月度归档: 2021年4月

“Everybody is Worried About Everything”: Investment Migration People in the News This Week

Investment migration people in the news this week include:

  • Jean François Harvey of Harvey Law Group
  • Aaron Grau of IIUSA
  • Mohammed Asaria of Range Developments
  • Arthur Sarkisian of Astons
  • Inês Azevedo of Azevedo Legal
  • David Lesperance of Lesperance & Associates
  • Professor Dimitry Kochenov
  • Henley & Partners

Financial Times: Hong Kong immigration law change raises ‘exit ban’ fears

“With the national security law and the pandemic, everybody is worried about everything, we are trying to adjust to the new reality in Hong Kong,” Jean-Francois Harvey, ‎an immigration specialist and partner at ‎Harvey Law Group in Hong Kong, said. “We have had two or three calls just today from regular business clients, asking if we should be worried about this.”

Harvey said there were already provisions to get a court order to prevent a person leaving in the context of a business dispute and he did not see the need to include the provision in the amendment.

“If a client is asking me what is the risk of me being unable to leave Hong Kong, I would say I don’t know the risk.”

Arabian Business: Q&A: Is India seeking to tax NRIs in the Gulf?

Arabian Business caught up with Dr Anup P. Shah, one of India’s leading tax advisors – Managing Partner of Pravin P Shah & Co. and Mohammed Asaria, Founder and Managing Director of Range Developments, a leading Caribbean Developer involved in the Citizenship by Investment Sector.

Forbes: Why Stakeholders Want The EB-5 Visa Program Continued

Long-term (five-year) reauthorization would bring stability to Regional Centers and investors, enabling stakeholders to avoid worrying about how long the program will be in place. “Perhaps more impactful, however, is the program’s opportunity to become better,” says Aaron Grau, executive director of Invest in the USA (IIUSA), a not-for-profit industry trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center program. IIUSA advocates for the bill’s reauthorization, while also educating the public and the government about the program’s advantages. “A five-year runway, a Congressional endorsement of the program’s value, gives the program a confirmed seat at the table as Congress begins chewing its way through ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ and the most important matter to the EB-5 community: securing more visas,” Grau adds.

City AM: House prices: Which central London postcodes offer the most open space?

“We know that the arrival of Covid and the lockdowns that followed resulted in homebuyers placing a far greater importance on size and open space when it comes to a property purchase and this has been no different across London’s very top end market,” Arthur Sarkisian, manager director of Astons, told City A.M.

“The availability of this additional open space is likely to be reflected in the price of homes although that’s not to say that you can’t maximise such a feature by thoroughly researching a desired area during the homebuying process,” he added.

Observador: Ministro Cabrita SEA da frente

In her second tirade this year against the Portuguese Borders and Immigration Service (the SEF) – and the man responsible for it, Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita – Portuguese lawyer Inês Azevedo delivers sharp criticism of government dilly-dallying on migration policy, a process she characterizes as a “soap opera”.

Regular IMI columnist David Lesperance received a mention on the podcast of left-wing publication Mother Jones:

Host: “So, what stops the super-wealthy from just moving somewhere else? Where would they go?”

Michael Mechanic: “Well, there’s a lawyer named David Lesperance, and I wrote a little piece, a while back, for Mother Jones about him, and he’s from Canada but he’s actually expatriated to Poland and he specializes in expatriating people from high-tax countries to low-tax countries. He calls them the “golden geese”. And, so, he has helped something like 300 Americans give up their citizenship. At some point, you know, the fear that they’re going to be over-taxed can drive some people out.

Because of “revelations” in Malta, Henley & Partners have appeared in too many articles this week to list each individually, but the BBC version offers a good summary of the spectacle:

BBC: Malta golden passports: ‘Loopholes’ found in citizenship scheme

In a number of cases, applicants spent just days in the country in order to pick up their residency card, open a bank account and fulfil other requirements. One individual from the United Arab Emirates arrived in the morning and left nine hours later, having taken his oath of allegiance.

Another applicant seeking to rent a property through Henley & Partners simply requested the least expensive option that would fulfil the demands of the application process.

The Maltese government has not publicly responded to the investigation. However, it previously defended the scheme.

Professor Dimitry Kochenov appeared on Euronews’ Good Morning Europe, where he discussed Denmark’s new naturalization rules, which he calls a system of “citizenship apartheid”:

Boston Herald: When the taxes move higher, the taxed get moving

David Lesperance, a Canadian-born adviser, said,  “It must be remembered that since the start of the pandemic, many U.S. missions (where one must renounce citizenship) have been closed or operating at a reduced capacity. For example, I recently received an email from the U.S. Embassy in Berne, Switzerland, saying they had a waiting list of 400 people for renunciation appointments … and that is only one of 307 US foreign missions! So, in summary, the rate of expatriation will continue to accelerate dramatically,” he said.

The post “Everybody is Worried About Everything”: Investment Migration People in the News This Week appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Vanuatu Parliament Passes CBI Real Estate Option With Comfortable Margin

Vanuatu’s Parliament this Monday approved long-awaited legislation that will enable the country’s citizenship program to offer a real estate option (REO). The amended Citizenship Act passed the national assembly by 27 to 17 votes.

An explanatory note from the Prime Minister, which accompanied the new legislation, pointed out that this is not the first time a real estate option had been approved for citizenship by investment in Vanuatu:

The Real Estate Option Program (“the REO Program”) was a Program that existed in 2014 but was then repealed by Parliament in 2015. The purpose of this amendment is to reinstate the REO Program under the Act. 

The Prime Minister also appeared to point out that Vanuatu, secluded though it may be from the vagaries of the wider world, did not exist in a competitive vacuum and that devising measures aimed at making the country’s program attractive relative to similar CIPs elsewhere was crucial.

Vanuatu exists within the Global Economy and, to attract the necessary major investments, it must compete with the rest of the world in offering incentives to major investors. Without the assistance of the Government, these major investors will go elsewhere. 

With this in mind the Government has developed a policy to attract both major and minor investors by designating important projects that meet stringent Government imposed conditions as Vanuatu Government Approved Projects (the “VGAP”). 

Beyond hospitality

The statement also indicated Vanuatu may depart from CBI convention by looking beyond hospitality to projects to also develop critical health and education infrastructure.

The overriding consideration with the policy is that all investment facilitated by the policy must provide substantial benefit to Vanuatu in terms of expansion of infrastructure, growth of the economy and increase in employment. In addition, there must be commitment by the major investor to build and expand existing health and education facilities within Vanuatu. 

As the aim of the policy is to maximize economic growth with a focus on providing the necessary infrastructure to cater for growth of the tourism industry, the major investor will only be allowed to sell constructed houses, apartments and condominiums and will be prohibited from selling vacant land. 

A “real estate option” is an agreement that grants the party owning the option (“the optionee”), the exclusive, unrestricted, and irrevocable right to purchase property from the party selling the option (“the optionor”), during the specified period of time that the option is in effect. When an optionee buys a real estate option, he or she buys an exclusive, unrestricted, and irrevocable right and option to purchase a property at a fixed purchase price within a specified option period. 

The advantage of the REO Program is that Vanuatu, like other countries, has a greater potential to attract retired investors or wealthy individuals in the real estate option sector. Its prestige scenic and natural environment is an inherited asset that entices foreign investors and wealthy individuals to come to Vanuatu and seek a place for a peaceful holiday from busy working environments. This investment model enables the investor to tap the real estate market without the responsibilities of managing physical property. 

While Parliament has taken the necessary legislative step to permit the introduction of the REO, the job of formulating detailed requirements – such as which criteria would make a project eligible or minimum investment amounts – falls to the Prime Minister, whose office is also responsible for the Citizenship Commission. The legislation also limits the Commission’s REO application processing time to three months, although similar constraints among other CIPs are regularly flouted without consequence.

Urging prudence in project selection

Vanuatu-based Daniel Agius, a government-designated agent for the Development Support Program (DSP), welcomed the news but pointed out that the degree to which the REO is successful will depend on judicious implementation on the part of the government.

“Citizenship linked to real estate investment is one of the most frequently enquired about options in the international market. However, I hope the government is highly selective and stringent in vetting who it permits to be involved as this moves forward. There are plenty of examples of mismanagement in other REO offerings around the world. If the government is prudent in carefully considering the track record of potential participants in this initiative, it could be a great boost not only for the citizenship program but also for the local economy.”

Agius commented that no additional information on the program was available at this stage but that he understood the government would likely seek expert advice to develop the REO.

More Policy Updates

Post Grid lazy load

Vanuatu’s Parliament this Monday approved, in a 27 to 17 decision – legislation that will enable a CBI real estate option (REO).

Hany Mostafa Moawad has undertaken an extensive Q&A session with Egypt’s newly established citizenship by investment unit.

Russia is changing its mind on minimum investments and plans to open what would be the world’s most generationally inclusive golden visa.


The post Vanuatu Parliament Passes CBI Real Estate Option With Comfortable Margin appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Everything You Need to Know About Egypt’s New Citizenship by Investment Program


On 14 March 2020, the government of Egypt published Parliament Law No. 190, (established in the year 2019), regarding obtaining the Egyptian citizenship through investment. The Egyptian government has established a specialized unit within the office of the Prime Minister, to oversee the entire process of the country’s citizenship by investment program (CIP).

This program is similar to other CIPs across the globe in that there is no residency requirement but also that certain documents and a payment of US$10,000 in government fees are required to start the process.

The list of required documents needed to apply for Egyptian citizenship includes, but is not limited to, the personal documents of the main applicant, spouse(s), and dependents. The main applicant is must provide a clean criminal record and a comprehensive medical report, as well as other documentation related to proof of wealth and source of funds.

The new law lists five different investment options and the associated investment amounts required. In accordance with the regulations established by the Central Bank of Egypt, all investments must be funded by capital transferred from abroad. The transfers should be made in US Dollars.

Investment options

A. Real Estate Investment Option: The investor can purchase one property or more, that must be from a government-owned project, with a minimum investment of US$500,000.

B. Company Establishment Option: An investor may choose to establish a new company in Egypt or invest in a previously established company in Egypt. This option requires a new minimum investment of US$400,000 and the investor must have at least a 40% stake in the company. This is in accordance with the rules and regulations stated in Investment Law No. 72, established in 2017.

C. Donation Option: The investor is required to make a non-refundable contribution to the CIU account in the Central Bank of Egypt, with US$250,000.

If the investor wishes, he may also apply using the Central Bank of Egypt deposit investment program. This program requires the applicant to make one of the following bank deposits:

D. Make a bank deposit of US$750,000, refundable after 5 years, in the Egyptian local currency, without interest.

E. Make a bank deposit of US$1 million, refundable after 3 years, in the Egyptian local currency, without interest.

Q&A with the Egyptian Citizenship by Investment Unit

Last week, we contacted the still-establishing Egyptian Citizenship by Investment Unit, whose official website will be live within a month or two, to obtain answers to central questions regarding the program:

Is it possible to do transfer the investment funds from abroad?

The transfer must be made from abroad. Funds transferred from within the country are not accepted.

Can the applicant’s relatives or friends complete the payment on their behalf from abroad?


Can the transfer be made from a business bank account abroad or must it be made from a personal bank account?

Both are accepted.

Is there an expiry date by which the program will close?


What is the estimated processing time to get the certificates of citizenship and passports?

On average, the whole process should take from 6 to 9 months.

What is the payment sequence for the application? Does the investor pay the required amount first or finish the application and document preparation first?

At first, all required documents are submitted along with the receipt of payment of US$10,000, nonrefundable, for governmental fees. Only once the applicant has received the initial approval are they required to pay the remainder of the required funds.

Does everyone in the family obtain the citizenship at the same time?

The main applicant and minor children below the age of 21 obtain the citizenship at the same time and the spouse after two years.

If the investor obtains citizenship, will they have to renounce their nationality of origin?

No, Egypt recognizes the right to dual nationality.

Bank Deposit Investment Option: Is it possible to take out a loan using the bank deposit as collateral?

Yes, it is possible, but only through a special arrangement with commercial banks.

Once the bank deposit hold period is complete, is it possible to receive the return in USD or in a currency other than the local currency?

No, it will only be issued in the Egyptian local currency.

What about the currency exchange rate?

The prevailing exchange rate will either be the rate at the time of the initiation of the deposit – or – the exchange rate at the time of the holding period completion. Whichever rate is lowest at the time of the deposit withdrawal, will be the rate used in the transaction.

What if the investor does not wish to continue with their bank deposit investment? Is there any sort of penalty?

No, but if the investor has already obtained Egyptian citizenship, they will be required to transition to the Donation Option, by making a non-refundable contribution of US$250,000 in order to maintain their Egyptian citizenship.

Real Estate Investment Option: Is it possible to purchase a plot of land, or is it only built property?

Both are acceptable as long as it’s government-owned.

Should the property be a completed project or is it acceptable to be under construction?

Both options are acceptable, but they must be one of the government-owned projects. It can be a shop, factory, apartment, etc.

If the investor chooses to purchase a property, can it be paid in installments?

In order to be eligible to apply, it is required that the minimum investment amount of US$500,000 be paid in full. If the property’s price is over US$500,000, the applicant can pay the extra amount in installments.

Is there any specific location in which the property should be located?

No, not as long as the property is located in a government-owned real estate project.

Is the sales contract sufficient evidence to prove payment of the funds required?

No, there must also be proof of a bank transfer, made from abroad.

Does the applicant have the right to sell the property?

In order to obtain citizenship, the property must be held for a period of 5 years. After 5 years, the investor has the right to sell the property.

What if the investor wishes to sell their property/land before the 5 years are complete?

If the investor has already obtained Egyptian citizenship, they will be required to transition to the Donation Option, by making a non-refundable contribution of US$250,000 in order to maintain their Egyptian citizenship.

Company Investment Option: Is it a must to establish a new company or is it possible to apply by injecting US$400,000 into an already established company?

Both. The applicant has the choice to invest in a previously established company or to establish a new company. The one requirement in both cases is that the applicant must make a minimum investment of US$400,000 and own at least 40% of the shares in the company.

Is it required to have an Egyptian partner in the company?


Can the funds be used in establishing the company or should it be deposited in the company’s bank account as disposable cash for 5 years?

It should be deposited in the company’s bank account and can be used as funds for the company for a minimum of 5 years.

If the company declares bankruptcy within those 5 years, the investor will be required to transition to the Donation Option, by making a non-refundable contribution of US$250,000 in order to maintain their Egyptian citizenship.

Applicants with an active Egyptian residency: What is the processing time of the application for an investor who already has residency in Egypt for more than 3 years or 5 years?

Applicants who have residency in Egypt will get a faster reply than the average waiting time for an applicant from abroad.

Does the previously established residency of the investor have an impact on the processing time of their application?

It should be noted that the timely manner in which the applicant collects their documentation will, in turn, impact the speed of the processing period.

FAQs Related to the main applicant and his family: Can the Egyptian nationality obtained through investment be inherited?

Yes, it can.

What if the main applicant has more than one spouse?

Any official spouse of the main applicant can be included in the application, and they will obtain Egyptian citizenship 2 years after the main applicant.

Are there any countries whose citizens cannot apply for Egyptian citizenship?

While citizens from all countries can apply for the Egyptian CIP, the government has the right to deny or reject any application at its sole discretion without disclosing the reasoning behind the rejection.

Can parents and/or siblings be included in the application?

No, neither.

If the son(s) of the main applicant obtain citizenship, will they have to enlist in the Egyptian military?


Is there a maximum age for dependent children to be included in the application?

Yes, 21 years old and not married.

More Policy Updates

Post Grid lazy load

Hany Mostafa Moawad has undertaken an extensive Q&A session with Egypt’s newly established citizenship by investment unit.

Russia is changing its mind on minimum investments and plans to open what would be the world’s most generationally inclusive golden visa.

Whereas the MRVP had exclusive marketing partners for different geographical regions, the new MPRP will take a different approach.


The post Everything You Need to Know About Egypt’s New Citizenship by Investment Program appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Immigrating to Ireland to Prepare the Next Generation for Success

Bartra Wealth Advisors

Most immigrants do not pack up and leave their homes in search of a new one only for themselves, but also for their children. We trek the globe in hopes of giving them the best possible life and the brightest future. It is for the future generation that we invest; it is for them that we immigrate. And there is no better place for future generations to grow and prosper than Ireland.

The EU nation is one of the best destinations for high net worth individuals, and for good reason; Ireland has the strongest links to the UK amongst its EU peers, it is the only English-speaking EU country, boasts an extraordinary standard of living, is one of the world’s best tax jurisdictions, and has the infrastructure that allows investors and their future generations to thrive.

What Ireland brings to the table that many countries don’t is the entrepreneurial landscape that allows young talent to flourish. We will guide you through what makes Ireland the optimal option for future generations to fulfill their potential and go beyond it.

Entrepreneurial mindset

Ireland’s tax regime is not its only allure for global businesses and investors; within the country itself lies a deep-seated entrepreneurial mindset that sets the stage for economic growth. The Irish nation, which enjoys an open market with the EU and a Common Travel Agreement with the UK, is perfectly situated for businesses to take full advantage on a global scale.

The country has long been a magnet for top-tier businesses and innovative start-ups, and the elite of the world have noticed. Between the years 2011 and 2019, a whopping 168,652 new businesses registered in Ireland, growing from about 14,000 new businesses in 2011 to a colossal 23,000 in 2019. This trend did not buckle even in 2020, as the third quarter of the pandemic-ravaged year saw 5,477 new businesses register on Irish shores.  

Entrepreneurs in the making

Ireland hasn’t rested on its laurels. The progressive nation has already laid the groundwork for creating a constant stream of highly-skilled, highly-educated entrepreneurs. Its business-focused higher education institutes have invested heavily in mastering the science of business and have afforded students with the tools they need to not only learn but also to create their own business ventures with the backing of accomplished organizations.

Take Trinity College in Dublin as a great example; established in 1592, the institute has centuries of experience in honing its craft and is highly focused on producing the next batch of Musks and Zuckerbergs. Not only does it have a strong curriculum, but it also houses many entrepreneurship accelerators such as Launchbox and Blackstone LaunchPad that help educate students in the art of entrepreneurship and even mentor, coach, assist, and fund student projects and businesses. 

Other institutes, such as University College Cork, NUI Galway, Dublin City University, and others, have similar accelerators in place to help the students of today become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. No other country with a residency by investment program has the same educational structure capable of providing children with the endless possibilities of successfully operating their own business. 

Global Tech Hub

For those looking to master a craft before venturing off on their own, Ireland remains the place to be. Dubbed the Silicon Valley of Europe, Dublin is home to the operations of some of the world’s biggest tech corporations; Google, Apple, Facebook, PayPal, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, AOL, Twitter, Intel, and countless others. The sheer amount of tech companies opening in Dublin has even led to the Grand Canal Docks to become more commonly known as the Silicon Docks, an area where an estimated 7,000 tech professionals ply their trade.

This has made Dublin one of the best places in the world for fresh IT graduates and aspiring tech gurus to learn, hone, and master their trade; maybe eventually opening their own tech company and, as we established previously, Ireland is the best place to do just that. Convenient, isn’t it?

In Ireland, jobs do grow on trees

To label Ireland a hub for tech companies alone is folly. The nation is home to an endless list of global titans of various industries. Corporations like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Accenture, and RyanAir – among others – have created a marketplace full of opportunities for all. The government’s focus on combating unemployment has also paid off, as unemployment rates have historically hovered around 5% (yes, even during the 2020 pandemic). 

Employment rates have steadily grown over the past decade at about 3.5% a year, and it is telling that a nation with a population of 4.9 million reports a workforce of 2.27 million. Add to this that Ireland has the lowest average age in the EU – 33% of the population is under the age of 25 – and you have the makings of a market booming with innovative, highly-skilled, and ambitious workers who can master their craft in some of the best companies the world has to offer.

Immigration to Ireland simpler than ever

As is everything on Irish shores, immigration is an elegantly simple matter thanks to the Irish Immigrant Investor Program (IIP), a highly popular residency by investment program that allows investors and their family members to immigrate to the EU nation hassle-free.

The IIP offers applicants four investment options from which to choose:

  • Enterprise investment of €1 million in an Irish enterprise. This is the most popular option as 81% of all applicants choose it, mainly for all the reasons listed above, the higher chances of approval if invested in a government-preferred sector, and the possibility of a good ROI.
  • Investment fund option in the value of minimum of €1 million 
  • Real Estate Investment Trust investment of €2 million
  • A €500,000 philanthropic donation to a project of public benefit to the arts, sports, health, culture, or education in Ireland.

All investments, except the donation obviously, are held for three years. The process itself takes 4-6 months, and investors only need to stay one day a year to maintain their residency, something which makes this program perfect for those wanting the best for their children, but cannot yet tear themselves away from their own businesses. 

The thought of immigrating to an EU country with free travel to the UK post-Brexit is mouth-watering enough. Add to that the robust infrastructure that allows future generations to not only realize their potential, but to surpass it, and Ireland becomes absolutely unique in every way. If you would like to know more about the IIP contact Bartra Wealth Advisors.

Interested in contributing a sponsored feature? Email us on cn@imidaily.com and see all our promotional options here.

The post Immigrating to Ireland to Prepare the Next Generation for Success appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

The Great Reconfiguration of the Investment Migration Market After COVID-19


Richard Moir and Kristin Surak consider how the pandemic has transformed investor migrants’ preferences.

Centrifugal forces

For practitioners in the investment migration industry, global citizenship  has a precise definition to suit the characteristics of globalization: increased internationalization, mobility, and disposable income, facilitating the financialization and commoditization of citizenship.

The centrifugal forces of globalization, as outlined by John Micklethwait in Future Perfect, have produced a class of individuals called Cosmocrats, much sought-after by jurisdictions and agents offering residency and citizenship by investment programs.

Centripetal forces

The advent of the pandemic and the concomitant restrictions on travel and other freedoms, however, has forced a reassessment of the benefits and costs of internationalism.

Is internationalism a passport to loneliness and to a loss of roots and identity? Covid has led to all manner of existential questions and moral quandaries, including about how to deal with the grief of loved ones dying alone in far-off places. Perhaps parochialism, close-knit family, and good neighbors have benefits after all.

The post-Covid reconfiguration of the investment migration market

According to Professor Kristin Surak of the London School of Economics, the pandemic has forced a revision of the assumptions on which the residency and citizenship by investment industry have heretofore been based. 

As she describes, until 2020 it was presumed that citizenship in a Caribbean country always came with ready entry into Europe. However, the flush of border controls imposed during the pandemic has brought this assumption into question. For much of 2020, a passport from Saint Kitts would not have gained its bearer entry into Spain, for example, but a residence permit secured through Spain’s “golden visa” program would have. 

This shift may change some of the considerations that buyers make and may make some residence programs more desirable than citizenship offerings. 

Furthermore, the new travel restrictions have impacted populations unaccustomed to such barriers. For many years, Professor Surak noted, citizens of countries of the Global North rarely needed to worry about securing the right documents before traveling to other economically successful destinations. 

This changed dramatically during the pandemic, and Americans represented the most salient case of those with traditionally privileged citizenships suddenly feeling unwelcome abroad. At one point, US passport holders had easy entry to about only 85 countries – about the same as citizens of Botswana in a normal year. This change of situation has increased interest among Americans – who still constitute the largest population of millionaires in the world – in ways to secure improved travel possibilities.

Closer to home

Professor Surak describes, moreover, that the demand calculations themselves may be changing. As borders harden, people will begin to look for Plan B locations where they would want to live for a longer period than a mere holiday or use more regularly as a base rather than just a launchpad. Her most recent statistical research on the economic outcomes of the residence by investment programs in the EU finds that investors resemble tourists and businesspeople – not immigrants –  in their logic when selecting options.

The pandemic has brought with it increased medium-term thinking, along with considerations of the quality of health care and overall quality of life – perhaps in places not too far from one’s home base. The result may be a rise in regional preferences, with Americans and Canadians considering Caribbean options and the post-Brexit British looking for ways to retain access to the EU, while Russians might telecommute from the Mediterranean and East Asians spend more time in Thailand and Malaysia.

Desire ≠ demand

The pandemic may have increased demand, Professor Surak explains, but its economic impact will have different effects depending on the wealth band of the buyer. Entrepreneurs with successful businesses that are comparatively smallish in size will take a greater hit than the very rich. 

Indeed, ultra-high net worth individuals have continued to see their wealth expand throughout the pandemic. Thus, if many have now recognized the utility of investment migration options, those in lower wealth bands may wait until the global economy recovers before they have the expendable funds to make the jump. 

And we’re likely to see demand continue to grow in booming Global South economies – places like China, India, and Vietnam, alongside South Africa and Nigeria. For years, countries in the Caribbean have been gradually dropping their prices, producing a “race to the bottom” that may also decrease the total revenue the programs bring to the country. The post-pandemic world might present a supportive context for reversing this trend.

Finally, Professor Surak added, there has been increased interest in investment migration programs outside Global North and its Caribbean neighbors. Turkey now hosts the most popular citizenship by investment program, and – when its program is not on hold – Malaysia outstrips even the US in demand for its residence by investment program. 

As pressure from Brussels mounts within the EU, we may also see countries retool their residence by investment programs into entrepreneurial programs that emphasize business skills when screening investor migrants. But whether or not this occurs, the programs in the Global South may still out-do them in numbers.  

More From Industry Trends

Post Grid lazy load

Richard Moir and Kristin Surak consider how the pandemic has transformed investor migrants’ preferences.

Mohammed Asaria warns of legal action against competitors he says employ “dirty tricks”. Vanuatu assures its Schengen-access is not imperiled.

The UAE says it will naturalize investors. Industry leaders are cautiously optimistic about the new law, and ready to assist in making it a program.


The post The Great Reconfiguration of the Investment Migration Market After COVID-19 appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Malakouti: The Guardian Reaching to Find “Loophole” in Malta


Last Thursday’s The Guardian article titled “Revealed: residency loophole in Malta’s cash-for-passports scheme” only revealed itself to be an overpromising non-exposé. 

More sizzle than steak

The piece’s sensational title fizzles down to the humdrum “discovery” that some applicants to Malta’s citizenship by investment program only spend the minimum amount of time in Malta required by the program in order to satisfy the EU’s “genuine link” requirement [which, in any case, is an illegal argument]. 

Citizenship applicants the world over often complete the minimum statutory requirements to obtain the benefit. Immigration professionals and adjudicators alike know that this is hardly a revelation or a loophole. 

The core problem with The Guardian’s article is that instead of posing the simple but challenging question of whether Malta should be required to demand more physical presence of applicants (the intellectually honest framing of the issue), the article starts at the finish line by strongly implying from the get-go that residency with a “minimal” amount of physical presence is a “loophole” or “sham.” 

It’s a false insinuation that the authors likely employed due to either temptation to sensationalize or lack of understanding.

In fact, residence and physical presence are two separate concepts. Residence requirements for naturalization in some countries require significant physical presence whereas some countries require less or even no minimum statutory physical presence.

Unfortunately, the average The Guardian reader, unaware of this diversity in the world’s residence regimes, may have fallen prey to the article’s insinuating language regarding Malta’s program applicants. 

After all, melodramatic titles with the terms “revealed”, “loophole”, and “cash” sell better than the dry language of sober EU citizenship policy questions. 

The Guardian overreached on this one. 

More Opinion

Post Grid lazy load

Parviz Malakouti: That CBI applicants the world over often complete the minimum statutory requirements to get the benefit is no “revelation”.

Many Americans still harbor serious myths and misunderstandings about alternative residences and citizenships, writes David Lesperance.

İsrafil Kahraman recounts five anecdotes of investors who had their Turkey citizenship applications rejected because of simple mistakes.


The post Malakouti: The Guardian Reaching to Find “Loophole” in Malta appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Busting Americans’ 6 Most Common Myths About 2nd Citizenships and Residences

Reasonable Doubt
With David Lesperance

A contrarian expert on contingency plans for the wealthy delivers uncomfortable truths.

I have often been astounded at how few wealthy Americans (or their advisors) understand the many advantages of acquiring a second passport or establishing an alternative country of residence. Very few have ever really contemplated the potential rewards these tools offer, nor the disadvantages of the status quo. In some ways, that’s understandable because the topic can be pretty esoteric. Especially when you tack on other important topics such as taxation or inheritance-and-succession planning. 

Fortunately, over the last few years, this lack of appreciation has been turning into genuine curiosity, for several reasons: 

  • Previously fringe “Tax the Rich” policies are becoming mainstream – including a possible wealth tax and the recently announced intention to double the capital gains rate;  
  • Covid-19 travel restrictions are bursting the assumption that Americans are free to travel wherever and whenever they want; 
  • The fear of Covid-19 is now strong enough to motivate wealthy Americans to overcome their “life inertia” and move from traditional locations such as New York City and Silicon Valley; and
  • The clear partisan divide and disfunction of American politics is creating growing uncertainty in many spheres.

Unfortunately, many wealthy Americans still harbor some serious myths and misunderstandings about alternative residences and second citizenships. 

In this detailed White Paper, I outline the basic concepts. Here, however, like Adam Savage from MythBusters, I will look closely at six widely-held myths and misconceptions about alternative residences and second citizenships – and bust them. 

I will then lay out the logical reasons why a backup plan that includes an alternative country of residence and/or second citizenship can be a prudent strategy for many affluent Americans. And by replacing myths with a practical strategy, I hope I will provide a framework to help them overcome the understandable emotional resistance they might have.

I know whereof I speak

I grew up in the Canadian border city of Windsor with a father, siblings, and neighbors who worked in the auto industry in Detroit. I always thought it was normal that friends, family, and neighbors were dual Canadian-American citizens. I also understand the deep emotional attachment that Americans have to their US citizenship. For their entire lives, they have been pledging allegiance to the flag; hearing about American exceptionalism, and believing in “a shining city on the hill”. 

The events of the past few years have clearly shaken these previously unquestioned beliefs in the minds of an increasing number of Americans. In reaction, many are looking into the idea of acquiring alternative citizenship and residence for the first time.

Myth 1: The US does not allow dual citizenship.

The US has allowed dual citizenship since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. This fact is sometimes confused by the requirement that when entering the US or within the territory of the US, the presence of the foreign citizenship is ignored. For example, if an American is arrested within the US, they cannot access the diplomatic services of the country of their other citizenship.

It is also worth pointing out that the term “dual citizenship” is a bit of a misnomer. It is commonly used because in most circumstances an individual possesses only two citizenships. However, the correct term is “multiple citizenships”. This term refers to a lack of a limit to the total so long as no one country does not allow its citizens to possess other citizenships.

Myth 2: Lineage citizenships can be acquired quickly and easily.

Throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries, the United States was a destination country for immigration. As a consequence of their heritage, many Americans are actually entitled to citizenship in “the old country”. The rules of qualification differ between each country; some allow citizenship to pass on even from grandparents or great grandparents. In addition, since 1950, Israel has granted citizenship to its Jewish diaspora under the Law of Return

It is important to note that the eligibility rules in this area are constantly expanding and contracting. It is therefore critical not to rely on “common knowledge” or the rules that applied when a friend or family member acquired or was refused their lineage citizenship years before.

Another common mistake is a lack of appreciation of the process and time that it takes to successfully acquire lineage citizenship. I remember one wealthy American who thought that acquiring Irish citizenship would be easy and fast because he had a grandmother who was born in Ireland. Though he was certainly eligible, it would not be as easy as dialing 1-800-I-Am-Irish and having an Irish passport couriered to him. In fact, his application would be in a pile that included every Brit who also had an Irish ancestor and who had applied because of Brexit. 

Since timing can be critically important, especially where a new citizenship is part of a tax plan, it’s best to move forward on these foundational components as soon as possible, as there is virtually no downside. 

Myth 3: Acquisition of another citizenship automatically means tax liability in that country.

The United States deems individuals as “US Persons for Tax Purposes” using a variety of factors including physical presence, resident alien status, and citizenship. Moreover, US taxpayers are subject to US income, capital gains, gift- and estate tax on a worldwide basis.

Most Americans are unaware that the US is the only major country that uses citizenship-based taxation. Every other G20 country looks at physical presence and/or business and personal ties to determine if an individual is a taxpayer in its jurisdiction.

Therefore, the acquisition of another citizenship (with the noticeable exception of Eritrea) does not automatically make a person a taxpayer of that country. Only if the individual uses their citizenship to spend significant time or establish significant ties in the new country do they have to consider the possibility that they will become a taxpayer.

Myth 4: The acquisition of another citizenship or residence is considered “dodgy” or “unpatriotic”.

First off, the US government does not care if you acquire another citizenship whether through lineage, naturalization, or investment. The government considers it a private matter.

Second, only when an individual decides to renounce their US citizenship does the foreign citizenship become relevant, and even then only in two situations: 

  1. when entering the US; and 
  2. when opening and maintaining accounts at US and foreign financial institutions. 

This good news gets better. Those who renounce their US citizenship and seek entry into the US in the future do not automatically need to seek a visa. Whether or not the individual needs a US visa will depend completely upon the passport that they are carrying: 

  • Canadian and Bermudan passport holders do not require a US visa to visit the US; 
  • Citizens of countries on the US Visa Waiver List do not require US visitor visas, so long as they travel in the required fashion; and
  • The US requires all other countries’ nationals to first secure a US visa.  

With regards to the financial accounts, as a result of FATCA, foreign financial institutions need to report, withhold and remit on the accounts of US taxpayers. However, after a US expatriate receives the Certificate of Loss of US Nationality, the financial institution no longer needs to take these steps. 

Of course, when a new account is being opened, the financial institution will undertake their normal “Know Your Client” procedures. In doing KYC and looking at issues such as “source of funds”, the institution will undoubtedly examine the period of time prior to the expatriation. But the post-expatriation citizenship of the potential or existing account holder is actually irrelevant so long as the KYC and source of funds hurdles are cleared. So, clearly, not being an American actually makes life significantly easier for the US expatriates’ financial institution.

Myth 5: The whole family needs to expatriate in order to legally shelter the family wealth from US taxation.

In the vast majority of cases, it is enough for one family member to expatriate. With proper planning and coordination with the family’s other advisors, the family wealth can be properly protected from future US taxation, even upon succession.

Myth 6: An expatriate cannot ever come back to the US

Let’s be 100% clear: Many former Americans continue to visit the US after renunciation. Most seek entry as visitors, while some prefer to acquire some other non-immigrant work visa. 

Many Americans mistakenly cite the 1996 Reed Amendment as a bar for re-entry of US expatriates. However, if you look at the legislation and its history, it is clear that it was never properly implemented. Furthermore, despite several half-hearted attempts to correct the legislation it remains a toothless tiger. 

However, visiting former US citizens do need to be careful to avoid acquiring resident alien status or spending too many days in the US, as that would automatically lead to the presumption that they are “US taxpayers”. Indeed, the loss of this designation was most likely the reason that they renounced US citizenship in the first place. So again, a proper plan, proper execution, and careful monitoring thereafter are essential for former US citizens to continue to garner the advantages of renunciation. 

More From Reasonable Doubt

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Many Americans still harbor serious myths and misunderstandings about alternative residences and citizenships, writes David Lesperance.

David Lesperance is glad to see Chairman Warsal begin to tackle shortcomings in Vanuatu’s CIPs but points out that there’s more work to be done.

David Lesperance: Democrat Senators’ assertions notwithstanding, US citizens are renouncing citizenships at the mere prospect of wealth taxes.


The post Busting Americans’ 6 Most Common Myths About 2nd Citizenships and Residences appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

“I Faced Difficulties Solely Because of My Passport”: 10 on the Weekend – Vrinda Gupta

Ten On The Weekend is a semi-weekly feature in IMI, the concept of which is simple: Each time, we ask the same ten questions of a different industry figure, letting readers get to know the interviewee on a more personal and informal level than they might in an ordinary business setting.

Our guest this weekend is Vrinda Gupta of Vazir Group.

How do you spend your weekends?

I like to spend my weekends with my family and friends and take some time off to relax. I even love to go for hikes whenever I get the chance. I think it is essential to find some time in our busy schedules to do things that help you to rejuvenate. 

What are your top three business goals this year?

Although the global context is not encouraging us to make great plans, I can proudly say that one of 2021’s goals was to expand Vazir Group in India and we can proudly say that we just opened a branch in Chandigarh following our expansion in Delhi.

The other goals involve serving a great number of clients and helping them achieve their immigration dream. Lastly, we would love to host immigration events across the world so that we are able to inform more and more people about the advantages of immigration and dual nationality. 

What’s your biggest business concern right now?

Due to the global pandemic, we face slow processing times from governments, which has caused a lot of delays in the approval of some of our clients’ applications and, of course, this is a concern for us. 

Adding to this, the shutting of borders in many countries has increased the obstacles for us and our clients. 

Which book is on your night-stand right now?

In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust.

How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?

When as an international student I faced difficulties in getting employment solely because of my passport, I realized the value of dual nationality. I saw the same trend in many parts of the world. I realized the kind of opportunities lost due to having only one nationality. Moreover, the need to inform people about the same and of the options they have.

Thereafter I did some research and realized the growth potential of this market and decided to start my venture and expand my family business. 

What was your proudest moment as a service provider?

Every successful immigration case is a proud moment in itself. Every immigration journey is a life-changing experience for our clients and our being part of it makes it very rewarding. At Vazir Group, we believe in helping the client from the moment he steps into our office until he reaches his destination goal in any and every way we can. 

Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?

No doubt the unfortunate cancelation of the Cypriot Citizenship by Investment Program has surprised all of us.

However, the increase in demand for immigration seen across the world and vice versa, the governments accepting an increasing number of immigrants around the world, has been a pleasant surprise for all of us in the industry.

If you could go 10 years back in time, what business decision would you change?

I am afraid I am too young to reply to this question. If we repeat this interview in 15 years, I might have an answer, although if I could go back 10 years in time I would like to choose the right modules and education degrees that would help me be more informed about the industry. 

What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?

I really admire Mr. Marco Mendicino, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship in Canada. This is because of his liberal take on immigration and how he wants to welcome more and more immigrants from all around the world. He sees the necessity for economic growth of a country by attracting foreign talent, skills, and expertise and is taking the right measures to make the process of immigration as easy, open, and hassle-free as possible. 

If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?

I hope to be successfully leading Vazir Group and continuing our expansion everywhere in the world so as to help as many people as possible to start their immigration journey. I would also like to increase the level of knowledge and make more and more people across the world informed about the immigration options they have and how they can advantage of them. 

More From 10 on The Weekend

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Vrinda Gupta says pandemic-related government measures have “caused a lot of delays in approvals for some of our clients.”

Tony Ebraheem worries about CIPs that are short-lived or announced by unofficial bodies, and aims to change that by advising governments himself.

“A typical millennial”, Stephane Tajick says there is no book on his nightstand, only his phone, and that the falling supply of good RCBI programs keeps him up.


The post “I Faced Difficulties Solely Because of My Passport”: 10 on the Weekend – Vrinda Gupta appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Russian Govt. Approves Golden Visa Bill, Will Permit Five Generations in One Application

In May last year, Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (Minek) presented a draft bill that would enable the country to open a residence by investment program, which it indicated it hoped to launch in July 2021.

In November, Minek shared the first detailed plans on investment requirements:

    • Ownership of a Russian company through the investment of at least 15 million rubles (about US$200,000) or, alternatively, ownership of a foreign company operating in Russia through the investment of at least RUB 50 million (about US$650,000). The company must be operational for at least three years [it was not clear whether this meant three years prior to or after the issuance of the residence permit];
    • Investment of RUB 15 million in a Russian business (not necessarily becoming its owner). The company, however, must also exist for at least three years, pay at least 6 million rubles in taxes and employ at least 25 people;
    • The establishment of a Russian company with an initial capital investment of at least RUB 10 million and the employment of 10 Russians.
    • The acquisition of Russian government bonds or real estate worth at least RUB 30 million (just under US$400,000) for three years prior to applying for a residence permit.

This week, Russia’s cabinet approved the bill, but with a few alterations. The government bond option is removed from the list of qualifying investments and the Minister of Economy, Maxim Reshetnikov, appeared to indicate that the minimum investment amounts would now start at RUB 30 million:

“At the moment we are discussing the volume of investments of 30 million rubles. The investor must invest these 30 million in two ways: either he creates a company, and it is very important for us here that these 30 million go to fixed assets, create jobs, or this is a long-term investment in Russian real estate,” the minister told RBC.ru.

In a statement, Minek said it hoped the bill would be adopted by the State Duma during its autumn session (typically in September), aiming to have the program fully operational by the summer of 2022, a year later than what had been envisioned in May last year.

One of the program’s more salient features is its high degree of inclusivity for multi-generational households. According to the prepared bill, qualifying investors would be able to include the following family members in their applications:

  • spouse
  • children
  • spouses of children
  • parents
  • spouses of parents
  • grandparents
  • grandchildren

In other words, a single application could include as many as five generations, a level of inclusivity unmatched by any other major investment migration program.

The Ministry has previously said it expects the program to attract interest primarily from CIS-countries, many of whom are already seasonal residents in the country.

More Policy Updates

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Russia is changing its mind on minimum investments and plans to open what would be the world’s most generationally inclusive golden visa.

Whereas the MRVP had exclusive marketing partners for different geographical regions, the new MPRP will take a different approach.

Kenya’s Investment Authority is drafting legal amendments that would permit a CIP. Its chairman says “there’s really no opposition to it.”


The post Russian Govt. Approves Golden Visa Bill, Will Permit Five Generations in One Application appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Top 10 Investment Migration Programs Approved 100,000+ Investors Just in the Last 4 Years

The number of approvals granted to investor migrants by the ten largest investment migration programs over the last seven years has remained remarkably constant. Although the global total number of approved main applicants has increased steadily during the period, the aggregate number of approvals among the top ten programs – in isolation – vascillated at 27-29,000 for the last four years.

The composition of the top 10 has also been relatively stable for the last seven years: Of the ten largest programs in 2020, half were among the top 10 also in 2014. Five programs – the US EB-5, the Australia BIIP, the Saint Kitts & Nevis CIP, the Portuguese Golden Visa, and the Greek Golden Visa – have been in the top 10 for each of the last seven years, although Greece just barely made the list in 2020.

Latvia, which in 2014 was the world’s fourth-largest investment migration program, has since disappeared from the top 10 altogether and, in recent years, has not even been close to making the cut.

The Greek golden visa, which prior to the pandemic was racing toward the top spot (which, in Europe, it wrested away from Portugal in 2018), saw its fortunes reversed in 2020, as approval volumes fell by nine-tenths.

The US EB-5 program was the undisputedly largest program in the world until 2019, when Malaysia’s M2H program finally overtook it. The Malaysians, however, were only able to hang on to their pole position for a single year before its own government suspended the program, leaving it to Turkey’s astonishingly popular CIP to take the lead in 2020, just two years after launching in earnest. Vanuatu’s DSP, another sharp riser, ranked 7th in its inaugural year on the list.

The UK Tier 1 Investor visa has appeared only once in the top 10 over the last seven years; in 2014, just prior to the program’s doubling of investment minimums, when it approved 1,172 applications.

Note that the figures for Saint Kitts & Nevis’ CIP are based on rough estimates (with an error margin of ± 500 files), while we have no figures for Dominica prior to 2018 nor for Quebec IIP after the same year.

More Intel & Data

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Over the last four years, the number of main applicants approved by just the ten largest programs averaged nearly 28,000 a year.

The pandemic year left an indelible mark on virtually every investment migration program but by no means in equal measure.

Portugal’s property market is among Europe’s most internationalized, which has made its reaction to the pandemic atypical, writes Patricia Casaburi.


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