Updated - The government is to set up an Individual Investor Programme which will enable eligible persons to buy Maltese citizenship.

The programme, which will form part of the Maltese Citizenship Act, will provide for the granting of citizenship to foreign individuals and families who contribute to the economic development of Malta.

Eligible persons will be required to pay €650,000, and €25,000 for spouses and children.

A Bill amending the Citizenship Act is currently awaiting debate in Parliament.

A government spokesman said the government has initiated a dialogue with the opposition which it hopes will result in consensus based on the national interest.

"In such circumstances, the Government will try to afford every opportunity to the opposition to consider the positive impact that this will have on Malta’s future."