The Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) slammed in a hard-hitting report released Monday the Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) for failing to properly assess applications for temporary residency granted by the institute through its “major investment immigration” and “specialist immigration” schemes.
The latter scheme is for managerial personnel and specialist and professional qualification holders hired by local employers.
The CCAC says in the report that the institute approved temporary residency applications that did not meet the requirements. The report also says that IPIM staff failed to discover fraudulent conduct by some applicants so that their applications were inappropriately approved.
The CCAC report criticises the institute for its failure to have a stringent mechanism for approving its two temporary residency schemes.
According to the report, the CCAC has continuously received reports and complaints in recent years about alleged irregularities concerning the applications and approvals for the granting of temporary residency based on the institute’s “major investment immigration” scheme and its “specialist immigration” scheme. The report says that the CCAC therefore launched an investigation into the matter in December 2015.
The institute grants approvals for temporary residency for non-locals who plan to “make a major investment” in industrial, tourism and other commercial businesses, as well as for managerial personnel and specialist and professional qualification holders who have been hired by local employers, according to a by-law regulating the two IPIM temporary residency schemes promulgated in 2005.
The CCAC report says that the investment amounts in many of the approved applications under the institute’s “major investment immigration” scheme had been rather low before November 2015 when the institute raised its minimum investment amount to 13 million patacas as reference for assessing and approving temporary residency applications. The report says that many of these investment projects involved traditional businesses such as catering, tourism, trading and construction.
“These investment projects could not fully reflect the significance of the investments and made it difficult to achieve the original objective to promote Macau’s economic development and diversify its industries,” the report says.
Noting that the prices and rentals of real estate in Macau have been relatively high, the report points out that as the investment amounts in many of the approved applications under the institute’s “major investment immigration” scheme were relatively low, a very large percentage of the investment went into real estate.
Concerning applications for temporary residency under the institute’s “specialist immigration” scheme, the report underlines that many of the applicants who were granted temporary residency in Macau rarely stayed in the city or only stayed for a very short period of time every year.
The report says the CCAC discovered that some of the beneficiaries of the scheme even stayed for less than 10 days every year.
According to the report, the CCAC discovered that the business or professional activities of the applicants were not consistent with their job titles as declared in their applications, or they were involved in business or professional activities not related to Macau.
According to the report, the CCAC also discovered in its investigation that some applicants for the “specialist immigration” scheme even obtained temporary residency permits through allegedly fictitious employment contracts.
The report urges the institute to improve its assessment and application procedures for its two temporary residency schemes.