The MIIP– a gateway to the EU post-Brexit

| 25 Sep 2019

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As predicted, the process by which the UK will completely do away with its EU membership has been shrouded in uncertainty so far. Several proposals have already fallen short of the expectations placed on them, particularly in the area of immigration. Recently, the UK submitted a Brexit proposal whereby EU citizens living in the UK would be treated as third country nationals and would enjoy fewer rights than those given to British citizens living in the Member States. This proposal was brazenly dismissed as a ‘damp squib’ by MEPs who warned that the deal could be vetoed if the UK does not guarantee that the rights of EU citizens living in the UK will be safeguarded once the UK is no longer part of the EU. 

Although this proposal was immediately quashed, the implications behind it are dire for EU citizens living in the UK. The proposal gives a general impression that EU citizens will no longer be welcome in the UK. On the other side of the spectrum, with 48% of the British population against the prospect of leaving the EU, several are feeling disenfranchised and are exploring the options available to attain European citizenship. 

Whilst there are several who believe that the EU and the UK will manage to agree on a deal whereby EU citizens’ rights are safeguarded and British citizens will continue to enjoy access to the EU in a relationship that is similar to that of the Norwegians and the Swiss, several British citizens living in the EU have long been exploring their options to obtain citizenship of another EU nation as a form of insurance in case the Brexit agreement turns sour. While several are seeking citizenship by descent through their ancestors, investors with no family ties to the EU are looking at Citizenship by Investment Programmes offered by European jurisdictions, namely Malta, Cyprus and Austria.

The Malta Individual Investor Programme - your gateway to European Citizenship post Brexit

The citizenship lawyers at Chetcuti Cauchi have reported a significant influx of queries regarding Maltese citizenship through the Malta Individual Investor Programme from concerned British nationals who wish to secure a permanent link with the EU.

The Malta Individual Investor Programme grants Maltese citizenship (thus EU citizenship) to investors in return for a contribution to the Maltese economy. To be eligible for the programme, an applicant must carry out a €650,000 contribution to the National Social and Development Fund which is aimed at improving the country’s infrastructure, healthcare and other social initiatives. The second requirement is to invest €150,000 in government stocks or bonds, while the third requirement is property investment. Whilst the contribution can be considered as a non-refundable donation, both the bonds and property investment can be redeemed following a period of 5 years, together with the return on investment.

In order to address security concerns and ensure that only individuals of good standing and repute are given Maltese Citizenship, Malta carries out a very thorough due diligence process. In fact, the Maltese Citizenship by Investment Programme ranked first in due diligence in a report carried out by Private Wealth Management (PWM). Our citizenship lawyers at Chetcuti Cauchi work closely with government bodies to ensure that the vetting process is as thorough as possible. So far, Identity Malta has rejected 11 percent of all applicants. A no criminal record policy is also required along with checks against records at the International Criminal Court and Interpol. Our lawyers maintain an outstanding success rate in applications handled which attests to their meticulous approach in due diligence. 

European Citizenship by Investment Programmes - a brief comparison

In comparison with other programmes, the Maltese Individual Investor Programme is the most cost-effective programme and grants Schengen mobility as well as visa-free travel to 168 destinations.  In comparison, whilst both the Cypriot and Austrian programmes grant EU citizenship, Cyprus is not a member of the Schengen area. On the other hand, the Austrian Programme grants economic citizen to investors carrying out a direct business investment of €3 to 10 million in Austria, which makes it the most expensive citizenship by investment programme in the EU.

When weighing one’s options, the Maltese Individual Investor Programme stands out as the ideal option for British expats seeking to secure their rights, irrespective of what the Brexit agreement will hold.

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Key Contacts

Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker

Advocate, Tax Consultant, Licenced Agent, Malta

+356 22056422

Claudia Cilia Buhagiar

Senior Private Client Advisor  

+356 22056124

Julia Tirazona


+356 2205 6409

Pauline Gouder

Senior Residency & Citizenship Executive

+356 22056105

Roberta Anastasi

Senior Private Clients Advisor

+356 22056105