Under the proposed Citizenship by Investment (Amendment) Act presented to parliament today, the current 35 day residency requirement is to be reduced to only 5 days in the first five years of citizenship. Also a statutory board to oversee the program is to be created in order to strengthen the management of the program and create a buffer between the Citizenship Investment Unit (CIU) and the minister in charge, in this case the Prime Minister. The CIU will report to the new CIP Board.
“The board will serve to provide a ready reference to the unit and speed up the process, thus freeing up ministerial and Cabinet time,” Browne said. He told the parliament that he wanted to prevent himself and other ministers from being subjected to pressure from interests groups.
The Citizenship by Investment (Amendment) Act will allow Browne, as the minister responsible for CIP, to delegate his authority but not his responsibility. “The Prime Minister, also Minister of Finance in this case, will maintain responsibility of the programme,” Browne said.
The CIP Board will consist of five members, appointed by the prime minister, who will serve for a renewable three-year term. Clause four of the amendment streamlines the process of CIP registration allowing the minister, on the recommendation of the Board, the discretion of approving citizenship applications rather than have them subjected to the approval of Cabinet. “It is thought that Cabinet intervention should not be at the level of processing applications given the speed that it is necessary to process them,” Browne said.