The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry has welcomed the changes proposed to the Individual Investor Programme (IIP) by Government in Parliament.
The Malta Chamber has been very active in this area too and following a very wide consultation with key stakeholders in this field and its membership, presented its detailed and extensive submissions and recommendations on the Individual Investors Programme in April of this year.
The Chamber said in a statement published on Saturday that it welcomed the inclusion of the 100% increase in the minimum value of the property purchased by the applicant, the mandatory philanthropic donation and the quota limitation to 1500 applications.
The Malta Chamber mentioned that in its document titled ‘Ethical Business Calls for Change’ published in January 2020, made extensive reference to the Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) and the need to seriously review the existing programme.
“While the general quality management of the previous programme, especially in terms of due diligence, was already extensive, the Chamber suggested that there was a need for a clear distinction between the previous IIP scheme and the new programme. For this reason, the Chamber has gone strongly on record that a temporary suspension of the programme was needed until the second version was up and running,” said the Malta Chamber.
The Chamber also notes with satisfaction that the new programme will also include a residency requirement prior to the applicant applying for citizenship. It stated that this will ensure a stronger link between the applicant and the Maltese jurisdiction.
It also mentioned that one missed opportunity in the previous programme was the fact the country did not fully tap into the wider opportunities most of these applicants could have brought in terms of potential investment or expertise to the local economy and social wealth.
Despite the good intentions behind the objective to increase the rental value from the present 16,000 to 18,000 euros per annum, the Chamber said it believes that this will not serve to separate the rental market for IIP investors from that of the average wage earner who usually rents at the same value.
The Chamber also believes that this will only serve to artificially inflate rents for the rest of the rental market and hence prejudice industry competitiveness. Instead, the Chamber had suggested to remove the minimum rental value and replace it with a requirement for a property which is adequate and suitable for the IIP applicant and his/her dependants. These would include family size, location, size and finishing standards of the property.