A young Yemeni woman has become possibly the first person to publicly speak out about buying a Maltese passport, telling the BBC it saved her family from a life of war.
Amar Al-Sadi, 24, fled war-torn Yemen along with her parents and four siblings two years ago on a United Nations evacuation flight.
Unlike other Yemenis who were forced to leave the civil war in their country as refugees, Al-Sadi was fortunate enough to come from a family wealthy enough to afford Maltese citizenship through the Individual Investor Programme.
“I don’t think anyone in the world would want to live that way,” she said. “We were asleep one day and we heard a really big bomb nearby. It was scary. I still have friends in Yemen. They tell me people are dying of cholera. Some of them do try to leave, but they can’t because no one will accept their passports now.”
The Global Passport Index has ranked the Maltese passport as the joint seventh most powerful in the world, along with Czechia and Iceland. The IIP has been ranked as the most powerful citizenship-by-investment scheme in the world – ahead of Bulgaria, Cyprus, and a bunch of Caribbean countries.
“Some [Yemenis] do try to leave, but they can’t because no one will accept their passports now”
Amar Al-Sadi, Maltese citizen
Maltese citizenship comes at a price of €650,000 for the main applicant, plus an additional €25,000 for the applicant’s spouse and each child aged up to 17 and a further €50,000 for each child aged between 17 and 26.
It also requires new Maltese citizens to either buy a property worth at least €350,000 or to rent a property out for at least €16,000 over five years.
The BBC’s interview with Al-Sadi was featured during a feature on Malta’s sale-of-citizenship scheme, which also included a report into how some new Maltese citizens are renting run-down apartments on the cheap without ever stepping foot into them, consequently bloating the rental property market.