Professionals within the citizenship by investment industry know too well that they carry a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.  Agents have to make sure that they do their own due diligence on the applicants to guarantee that they only put forward reputable individuals,  whilst countries have to put monetary interests aside and seek  the best interests of their own jurisdiction and partner countries.  A stringent due diligence framework  is essential to impede security risks. Citizenship by Investment  Units needs to have all the safeguards in place in order to detect any possible abuse of investment migration programmes for money laundering or criminal activity.

The application processing time and  documentation required for each  application are usually very good  indicators of the rigorousness of the  due diligence process for a particular  investment migration programme.  Malta conducts what has been termed as the ‘gold-standard’ of due diligence processes in the industry;  a multi-tiered evidence-based risk matrix that goes into a serious level of detail. The current iteration of the Individual Investor Programme  (IIP) risk matrix consists of multiple levels of risk, across seven categories.  Through this risk matrix, the  IIP has been able to undertake a  more structured risk assessment,  which facilitates a more objective and systematic review of applications.  This ultimately resulted  in case officers being able to conduct a more  thorough risk assessment that facilitates new levels of standardisation,  transparency and integrity,  which will ultimately result in increased levels of trust in the industry.

This level of in-depth  analysis is only possible  because Malta has access  to the required resources  and support to  be able to conduct such  stringent due diligence,  including, the required  monetary budget, the  human resource, the network of service providers, the  techniques and the insight gained  through four years of intense scrutiny  from a number of bodies, including  international media. Like all other operators, the Malta Individual  Investor Programme Agency (MIIPA)  needs to make sure that only reputable individuals are granted citizenship rights to Malta and the EU for the sake of the other citizens. Malta is not after big numbers but after quality applicants.  In fact  approximately  22% of the applications are rejected,  showing that it takes due diligence very seriously.  It will continue to lead and be a  proponent of best practice and governance in the field.  Malta’s aim has always been to carefully select, through the right  checks and balances and a rigorous  due diligence process, the right  global citizens that will see Malta  as their natural home and the place  from where they choose to shape the world of tomorrow.

Jonathan Cardona is the  Chief Executive Officer of the  Malta Individual Investor Programme  Agency (MIIPA). The  Individual Investor Programme is designed to attract global high net worth individuals to  obtain Maltese Citizenship and  who can share their talent, expertise, and business connections.  The IIP is highly regarded and considered to have the best due diligence procedures and in turn, has become the most exclusive and sought-after program in the world.  Jonathan is also an advisor on  EU Affairs to the Prime Minister  of Malta
“ultimately result in increased levels of trust in the industry”

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