Malta's cash-for-passports scheme will be renewed with "more exclusive" eligibility criteria once the current programme ends, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat hinted at a conference in Hong Kong. 

Speaking at the 11th Global Residence and Citizenship Conference, Dr Muscat said the government had a strong mandate to renew the Individual Investor Programme. 

The Hong Kong conference was hosted by Henley & Partners, the citizenship and residence advisory firm contracted to run Malta's IIP scheme. 

READ: Cash-for-passports is not about making money, PM tells Dubai crowd

He insisted Malta was not out to make a sales pitch to interested applicants and that the country did not rely on income for passport sales to prosper. 

Malta's IIP programme, the Prime Minister told attendees, could boast of the world's most rigorous due diligence process and gave investors access to a country with a fast-growing economy that was keen to open up to new technologies. 

He used one such technology, blockchain, as an example of ways in which countries with similar IIP schemes to Malta's could collaborate by sharing due diligence best practices and procedures. 

"Malta will be the first EU member state to have a blockchain strategy and among the first countries in the world to regulate exchanges for cryptocurrencies," he told the conference. "Through such persons, our country is opening up to new opportunities." 

The Hong Kong conference was the second overseas trip Dr Muscat undertook to promote Malta's IIP scheme in 30 days, following a similar conference in Dubai in October. 

Between October 2013 and July of this year, the Prime Minister made 11 overseas trips to promote the sale of Maltese passports.