Malta’s Office of the Regulator of the Individual Investor Programme (ORiip) today published its fifth annual report on the country’s citizenship by investment program. All told, the MIIP has now raised more than one billion euros since inception and could have made at least €250 more, were it not for its exceptionally high rates of rejection.
Application volume cooling off
The MIIP raised a total of €260,575,430 between July 1st, 2017 and June 30th, 2018. The lion’s share – north of €162 million – came in the form of contributions, while real estate investment, property leases, bonds, and fees accounted for the remainder.
Overall, revenues are down 39% on the preceding year.
The total reported revenue from the program amounts to €991,887,277 but, taking into account revenues from fees in the first year (for which data is not available) and overall income in the latter six months of 2018 (for which data will only be available next year), it’s safe to say that total FDI accruing from the program is now well north of €1 billion.
Increasingly popular with Asians
Some 62% of applicants were of European origin – by the broadest definition of that term – while Asians made up about a third of applications and constitute the fastest growing contingent of investors in the program.
While raising a billion euros, the MIIP has rejected nearly a quarter of all applicants, passing up on a quarter of a billion (likely more) of FDI, a hefty but probably necessary price to pay for integrity.
During the same period, 266 applicants and 648 of their dependents reached the naturalizations stage. Since inception, nearly three thousand applicants have obtained Maltese citizenship.
MIIP applicants bought 30 million euros worth of real estate during the period, bringing total property investment under the program to slightly more than €100 million.
On average, they spent close to €1.2 million, more three times the required minimum.
The share of participants choosing to purchase rather than lease property, however, has dropped precipitously over the last two years, from one in five to less than one in ten.
Changing gender composition; changing risk appetites
Of note is that applicants’ preference for renting over investing shows a remarkably close negative correlation with the proportion of female applicants, which has grown from 8% in 2015 to 21% today.
The number of service providers now licensed to submit applications has grown steadily since the beginning and currently stands at 159.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 14 years in the United States, China, and Spain.