Towards the end of 2018, Moldova launched one of the exciting citizenship by investment program in Europe. What happened to the program?
Important changes Moldova’s legal framework of investment citizenship came in 2016 when new legislation was drafted to allow acquisition of citizenship by investment (CBI). This was pursuant to the Law No. 1024 of June 2, 2000 on Citizenship of the Republic of Moldova and the Government Decision No. 786 of October 4, 2017 on the acquisition of citizenship by investment, as amended from time to time.
Moldova’s CBI program was developed by the Government of Moldova was launched in Nov 2018 in partnership with its service provider Henley & Partners and the Moldovan Investment Company (MIC). The Regulations allowed passports for only 5,000 individuals and their immediate families will be issued.
Moldova Citizenship by Investment Program is implemented by Public Services Agency of the Republic of Moldova, according to the provisions of the Government Decision no. 786 of 4 October 2017 on the acquisition of citizenship through investment.
Under the CBI investment regulations foreign investors were required to
- Donate €100,000 to Sustainable Fund or
- €250,000 in Real estate or treasury securities.
Agents and due diligence providers were also appointed to strongly vett applicants.
Moldova citizenship by investment scheme projected to bring €1.3 billion euros over next five years contributing significantly to Moldova’s economy and state budget, as well as increase salaries and pensions, create new jobs. The purpose of the Citizenship acquisition program is to strengthen the international perception and competitiveness of the Republic of Moldova in order to attract foreign investments direct in the areas of strategic development established by the Government.
Applicants must pass background checks required to “a good economic and financial reputation” and “did not pose a danger to public order or risk for state security. Citizenship granted was confidential and was not disclosed to public.
Successful candidates can gain Moldovan citizenship within a period of approximately 90 days, provided that the due diligence process can be completed without any hurdles.
Due to increased pressure from EU threatening visa liberalisation regime and financial aid, opposition from political parties citing corruption and money laundering led to the suspension of the scheme in 2019.
EU warned in 2018 in a general statement that EU visa liberalisation “should not be used to attract individual investment in exchange for citizenship
- The First moratorium CBI program for four-months issued on 31 July 2019
- Second moratorium to be extended by two months from 20 December 2019
- Third moratorium was Law no.39 of 28.02.2020 enacted from 20 March 2020 until 1 September 2020
On Sep 20, 2020, the Moldovan Parliament has voted to repeal the Moldova Citizenship by Investment Law. 80 of 101 parliamentarians have supported the initiative. As of this date, no further applications will be received, applications already submitted will continue to be processed.
Media reports suggested in 2019 that the program raised only €545,000 for the Moldova’s state budget after promising €1.3 billion. Further reports revealed 97 investors from Russia, Great Britain, China, Australia, and the US who have filed applications
Acquisition of Moldova Citizenship for Investments (Statistics)
According to GlobalCIT report, based on information from January 2021, 20 applicants and 32 family members have acquired via CBI, with only 5 applicants and 3 family members doing so before the first moratorium at the end of July 2019.
Source: Global CIT