Addressing a press conference, Dr Herrera said a legal notice has been published setting out the new residence programme regulations. These would allow third country nationals to gain residence permits against a gradual investment in interest-free government bonds amounting to quarter of a million Euros.
Investors would also have to invest in property worth up to €320,0000, or €270,000 in the south of the island or Gozo. Investors will also have the option to rent a property worth up to €12,000 a year.
Asked if this was a 'residence for sale' scheme, Dr Herrera described the process as offering "residence privileges tied to responsibilities".
"Persons given residence permits will have to meet strict criteria and will have to conduct themselves to a strict code of conduct. We won't allow criminals to remain residents for instance," he said. He said the residence permit will remain in place for as long as the investors maintain their investment.
Asked about the recent residency scandal which saw several hundred permits given out fraudulently, Dr Herrera said this was not his responsibility. He added that he had confidence in the police and the judicial system to weed out any criminal activity.
Identity Malta head Joe Vella Bonnici was not present for the press conference.
Asked what action would be taken to ensure against the recent scandal repeating itself, Dr Herrera said the "security" had virtually been doubled.
Permits, he explained, would only be given out after due diligence was carried out by certified professionals, lawyers, legal procurators and management professionals. This would then be crossed checked by the authorities. Professionals who falsified any applications would have their warrants removed and face legal action.
The scheme also has a Dependency clause which allows spouses, children and other relatives (including parents and grandparents) who may be financially dependent on the applicant to also benefit from residency.
However, Dr Herrera said that once these are no longer reliant on he applicant they would have to enter into a fresh programme to be given their own permit.
Asked how much the government expected to make from the programme, Dr Herrera pointed to countries such as Portugal which made some €1.25 billion from a similar scheme set up in 2012.
Dr Herrera closed the press conference by thanking Opposition deputy leader Mario de Marco who discussed this with the government on behalf of the Opposition.
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