Under a cheeky headline, the Insider noted that wealthy Americans are racing to grab the last golden EU passports before they are all gone.
The Insider reported that wealthy Americans have shown an increased interest in acquiring Maltese passports through the country’s citizenship by investment programme. This programme allows individuals to obtain Maltese citizenship and therefore EU citizenship through a predetermined investment in the country.
Reports suggest that this interest from Americans is due to a fear that the program may be brought to a halt, making it the last opportunity to obtain a “golden passport” in the EU. According to Henley & Partners the rise in inquiries from the US is indeed significant, with a reported 447% increase in 2019.
It is worth noting that citizenship by investment programmes, such as the one in Malta, have faced criticism for allowing wealthy individuals to essentially buy their way into citizenship and therefore access to the benefits of EU membership. Some argue that this undermines the value of citizenship and creates a two-tiered system where only those with significant financial means can enjoy the full benefits of citizenship.
It remains to be seen whether the Maltese citizenship by investment program will be brought to a halt, but the increased interest from wealthy Americans highlights the ongoing debate around the ethics and implications of such programmes.
Malta is the last remaining EU nation still offering citizenship in exchange for predetermined investments.