It looks like Malta’s Individual Investor Programme, dubbed the cash for passports scheme, might have taken a serious international beating as it was recently slammed in a highly influential Brussels newspaper.

Andrew Rosindell, a Foreign Affairs Committee member had made comments in the Brussels weekly newspaper, Politico, saying that the Individual Investor Programme is a pressing concern the UK must do away with since it easily grants second passports.

Mr. Rosindell was quoted as saying that Malta is now deciding UK immigration policy which may lead to serious security concerns from a criminality perspective since just about anyone can come in freely as an investor. While the UK does welcome second citizenship, the country has stringent laws regarding it since it cannot allow anybody and everybody to own its passport for obvious reasons.

The in-depth feature published in Politico also quoted quite a few European parliamentarians who had opposed Malta’s IIO right from the start. Even though the European parliament had voted against this scheme, it was later approved by the European Commission after negotiating certain terms with the Maltese government disclosing the applicant’s actual links to the country and introducing a 12-month wait time and screening period, for example, before granting citizenship.

A Latvian MEP and former finance minister, Robert Zile, said that citizenship should be earned and not simply awarded to highly influential investors. In addition, he said the scheme may also have helped defy certain sanctions imposed by Europe on Russia. Ironically and interestingly enough, investors seeking Maltese citizenship happen to be of Russian descent.

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