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Golden Passport: Malta’s Cash-for-Visa Scheme Under Scrutiny

Malta is again in the news with the European Union for its “Cash for passport” scheme. This is not the first time when Malta is stuck in such controversy. The clashes started years ago when the E.U. conducted violating proceedings against the country’s ‘Golden Backdoor’ by permitting super-rich individuals to get visas secured under restricted areas in the European Union. 

A document has been leaked by a Journalist that shows what The Guardian calls- “The highly artificial nature of the golden passports scheme” that thanks to the loopholes, permits several applicants paying considerable fees to claim “Nationality based on a genuine link to Malta that may be largely superficial.”

The new reports confirm the European Commission’s suspicions and fears that not only many golden visa holders don’t have links with the country, but the scheme can be exploited for money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption by high-risk people who want entry into the European Union.

Security and the Uber-rich

The commission’s President – Ursula von der Leyen said- “European values are not for sale.” Meanwhile, the Maltese government denies any dealings and argues to reach the final decision over who can get a passport, and the applicants are strictly checked.  
“Super-rich Russians, Saudis, and Chinese have secured unrestricted access to the European Union through a Maltese Cash-for-passports scheme that allows them to spend less than three weeks in the country,” The Guardian reports.

Price For Golden Passport

Reports suggested that the Golden passport or Citizen by investment program can be obtained for about $ 1 million or €432 million in Malta’s 2018 budget.

The Times of Malta has reported that the documents show how much millionaires spend an average of 16 days in Malta during their one-year residence before receiving citizenship.  

In most cases, the applicants spent just a few days in the country to pick up their residence card, open a bank account, and accomplish other requirements. “One individual from the United Arab Emirates arrived in the morning and left within nine hours after having his oath of allegiance”, writes BBC. 

Austria, Turkey, St. Lucia, and other six countries are running citizenship-by-investment programs to provide the opportunity to legally acquire new citizenship simply and quickly, without any disruptions.

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