Approximately 300 millionaires are expected to move to Malta in 2022, joining at least two billionaires already registered on the island, according to one of the world’s largest citizenship brokerage companies.
Henley & Partners made the claim in its latest round of projections on the movement of high net worth individuals for 2022.
In 2013 Henley & Partners signed a 10-year contract with the government to market and process applications for the island's controversial cash-for-passports programme.
The company also says, though it does not specify the source of the information, that Malta has 9,400 high-net-worth individuals on its shores. These are people worth in excess of €1 million.
They include 460 multi-millionaires, 27 people with more than €100 million to their name, and two billionaires.
The data on the Henley Private Wealth Migration Dashboard covers 62 countries in eight regions worldwide and tracks the movement and spending habits of over 150,000 wealthy individuals.
This is managed in the New World Wealth’s database, which the company says is used purely for in-house, statistical studies.
Henley & Partners claim that Malta's portion of the global mega-rich will grow by over 60% over the next decade.
In their latest annual projection, the company says that, while not in the world's top 10 for millionaire inflows in 2022, Malta is forecast to attract hundreds of wealthy investors.
“[Malta] has been one of Europe’s great success stories of the past decade, not just in terms of millionaire migration but also in terms of overall wealth growth."
“Its citizenship by naturalization process has brought substantial new wealth to the island nation and has been credited with propelling Malta’s strong growth in multiple sectors including financial services, IT, and real estate,” the company said.
It lists Malta among ‘the three Ms’, along with Mauritius, and Monaco, which are all expected to attract significant numbers of investors.
Neither of those three, however, make its world top 10 for projected inflows of high-net-worth individuals this year. That list is topped by the United Arab Emirates, which is projected to add 4,000 millionaires to its ranks, followed by Australia (3,500) and Singapore (2,800).
On the flip side, Russia, China, India, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Brazil, the UK, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia are all projected to lose millionaires this year.
Russia will be especially hard-hit, the report projects, with a projected net outflow of 15,000 millionaires.
Those millionaires will have a hard time relocating to Malta, however, with the government having frozen citizenship and residency applications for Russian and Belarussian nationals earlier this year.
Malta cash-for-passports deal
Malta’s lucrative golden passports scheme, originally known as the Individual Investor Programme (IIP), targets high net worth elite seeking easy and uninhibited access to the EU.
It generated more than €800 million for Malta between its launch in 2014 and 2020 and was celebrated by the Labour government as laying golden eggs for the country.
In 2020, Times of Malta had reported that Henley and Partners had earned a total of €36.8 million in commissions since the programme was launched in 2014.
While in office, former prime minister Joseph Muscat would fly thousands of miles, from New York to Singapore and Dubai, to make speeches to millionaires and their agents wanting to buy a Maltese passport at Henley and Partners events.
The sales have been mired in controversy for several years and the scheme is currently the subject of a legal threat from the European Commission.
Brussels believes Malta is violating EU law by selling passports that allow the bearer unrestricted access to the union.
In April, senior government sources said they were mulling phasing out the scheme. The government has not officially commented on the matter.
Since then, a cache of leaked Henley & Partners documents revealed how millionaires looking to buy a Maltese passport would flout the scheme's requirements.