Malta ranks 9th globally on Henley & Partners’ Passport Index in 2019, which means that a total of 182 destinations offer visa-free access to individuals possessing a Maltese passport, according to a press statement published by the Henley.
Similarly to last year, Henley & Partners finds that countries with citizenship-by-investment (CBI) hold strong positions on the index programs. On this note, the report underlines Malta’s 9th position, as well as the 27th and 28th spots of St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda, respectively. Moldova was able to hold its 46th place, with citizens offered access to 122 countries.
Japan is at the 1st place on the Henley Passport Index offering visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations, Singapore and South Korea now are jointly at the 2nd place with access to 189 destinations, while Germany and France are at the 3rd place with a visa-free score of 188.
“The enduring appeal of investment migration programs shows that more and more people are embracing alternative citizenship as the best way to access previously unimagined opportunities and improve their passport power,” says Dr Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners. “Additionally, it is no surprise that countries are increasingly looking to launch CBI programs, which attract talented individuals and bring enormous economic and societal benefits,” he adds.
“For some people, a passport is a portal to the world. For others, it is a barrier to the travel freedom they seek,” Henley & Partners says on its website. Their passport index is considered by many to be one of the most rigorous and sophisticated measures of global access.
“The general spread of open-door policies has the potential to contribute billions to the global economy, as well as create significant employment opportunities around the world,” says Dr Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners and the inventor of the Passport Index concept. “South Korea and the United Arab Emirates’ recent ascent in the rankings are further examples of what happens when countries take a proactive foreign affairs approach, an attitude which significantly benefits their citizens as well as the international community,” he adds.
The Henley Passport Index is based on IATA data, enhanced by extensive in-house research, supported by expert commentary, and updated regularly throughout the year, making it the most robust, credible, and reliable index of its kind, according to the official website of the index.
Citizenship by investment schemes
Malta launched its Malta Individual Investor Programme (IIP) at the beginning of 2014, which is an investment citizenship program. “Successful candidates will be granted citizenship in Malta by a Certificate of Naturalization, which can also be extended to include their families,” the official website of Malta Immigration says. Those who receive citizenship can set up businesses in Malta and have the right of establishment in all 28 EU countries and Switzerland.
Up to the date of publication, as the IIP has received more than 1,000 Malta passport applications on behalf of investors from more than 40 different countries, and submission is still open.
However, lately, controversy has arisen in related to investment by citizenship schemes in the European Commission in general. In January, Věra Jourová, the European Commissioner for Justice said that “the European Commission does not endorse the cash-for-passports scheme”, in reaction to Nationalist Party MEP Roberta Metsola’s question criticising such programmes, the MaltaToday reported.
Beyond Malta, Cyprus, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Portugal also offer such schemes.