Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the new requirements include a total investment of 1.15 million euros ($1.57 million), up from the original 650,000 euros to buy a passport. Now, fast-track Maltese citizens must also make a 350,000-euro property investment and spend another 150,000 euros in bonds or shares for at least five years.
The scheme will be capped at 1,800 passports, Muscat said, and the names of those granted citizenship will be made public -- a concession made earlier as a result of public outcry that Malta would be exposed to citizenship-seekers with ill intentions, such as terrorists. Passports will be granted at the completion of a diligence exercise, which would take between six months and two years.
The leader of the opposition National Party, Simon Susuttil, said he will oppose the scheme when the legal notice is presented next month in parliament, the last hurdle to implementation. But the opposition lacks the numbers to block it. The National Party is against the concept of immediate sale of citizenship and wants a residency requirement of a set number of years.
The Labour government revised the plan after a public opposition and international media attention, but failed to reach any accord with the opposition.
MORE HBJ HEADLINES
Smashed bugs are a drag on jets' fuel efficiency iPhone remains Apple’s cash machine Bellingham airport could see big dip in passengers this year JCPenney builds one of the first shopping apps for Apple Watch For-profit college closes all 28 remaining campuses Burger King posts biggest sales gain in almost a decade
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.