said applicants would be carefully screened to avoid entry by criminals. Muscat estimated that about 45 new citizens would bring in some €30 million a year. Henley and Partners, the company that will process newcomers' paperwork, said it expects to receive between 200 and 300 applications per year.

As a member of the European Union, Malta is also part of the Schengen Area, where EU citizens can travel freely without visa controls. The decision to sell this right has been roundly criticized by the Maltese opposition, particularly because applicants do not have to be residents, and are also not required to invest on the island.

The country's conservative Nationalist Party fears that the law could lead to comparisons with Caribbean tax havens, and did not rule out trying to hold a referendum on the controversial matter, according to the Malta Today. In a poll conducted by the paper, a majority of respondents said they did not support selling EU citizenship.

The government defended the plan, which also gives recipients of Maltese citizenship work and residency rights in the rest of the 28-member bloc, saying similar programs were in the works in other EU countries.

In fact, several EU member countries offer residence permits that include the right of movement within the Schengen Area in exchange for steep fees. Using these offers, which circumvent the EU's strict aslyum and immigration rules, the governments of Greece, Spain and Hungary all seek to lure investors from around the world. With the offer of citizenship, the Maltese government is going a step further.

kla -- with wire reports

Article...
  • For reasons of data protection and privacy, your IP address will only be stored if you are a registered user of Facebook and you are currently logged in to the service. For more detailed information, please click on the "i" symbol.
  • Post to other social networks

Comments
Discuss this issue with other readers!
3 total posts
Show all comments
    Page 1    
1. optional
spon-facebook-10000061525 11/13/2013
Seems fair. Other countries are giving it away for free
2. In Portugal too
portugalbatalha 11/13/2013
There is a similar law in Portugal as well
3. In Cyprus too
roger 11/17/2013
Here it links with an investment of the same amount. After 7 years you qualify for EU citizenship
Show all comments
    Page 1    
Keep track of the news

Stay informed with our free news services:

All news from SPIEGEL International
Twitter | RSS
All news from Europe section
RSS

© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2013
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH





European Partners
Presseurop

Politiken

Corriere della Sera

Chamber of Deputies Passes Jobs Act

Gang Boss and Weekend Paramedic


Facebook
Twitter