A total of 1,532 main applicants have had their citizenship naturalised under the Individual Investor Programme, also known as the Golden Passport Scheme since the regulations came into force in 2014, Minister for National Security Byron Camilleri said on Wednesday.

In a reply to a parliamentary question by PN MP Ivan Bartolo, who asked for a breakdown of nationalities, Camilleri only said that applicants came from Asia, Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, the Gulf, Africa, the Oceana and the Caribbean. The figure does not include relatives and dependents.

Camilleri added that these applications brought funds that were invested for various purposes including medical and social projects.

According to the last available financial statements, dating back to 2020, the National Development and Social Fund received €27.8 million in revenue from the passports programme, taking the total amount of proceeds since its inception to just under €600 million.

The National Development and Social Fund was set up in 2015 with the aim of using a percentage of the funds generated from selling passports to rich foreigners for public interest projects and initiatives.

During 2020, the total assets of the fund increased by 4.82%, up from €570.58 million in 2019 to €598.10 million in 2020. Total assets included €364.96 million held in foreign and domestic financial investments, €1.48 million in heritage assets and €227.19 million in cash and cash equivalents.

The Maltese passport has dropped one place to joint eighth in a global index ranking the world's most powerful passports. 

It is based on the number of destinations passport holders can access without a prior visa and was drawn up by the country's former cash-for-passports scheme concessionaires, Henley and Partners.

Published annually, the Henley Passport Index for 2022 ranked Malta’s passport as the eighth strongest in the world, down one spot from the seventh place it held last year.

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