The evaluation of a public consultation process on the extension of the controversial passport sale scheme is in its final stages, the Times of Malta has been told.
The public was asked in January whether applications under the Individual Investor Programme, as the scheme is formally known, should be capped at law or be left to the government’s discretion.
When the scheme was first launched in 2013, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said it would be capped at 1,800 applicants.
Four years down the line, Dr Muscat announced during the lead up to the June 2017 general election that the scheme would be extended.
Critics have lambasted the IIP as being a security risk for the whole of the EU. Identity Malta, the scheme’s administrator, has been keen to downplay such a risk.
Should the scheme be capped at law or left to government’s discretion?
Concerns have also been raised about the scheme contributing towards rising housing prices.
Finance Minister Edward Scicluna has fended off criticism that the government has become dependent on the scheme to balance the Budget.
The government asked in the public consultation if any of the IIP scheme’s requirements should be changed.
Applicants need to make a minimum property purchase of €350,000 or rent a property for €16,000 a year.
The prospective Maltese citizens have to make a €650,000 contribution and purchase government bonds or locally listed securities or equities amounting to no less than €150,000.
The passport scheme has proven to be very popular among Russians.
Activist group Il-Kenniesa launched its own mock consultation process on the scheme last January. They questioned whether an extension should take place.
Opposition leader Adrian Delia, who in 2013 pronounced himself as being against the scheme, has yet to say publicly where the PN stands. He said in May once it had an official stand about the extension, it would be communicated to the public.
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