The Agency gives due consideration to every element of the application process, with particular focus on due diligence. The process which has been developed and adopted by the Agency has garnered several international positive reviews. This is the result of an open-minded approach and the continuous development of internal processes to ensure that only the rightful applicants make it through the programme. The programme is not about numbers, but more about quality and attracting talent who can prove to add value to the country.
Ultimately, this is what every citizen wants, what every nation wants and what every applicant of high moral standards wants. Individuals will not feel at ease knowing that their own personal safety is compromised, or that they cannot do business properly. It benefits us, but it also benefits the applicant. An application gone wrong can jeopardise the whole industry.
The Different Stages of MIIPA’s Due Diligence Process
The Programme has a four-tier due diligence process, which is considered the most stringent, and of the highest standard, in the industry.
Standard KYC due diligence is carried out by both the Agency and the Agent through databases such as World-Check.
Clearance is obtained from the Police Authorities following thorough checks through several databases, such as Interpol, Europol and others. Any issues encountered at this stage are reported back to the Agency. It must be pointed out that any Third Country National (TCN) applicant or dependant who requires a visa to be able to visit Malta and, therefore, enter the Schengen zone, is to go through the standard Schengen visa application procedures.
A completeness and correctness check of the application is carried out. This identifies anomalies in the application form that highlight any potential risk. Every kind of accompanying documentation submitted to the Agency is checked to ensure that it has been filled in correctly and that the documents are submitted in the proper format, correctly translated, and apostilled or notarised as the case may require. Where documents are missing or not in the correct format, or errors are identified, a request for submission is made to the agent representing the family applying for Maltese citizenship and the application process is paused until everything is in order.
This stage also comprises checks against world-check databases which include searches against major international sanctions, designated and denied persons lists.
The sources of funds and wealth are also reviewed at this stage to ensure that sufficient information and supporting documentation has been provided.
Subsequently, applications are presented during an MIIPA board meeting where a collective decision on the recommendation to be put forward to the Minister for Citizenship is agreed. The Minister’s final decision is then conveyed to the agent by means of either a Letter of Approval in Principle or a Letter of Refusal.
Due diligence within MIIPA is taken very seriously. All employees working in the due diligence section go for an AML course to have a better understanding of what is expected of them. In addition, the employees within this section all have previous experience in either Risk and Compliance or Audit.
Identification and verification
Business and Corporate Affiliations
Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs)
Legal and Regulatory Matters
Relative Impact on the MA's Immediate Network
The six categories of risk mentioned so far are very commonly analysed within the financial sector. However, the seventh category is somewhat bespoke to the industry of CBI and consists of an analysis of the MA’s activities and the relative impact on the MA’s immediate network and society in general. This is to ensure that no stone is left unturned and to enable the team to cover any incidental area, which is deemed essential and was not covered by any of the other previous categories.
Decisions within MIIPA are documented and substantiated with the required rationale, and signed off by the responsible person, to ensure transparency and accountability.
Relative FIAU Guidelines
2nd April 2020
1st April 2020
Consultation Paper on proposed amendments to the PMLFTR and the FIAU Implementing Procedures Part I to implement Technical Recommendations envisaged under the MONEYVAL Mutual Evaluation Report of Malta
25th February 2020
Amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations – S.L. 373.01
7th February 2020
Amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act – Cap 373
24th October 2019
Seminar on the Implementing Procedures Part I – 18 October 2019: Presentations
- The Risk Based Approach – An Overview
- Risk Assessments
- Risk Assessment – Risk Factors & Mitigating Measures
- Geographical Risk, Non-Reputable and High-Risk Jurisdictions
- Identification and Verification Measures
- Beneficial Ownership
- Customer Profile, Nature and Purpose of Business Relationship
- Enhanced Due Diligence on PEPs
- Ongoing Monitoring, Transaction Scrutiny
- MLRO and Outsourcing
3rd October 2019
Guidance Note issued by the Sanctions Monitoring Board on Targeted Financial Sanctions
16th September 2019
FATF Guidance on the Application of the Risk-Based Approach
Malta is the only country that has an independent regulator who scrutinises continuously the Agency’s work and ensures that the right processes and procedures are always stringently implemented in all areas of its operations. The role of the Regulator and the functions of his office is regulated by the provisions of Article 25 of the Maltese Citizenship Act (Cap 188).
Appointed by the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, the Regulator shall provide advice and guidance to the Agency with a view to establish a clear understanding of the procedures, interpretations and any other recommendations to be adopted in the implementation of the Programme. He has the right to access any relevant documentation or information in full, as required, without any exception and at any moment in time for the purposes of the correct implementation and monitoring of the Programme.