Out of a total of 13 countries investigated, Malta has finished eighth on the recently-published CBI [Citizenship by Investment] Index, as a runner up to Cyprus on the seventh place; the two being the most attractive European countries of all. This makes Malta the second most attractive country for investors seeking citizenship in the region. The report has been published by the Financial Times in association with CS Global Partners.
As the investment dialogue centres around transparency and accountability in 2019, those who apply for citizenship in Malta have to donate to a national fund, invest in bonds on similar instruments, as well as either purchase or rent property in the long run. Additionally, investors are required to visit Malta in person, and they must hold a Schengen visa, the report concludes.
The FT’s CBI index is based on seven pillars and each country is ranked on a scale from one to ten related to each pillar. Malta scored ten for freedom of movement, nine for the standard of living, four for minimum investment outlay, two for mandatory travel or residence, three for citizenship timeline, eight for ease of processing and eight due diligence, according to the scores by the CBI index.
Malta scored high (ten) on the freedom of movement pillar due to being part of the Schengen Area that grants citizens easy travel to 26 countries on total — Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Malta’s positive GDP growth, as well as the robust history of education and a multitude of schooling centres, landed high score (nine) on the standard of living pillar.
Nevertheless, the island nation’s low score (four) for minimum investment outlay was chiefly affected by the present strength of the US dollar against the euro, the report says.
Significant residence and travel requirements led to Malta scoring the lowest (two) on the pillar for mandatory travel or residence. Two separate trips are required to the Mediterranean country — one for providing biometrics and another to take the oath of allegiance —, as well as applicants are required to spend a minimum of 12 months on the island prior to receiving citizenship. This stretches the citizenship timeline to 13 months at least, which landed the island country a score of three on another pillar.
The CBI report reminds that at Malta — along with Bulgaria and Cyprus — has received criticism for its CBI scheme in the European Union lately, which casts some doubt on the continuation of their programmes, therefore Malta scored eight on the ease of processing pillar.
However, in terms of due diligence, Malta scored the maximum ten, which score has been consistent since 2017, the report notes.
“Malta’s extensive travel offerings, high standard of living, well-established processes, and robust due diligence, meant it scored more highly on these pillars than any other European programme with the exception of Austria, which also stood out for freedom of movement and standard of living,” the CBI report says. “As compared to other countries, however, Malta remains the jurisdiction with the most taxing residency and travel obligations, and has one of the longest time frames in which to obtain citizenship,” the report adds.
The whole list and rankings of the investigated countries can be seen below.
- Dominica 91%
- St Kitts and Nevis 89%
- Grenada 87%
- St Lucia 84%
- Antigua and Barbuda 79%
- Vanuatu 78%
- Cyprus 66%
- Malta 65%
- Turkey 61%
- Bulgaria 57%
- Austria 54%
- Cambodia 54%
- Jordan 51%
Pioneered by St Kitts and Nevis 35 years ago, the concept of citizenship by investment for today has become well-known all around the world, enabling wealthy individuals and their families to receive second citizenship, which carries the possibility of a wide array of business opportunities opening up to them.
Since the launch of its scheme in 2014, Malta has become one of the best-known countries in the region for its CBI programme.
The whole report is available for public view — along with publications of the previous year — on the official website of the CBI Index.