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Title: Naturalisation procedures for immigrants : Malta
Authors: DeBono, Daniela
Keywords: Emigration and immigration law -- Malta
Naturalization -- Malta
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: European University Institute
Citation: DeBono, D. (2013). Naturalisation procedures for immigrants : Malta, EUDO Citizenship, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Florence: European University Institute
Abstract: The Maltese legal regime conferring and regulating citizenship came into being when Malta became an independent state in 1964. This consists of Chapter III of the Constitution of Malta and Chapter 188 of the Laws of Malta, the Matese Citizenship Act. Substantial changes were introduced in reforms in 1989, 2000 and 2007 which brought about a radical change of policy regarding citizenship. These changes, however, were limited to the acquisition of citizenship by registration – primarily through descent and marriage - whereas citizenship by naturalisation remained virtually unchanged. The acquisition of citizenship by naturalisation in Malta is overshadowed by the singular non-reviewable discretion that the Minister enjoys in the decision of each case. The Maltese Citizenship Act lays out general requirements that the applicants need to meet to be eligible for citizenship by naturalisation. The general requirements are rather broad and vague, and in practice there is no systematic assessment of their fulfilment like language tests, and so on. These requirements guarantee eligibility but are non-binding on the Ministerial decision. In practice therefore each case is dealt with on its own merits.
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