The Gold Standard: The Growing Appeal of Malta for Investors Worldwide
12th Global Residence and Citizenship Conference
Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, Dubai
4–6 November 2018
Ladies & Gentlemen,
It is an honour for me to be here in Dubai addressing the 2018 edition of the Global Residence and Citizenship Conference.
12 years ago little did we hear about this growing sector; let alone imagine that Malta would be turn out to be a key player, leaving a mark on the industry.
Today Malta has become a household name in the residency and citizenship by investment industry.
We have set the tone – and we have done so in a very short span of time.
Just a few days ago, Henley & Partners, thanks to whom we are here today, classified the Individual Investor Programme as the world’s top-ranking citizenship-by-investment programme.
We received this recognition for the fourth year running.
It was the most recent accolade from a series bestowed upon our flagship programmes.
We are humbled by all these acknowledgements; yet, we feel that we can rightfully boast about them. We claim success by our own right.
Four years ago we dared to dream.
Against all the odds, we embarked on a wonderful journey, which brings us to the point we are at today.
Together with Henley & Partners, our concessionaire, we sat down and designed a winning formula.
This by no means should give the impression that we had an easy ride. To the contrary, we are constantly being challenged on our principles and modus operandi.
However, we know that we are in the right.
Our programme is not foolproof; but it has a lot of safeguards to filter applications, to limit subjectivity and to avoid abuse.
I doubt there is any process in Malta, which is so highly regulated.
The results achieved stemmed from a combination of proactiveness, timeliness and determination.
We were determined to succeed – and will continue being so as we believe in the potential of this industry.
Much has been said about the economic benefits for our country, however the RCBI industry did not simply stimulate our local economy – it has enriched our country; by enhancing our human capital, as well as by bettering our cultural heritage.
Through the Individual Investor Programme and the Residency and Visa Programme, Malta has attracted hundreds of successful high net worth individuals who specifically chose Malta to give a better life to their families and to expand their business opportunities.
Many are baffled how Malta, a small island state in the middle of the Mediterranean, and the smallest EU member state, managed to position itself as an attractive proposition to highfliers from all around the globe.
Malta has all the pull factors in place to attract families and successful entrepreneurs to our shores.
Malta has one of the strongest and most stable economies of the European Union and the Eurozone.
Malta had the highest fiscal surplus in the EU in 2017 and data for first half of 2018 indicates similar trend; even though the results are not dependent on the revenues generated through the IIP and residency and visa programme.
The debt to GDP ratio has fallen from above 70% to around 50% in five years.
Unemployment levels are amongst the lowest in Europe, and at an all-time low in our country – to the extent that we are opening our doors to foreigners in order to fill job opportunities that are being created on a daily basis.
Malta has cut its taxes for its citizens for the last seven years in a row.
My Government has just announced the second budget without imposing any new taxes.
Maltese citizens benefit from:
– universal free healthcare, classified by WHO as one of the best in the world,
– universal free childcare, one of the few countries in the world to provide it; and
– universal free education for all its citizens. Actually, our post-secondary and University students get a stipend while studying.
During the last few years, Malta has witnessed an influx of new foreign direct investment ranging from financial services to highly specialised currency printing, from digital gaming to blockchain companies.
This is all down to our innovative way of doing business.
The IIP and the residency and visa programme provide the key to reputable individuals to be part of our cosmopolitan nation and share our success story.
The success brings a lot of attention and responsibility – and we should never adopt a lax attitude.
We appreciate and understand the concerns surrounding the RCBI industry.
In fact, we have been at the forefront in advocating for the introduction of industry-wide due diligence standards in order to raise the bar.
We also went a step further and called for the sharing of information about rejected applicants so that no one gets through the back door.
There is a lot at stake and we should all pull the same rope for the sake of the thousands of families who depend on this industry, directly or indirectly.
We value the genuine recommendations put forward in reports; and we are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the study that will be published by the European Commission in order to consolidate the residency and citizenship by investment sector.
At the same time, we also have a duty to shed light on the misconceptions that are being conveyed.
People have the right to know the truth – they should have the peace of mind in knowing that we employ the best mechanisms to keep out shady characters.
We should make it clear that none of us want to tarnish the reputation of the industry.
We also have a duty to bring the tangible benefits generated through the RCBI programmes to the fore.
We should speak more about the success stories that we experience on a day-to-day basis.
The next few weeks will be crucial for the future of the citizenship and residency programmes.
We are confident that the industry will keep flourishing and keep providing opportunities for families to enjoy a better life in a more stable country; and for successful entrepreneurs to keep expanding their businesses.
The key to the prosperity of the RCBI industry is in our hands.