Identity Malta is to hold a public consultation on an extension of the Citizenship by Investment Scheme, better known as the sale-of-passports scheme.

The authority pointed out that the government has an electoral mandate to extend the scheme. The public consultation will focus on how the scheme can be improved, such as the criteria for eligibility, whether there should be a cap on the number of applicants and what services can be offered to the applicants.

More details at www.konsultazzjoni.gov.mt

To receive a Maltese passport, IIP applicants currently must fork out €650,000 and provide a €150,000 investment in government stocks or bonds, as well as satisfy property requirements and pass Identity Malta due diligence procedures.

Officials figures published by the National Statistics Office showed that the cash-for-passports programme was the single biggest contributor to Malta's budget surplus in 2016.

Read: €163.5m from passport programme turned deficit to surplus

The €164 million raked in from the scheme that year turned what would have been a slight deficit into a €112 million surplus.

Last November, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat hinted at a conference in Hong Kong that the scheme will be renewed with "more exclusive" eligibility criteria once the current programme ends.

Upon its introduction, the scheme had a cap of 1,800 passport sales.

Read: PM accepts Henley & Partners advice to ­sell more passports

Read: €217m from passports’ sale in Development Fund

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