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March 2, 2023

American Investors Flock to Malta After 2 EU Countries Terminated

Malta, the only remaining EU nation that has an active golden visa programme, has become a high-interest destination for wealthy Americans, as the demand for golden visas and passports to this country has risen by 447 per cent in the last five years.

According to Henley and Partners, Americans have for the first time become the top nationality for most applications filed for golden passports and visas, leaving behind Chinese and Russian nationals, who have been historically holding first positions for most applications submitted, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The golden visa programme enables foreign nationals to obtain temporary residence permits in exchange for investment, and according to experts, Americans’ interest in such programmes has surfaced due to high-net-worth individuals seeking to secure their American lives in the middle of an era when inflation is soaring.

“We see these programs as an insurance policy. We’ve had some billionaires approach us and ask what’s the best place to live if there’s a climate catastrophe, or if there’s another storm, or another global pandemic,” Ezzedeen Soleiman, a managing partner at Latitude Residency & Citizenship, an investor immigration firm, told Insider.

In addition, the global investment expert, Jeff D. Opdyke noted that the social and political unrest as well as the shrinking middle-class phenomenon in the US are major push factors for Americans seeking opportunities in the EU.

Malta’s programme of golden visas, which has had its legal concerns, has attracted former Trump adviser, Peter Thiel, but this programme is coming to an end.

Last week, both Portugal and Ireland decided to end their Residency by Investment programmes, with the latter citing the “appropriateness and suitability of this programme for cultural, social and economic use”.

In addition, Spain is expected to abolish its programme, as it is dealing with a housing crisis, just like its neighbouring country of Portugal.

The EU Golden Visa Programmes include investments that vary between €250,000 (Portugal), and €500,000 for Spain and Greece while Malta has the most expensive investment requirement (€600,000).

Except for Malta, Austria also has an ongoing golden passport opportunity, which allows those that invest $9.5 million in the national economy to obtain citizenship.

According to Mondaq, a total of 5,303 family members have obtained permanent residence permits in Malta since 2016, with the majority of those being Chinese – 90 per cent, followed by Vietnamese (2.9 per cent), Russian (2.6 per cent), South African and Turkish, representing one per cent of all beneficiaries, respectively. Other nationalities made up six per cent of the total.