Malta Offers Citizenship and All Its Perks for a Price – NYTimes.com

One approach to citizenship (the mercenary kind):

As wealthy foreigners rush to get citizenship in Malta under a new program, the residency requirement is taking many forms.

Russians rent high-end villas, then stay in five-star hotels when they visit.

An American financier plans to live in Switzerland but occasionally vacation in Malta.

One Vietnamese businessman, eager to start the clock ticking on the 12-month timetable for residency, sent the necessary paperwork on his private jet to expedite renting a property he had never seen.

“They come twice, once to get a residency card and once to get a passport,” said Mark George Hyzler, an immigration lawyer at a firm here.

Malta’s citizenship program, which offers a passport to those willing to pay 1.2 million euros, about $1.3 million, has been controversial since it was introduced more than a year ago. But the residency requirements, meant to make the program more palatable, are only increasing the consternation among critics, who say the program has resulted in the sale of citizenship to the global 0.1 percent.

“They come twice, once to get a residency card and once to get a passport,” said Mark George Hyzler, an immigration lawyer. Credit Darrin Zammit Lupi for The New York Times

Applicants must show they have rented a property in Malta for 12 months. But they do not necessarily have to spend any time in this Mediterranean island nation, raising the question of what genuine links they are establishing.

“It is questionable how the residency requirement is being applied,” said Tonio Fenech, a member of Malta’s Parliament

Lawyers, accountants and real estate agents say the citizenship program has catapulted Malta onto the radar of the global elite. Applications are pouring in, and the program aims to raise €2 billion, more than a quarter of Malta’s gross domestic product.

Malta Offers Citizenship and All Its Perks for a Price – NYTimes.com.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

One Response to Malta Offers Citizenship and All Its Perks for a Price – NYTimes.com

  1. Pingback: PM Tony Abbott Denies Australia Will Sell Citizenship, Reiterates Refusal Of Asylum | Multicultural Meanderings

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