作者: Dishun Marie

Nomad Capitalist Team “from 5 to 50 in 2.5 Years” – 10 on the Weekend: Jovana Vojinovic

Ten On The Weekend is a weekly (-ish) 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 Jovana Vojinovic, Director of Operations at Nomad Capitalist.


How do you spend your weekends?

I don’t have any specific activity that is reserved just for weekends. It can be anything from spending the day in the courtside, doing nothing and enjoying the greenery, to going on road trips or popping to the Montenegrin coast, which is just a 30-minute flight away. Some weekends are completely the opposite; where I would rather enjoy rustling and bustling Belgrade’s restaurants and clubs. 

Almost every Friday I say to myself “no work this weekend”, but I usually catch myself looking into clients’ progress or recording a bunch of audios with some development ideas. 

What are your top three business goals this year?

Expansion, expansion, expansion. 

At Nomad Capitalist, we are, I can freely say, obsessed with researching and developing more programs and services that we can offer to our clients. It can be anything from a good residence program that isn’t widely promoted, to user-friendly banks or easier ways to collect documents.  

The second goal would be extending our client base to new regions. People tend to look at Nomad Capitalist as a US-oriented service provider, but I am proud to say that we have more and more clients from other counties. This wider base of clients made us realize that we should be able to provide 24- hour service to our clients by having teams all around the globe. Most of our team is now in the Central European time zone, or a few hours plus or minus that. We are already looking into hiring and training people in other regions. The COVID era is a bit challenging but it is definitely exciting as it gives a completely new look to Nomad Capitalist. 

As an organization, we are also looking into better diversity of positions within the organization itself, which gives our team members more options for personal and professional growth.  

What’s your biggest business concern right now?

Lockdowns and travel bans. It can really prevent our clients from successfully relocating and achieving their goals. Also, what we have noticed is an increased number of false promises coming from people who would like to use the opportunity of people being scared and barely able to travel, for lucrative deals. It is more common in the banking world, but I have seen some one-of-a-time deals for cheap residence programs. 

Which book is on your nightstand right now?

Istanbul: Memories and the City by O. Pamuk. I love to read books that depict the culture of a nation and its mentality. It helps me understand different people and their reactions. 

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

I have to admit I wasn’t aware of this industry before I started working at Nomad Capitalist. I came to Nomad when I was enrolled in my Master’s studies. It was January, colloquium week, and I accidentally saw the job ad. At that moment, as everything was more interesting to me than actually studying for exams, I opened a job application just to take a look at the questions. I was mind-blown by the questions; they were so unusual and amusing in some way. That is when I said to myself that I would like to work for a company like that. For someone who studied International Relations and Security, this was a big turnaround. I knew a lot about citizenships, economical systems, and the offshore world, but not in this way. 

What was your proudest moment as a service provider?

Oof, it’s very hard to pick just one. There were so many moments when I felt extremely proud to be part of Nomad Capitalist. What I love about Nomad and Andrew is that we celebrate every success, organizational or personal. 

Opening night of Nomad Capitalist Live in Playa del Carmen and seeing 300+ people who came to Mexico in the middle of the pandemic. It was absolutely spectacular. What made me even more proud was that the attendees were very dedicated to each panel and they didn’t cut corners, even though we were on the beach. 

I also feel very proud when my clients receive their passports or ID cards. I am always excited when they are traveling for the first time with their new documents. It is so funny because most people want to know what that traveling will look like with their new documents; if something unusual is going to happen. 

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

I was surprised to see the statistics of the Turkish CIP and the Portuguese GV. 

I was very glad to see that some Caribbean CIPs offered good deals and that they have adjusted their internal rules, specifically related to documentation, and to new life circumstances. Facilitating the documents collection process really ensures that they have a sturdy number of applications. 

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

High school choice. I am 25 years old, so it is not prudent questioning the decisions that I made as a teenager. But even if I would change many things, I would still like to end up in Nomad Capitalist. 

What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?

My mentor, Andrew James Henderson. I admire his dedication and his passion for this industry. One of the rare people that are actually living this lifestyle. 

Besides that, he is a great leader and fuel for Nomad Capitalist. In two and a half years, which is how long I have been in the company, we have increased the number of team members from five to almost 50 and he still makes the time to welcome everyone individually. 

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

I am planning to be with the Nomad Capitalist but with an even larger team and larger client- and audience base than we have today. I am looking forward to encouraging and helping more people to pursue their dream and go where they are treated best. 

More From 10 on The Weekend

Jovana Vojinovic, Director of Operations at Nomad Capitalist, has witnessed the firm’s team grow by an order of magnitude since she started.

Manoj Dalal of M Global says the trend that’s surprised him the most over the last year is the rising interest in passive-income visas.

Viktorija Simulynaite, CEO of Sovereign Man, has first-hand experience with Communism and worries about “governments printing money, going into debt, and taking away freedom.”

 

The post Nomad Capitalist Team “from 5 to 50 in 2.5 Years” – 10 on the Weekend: Jovana Vojinovic appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

A Pragmatic (and Realistic) Approach to EB-5 Regional Center Reauthorization

 

Developing public policy should always yield pragmatic utilitarian outcomes, i.e., the greatest good for the most people. Therefore, to pragmatically reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program (“the Program”) stakeholders must consider the entire EB-5 ecosystem and what is politically possible given everyone’s needs and wants.

The EB-5 ecosystem includes regional centers, immigrant investors and their families, immigration attorneys, and state and local economic leaders. There are others, of course, but these stakeholders have the most to gain (or lose) by reauthorizing the Program. Each stakeholder has their own priorities – many overlap and are critical to the long-term success and growth of the Program while some of them are critical to protecting good-faith investors. However, when balanced against the Program’s survival, its reauthorization, all these items are “wants,” not “needs.” It is not utilitarian, pragmatic, or even realistic to pursue our wants at the expense of our most essential need.  

As we engage in the political process to reestablish the Program, we must be aware of what is politically possible. For example, if doubling the number of EB-5 visas from 10,000 to 20,000 is not politically feasible; if it is a provision that can’t pass political muster among Members of Congress and would drag down the broader reauthorization effort, is it worth insisting on including it in a reauthorization bill?

However, “understanding our political realities” does not mean capitulating or shrinking away from improving the Program beyond a reauthorization. In fact, many Congressional staffers and Members of Congress acknowledge the Program needs reform. Further, many policymakers and their staff want a long-term reauthorization as much as the EB-5 community. The key for them and for the EB-5 community is to find that politically palatable and pragmatic balance of what we all want with what we all need to ultimately assure the Program’s reestablishment and longevity.  

Among the Program reforms and improvements on which policymakers and EB-5 stakeholders agree are integrity reforms to protect investors and hold members of the EB-5 ecosystem accountable. Most also agree that immigrant investors should be permitted judicial review of administrative decisions impacting their applications and immigrant status.

It is likely there are many more items on which we agree. However, that does not mean that those items will be included in a reauthorization package. Politics and perhaps even Congressional schedules may preclude policy items that we know are beneficial. But fighting for them at the expense of everything else accomplished thus far, and worse, at the expense of a reauthorization itself, is foolish.

The EB-5 community still has an opportunity to secure a long-term program with perhaps more than a few badly needed (wanted) improvements and the entire EB-5 ecosystem will reach that goal with prudence and pragmatism.

More Opinion

Aaron Grau argues that some EB-5 regional center program advocates, in their pursuit of an ideal but unfeasible reform package, are risking re-authorization altogether.

130 countries agree to aim for a global minimum corporate tax of 15%, says the G7. Don’t hold your breath, writes David Lesperance.

On a factual and legal basis, the investigation fails to support claims that Vanuatu accepts criminals or money launderers, writes Martin St-Hilaire.

 

The post A Pragmatic (and Realistic) Approach to EB-5 Regional Center Reauthorization appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Podcast: Micha-Rose Emmett – Motherhood, IM in Africa, Regulating IM

Our guest on the Mobility Standard podcast this week was Micha-Rose Emmett, long-time CEO of CS Global Partners. 

We started off on a personal level, by asking questions designed to tell us more about who Micha-Rose is. She answered questions about how she got started in investment migration and the road to where she is today. We discussed some of the issues closest to Micha’s heart – global citizenship, freedom, female empowerment, and so on. She also talked about what it was like becoming a mother while being the CEO of a major company and how she handled that transition.

Micha’s been in investment migration for 15 years already and we wanted to hear if this opportunity for longitudinal observation of the market had led her to draw any conclusions about what macro trends characterize the current chapter of investment migration’s history, and what’s different in the market now compared to in previous chapters.

Born and raised in Namibia and commercially active in Africa for a long time, Micha understands the continent better than most in this business. We wanted to take advantage of that to raise some of the questions we have about investment migration in Africa. What’s next for investment migration in Africa? Is it really the next big market for investment migration or will it remain a continent that just has great potential

We questioned Micha about how we might promote the maturation of the investment migration market. Ours is still a relatively immature line of business. It has low barriers to entry, it’s mostly unregulated, and isn’t capital-intensive. There’s no shortage of practitioners who cut corners or tell half-truths to close a deal. Are there any industries that are similar to, but ahead of, investment migration that we could use as a model or template for industry development? Perhaps one that has had to overcome similar obstacles in the past?

How has Micha’s own company changed as a consequence of the pandemic? What lessons did the pandemic teach her and her colleagues at CS Global? What pandemic impacts, negative and positive, drove organizational changes? Are more of her colleagues working remotely and, if so, does Micha expect them to return to the office? Does she think the world of business travel and conference circuits, as we knew it, will return?

Finally, Micha answered a number of questions from the audience, including whether she will consider entering the Turkey CIP market, what junior career paths are available for those who want to get a start in the investment migration business, and whether dropping company margins and lowered program prices will squeeze companies out of the industry. 

Timestamps
  • 03:38 – Micha’s story: Where did she start and how did she end up running CS Global?
  • 07:47 How becoming a mother changed Micha’s perspective on work, and how she managed the transition.
  • 10:11 – What characterizes the current chapter of investment migration’s history? How is it different from previous chapters?
  • 17:45 – Many investment migration firms are making big bets on the African market. Is that a wise approach? Does Africa really have that much potential?
  • 27:27 – Helping the investment migration industry mature. Is regulation the answer? What are the limits to regulation? What other solutions exist?
  • 40:57 – How has the pandemic changed the way CS Global operates? Are you spending less time in the office or on business trips? Will these adaptations outlast the pandemic?
  • 45:52 – Questions from the audience: How can I get started in investment migration? Will CS Global enter the Turkish market? Will lower program prices and company margins squeeze some firms out of the market?

More Podcast Episodes

Micha-Rose Emmett spoke to us about Africa’s IM market, how motherhood has changed her perspective on IM, how the IM market should be regulated, and much more.

Citizenship by descent, states competing for citizens, and CBI as employee performance bonus are just some of the topics we discussed in the 5th episode of the Mobility Standard.

The Mobility Standard hosts Murat Coskun to understand the future of golden visa investment fund options, in Portugal and beyond.

 

The post Podcast: Micha-Rose Emmett – Motherhood, IM in Africa, Regulating IM appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

15% Min. Global Corporate Tax? Game Theory (and History) Explains Why It Won’t Happen


Reasonable Doubt
With David Lesperance

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


Recently, the media has again been full of headlines about “the end of tax havens”. This is not the first time such proclamations have been made. It was in July 2013 that similar pronouncements were made when the OECD announced its BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) initiative. Eight years later, discussions are still ongoing with no actual implementation date in sight. Is this time different?

In June 2021, the G7 Seven countries signed an agreement to agree on a minimum 15% corporate tax in exchange for not imposing a digital tax on US-based companies. The headlines from the New York Times read “ Finance Leaders Reach Global Tax Deal Aimed at Ending Profit Shifting”. Is this a real change for the future or just more political theatre?

Let’s look at the world as it is and will likely be in the future. This requires us to not abandon history and logic to “find” an outcome we prefer or think is more “fair”.

“Race to the bottom” or to equilibrium?

The purpose of the G7 and subsequent announcements by the G20 and others was to establish a global standard “Minimum Corporate Tax Rate”. The problem is that several countries that use a lower corporate tax rate as a competitive advantage have not signed the G7 or G20 agreements.

It is worth understanding that Corporate Taxation is but one economic benefit that a country can get from a Multinational Corporation (MNC). Others include employment (which increases personal tax revenues while reducing unemployment expenditures); research and development; training of employees; significant property, VAT, and other taxes; local consumer spending by the MNC and the benefits of access to the services and goods that the MNC provides.

Each country’s politicians will decide which mix of economic benefits they feel will get them elected and stay in office. Some politicians (such as those in Ireland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Hungary, etc.) have decided that a lower corporate tax rate is a suitable tradeoff for the other benefits to their local population.

These countries have attracted MNCs through competition by offering tax benefits. However, low corporate tax alone is only part of their competitive advantage. They also offer “rule of law”; an educated workforce; infrastructure of essential legal, financial, and support services; etc. Therefore talk of “race to the bottom” is inaccurate as it takes a myopic single factor into account. If low or zero corporate tax rates were the only consideration, then all MNCs would be based on Pitcairn Island

Rather, a corporate tax rate is simply a part of that country’s offering in a competitive environment. As a result, a lower or higher corporate tax rate is simply one part of a “race to equilibrium”.

What is the Prisoner’s Dilemma and is there a way of overcoming it?

The current question, like that posed by BEPS before it, is whether this latest attempt to bring in a standard global corporate rate (whether 21%, 15%, or 1%) will sink on the reality of the rocks of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. In short, the game theory of the Prisoner’s Dilemma predicts that foreign politicians do not stay in office by catering to the US’ or other foreign country’s domestic agendas to the detriment of their local voters.

Understanding the Prisoner’s Dilemma helps to explain the general lack of international cooperation on a wide variety of global issues. However, if it were a “universal truth”, then there would never be international co-operation on any issue. Yet, international agreements exist on issues ranging from air travel safety to the law of the sea. This is because in some cases, the Infinite Prisoner’s Dilemma game theory results in a breakdown of the normal Prisoner’s Dilemma outcomes.

The Infinite Prisoner’s Dilemma overcomes the selfish outcomes of the Prisoner’s Dilemma by pointing out that the long-term outcomes of cooperation are better for all the prisoners. In this specific case, to move from proposal to reality, every country needs to decide that the success of maintaining a Global Minimum Tax Rate is to their own long-term benefit.

Can the Prisoner’s Dilemma be overcome in the case of a Minimum Global Tax Rate?

To answer this question, it is worthwhile looking at one of the situations where the Infinite Prisoner’s Dilemma overcame the expected outcomes of the Prisoner’s Dilemma: The International Air Transport Association (IATA).

In this case, it was and remains in each country’s domestic best interest to have an agreed minimum standard of air transport safety for their citizens/voters. Having lower standards would not be a vote-getter because there would be no significant offsetting benefits to the local population of attracting elements of the aviation world that would likely result in tragedy either occurring in or emanating from its borders. This is true in both the short-term and long-term.

This situation does not apply in the case of a Global Minimum Corporate Tax Rate. As pointed out above, there are a large number of very attractive immediate economic benefits to be acquired by attracting an MNC with a lower corporate rate. This outcome is reinforced by the reality that most democracies have politicians who are hyper-focused on short-term vs. long-term outcomes. Most democracies have politicians who are already campaigning for the next election before the dust has settled on their recent victory.

When confronted with news that “130 countries have ‘signed on’ to 15% Corporate Minimum Tax Rate”, it is worth pointing out that 130 countries signed onto BEPS over the last eight years. Yet BEPS seems to still be no closer to moving from proposal to reality.

It is easy for a politician to “virtue signal” their agreement to considering an international standard in this area. This is especially true if they are confident that there will never come a day when they will have to actually sign a binding agreement that enforces this standard. To their own voters, they can always say that any proposed policy that is in contradiction is simply to deal with a short-term issue, “while we await international consensus”.

So in conclusion, while there will be many photo-ops for politicians and headlines crowing the end of the “race to the bottom”, the reality is that it is highly unlikely there will be a Minimum Global Corporate Tax Rate anytime soon. Rather, I will confidently predict that, rather than the elimination of a mislabeled “race to the bottom”, international competition for MNCs will continue unabated.

More From Reasonable Doubt

130 countries agree to aim for a global minimum corporate tax of 15%, says the G7. Don’t hold your breath, writes David Lesperance.

US consulates haven’t been taking renunciation appointments for over a year, ostensibly because of COVID. David Lesperance isn’t buying it.

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

 

The post 15% Min. Global Corporate Tax? Game Theory (and History) Explains Why It Won’t Happen appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Clear Answers to All the Questions You Have About EB-5 Right Now

Matthew Galati
Philadelphia/Malaga


For the uninitiated, the EB-5 visa program may seem impossible to understand. Conditional residency? Targeted Employment Areas? Visa retrogression? Redeployment? What is all that about? The EB-5 program’s most basic concepts are really, really complicated; and that’s when things are stable.

But for the past month, things have been far from stable. A major court case invalidated comprehensive regulatory reform (at least for now). The “Regional Center” branch of the EB-5 visa program has also lapsed. Just what does all this mean? In this piece, I will try to explain where things are and perhaps where they are going.

Is EB-5 dead? What is this lapse thing?

EB-5 is far from dead, but where we are isn’t great. The program was created in the Immigration Act of 1990 and originally required direct investor-employer to employee job creation (we like to call this “Direct EB-5”). It wasn’t terribly popular.

However, in 1992, the US Congress created the “Immigrant Investor Pilot Program” in order to encourage greater immigrant investment in a range of business and economic development opportunities sponsored by designated entities called “Regional Centers.” Although we dropped the word “Pilot” about nine years ago, the Regional Center EB-5 visa program (we will call this the “RC Program”) is subject to continued renewal by the U.S. Congress.

The latest renewal of the RC Program needed to happen before June 30, 2021. It failed. Accordingly, we call this a “lapse” of authorization. The last time this happened was in December 2018 – January 2019, albeit arising in a very different context as the RC Program authorization was tied to legislation to fund the entire federal government. The 2018 legislation had failed in a very different context and the RC Program was reauthorized only when there was overwhelming pressure against the White House as basic governmental functions ceased. 

The current lapse is unique in recent EB-5 history because it is not tied to any other legislation or government funding that must be passed in order to keep the US government working. 

What’s a Direct EB-5 and why isn’t it as popular as regional center investment?

According to Fiscal Year 2020 statistics, over 91% of visas issued in the EB-5 program went to RC investors and their families. Direct EB-5 has never been that popular at any point in the program’s recent history. Remember that the “centerpiece of the EB-5 Program is the creation of jobs.” The quintessential difference between the RC Program and Direct EB-5 is how the requisite 10 full-time jobs can be created and evidenced by the investor. 

In the RC Program context, an investor can receive credit for indirect job creation, generally measured by “reasonable methodologies”, essentially economic modeling. For example, if a project spends X number of dollars on economic activity (e.g., construction), then an economist’s model can credit the project’s EB-5 investors with Y number of jobs. Job creation, therefore, is measured by the application of one of several input-out economic models generally accepted by the government. So long as Y divided by 10 is larger than the number of EB-5 investors in the project, then all should expect approvals and Green Cards.

The approach is different for Direct EB-5, as mentioned above. In Direct EB-5, an EB-5 investor’s investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs in an employer-employee context, whereby workers are hired by the EB-5 enterprise and must work a minimum of 35 hours a week. This of course is much harder to scale and does not fit popular industries such as real estate development where the vast majority of workers are employed by third-party service providers retained to build and administer a project (e.g., architects, general contractors). 

For example, think of a shopping mall. While a particular retail store inside the mall might qualify for Direct EB-5 through the hiring of the 10 new workers to sell its wares, the developer of the mall will probably not hire anyone except maybe perhaps general mall administration. Job creation by its tenants and security or sanitation contractors would not count for Direct EB-5 because the EB-5 investors that invested in the developer’s project are not employing the retail workers. Those workers are on the payroll of totally independent entities.

Necessarily then, developers have utilized the RC Program to market EB-5 to investors around the world. While it is true that Direct EB-5 can pool multiple investors into a project (a manufacturing facility would be an excellent opportunity for this), it is simply much more difficult to scale. Most Direct EB-5 investors are hands-on entrepreneurs themselves, seeking to own and operate their own businesses.

When is the Regional Center Program coming back?

As of right now, nobody knows for sure. The Senate is in session until August 9, then takes around a one-month break. There are several must-pass bills that reauthorization legislation could be tied into, such as the historically viable omnibus funding bill that needs to pass on or before September 30th. Several other temporarily authorized immigration programs relating to the verification of employees, placement of foreign medical doctors to underserved areas, and relating to religious workers also expire on September 30th. RC Program reauthorization has historically been included with those programs and could be re-attached.

Standalone legislation might also be possible, but similar efforts had failed in June 2021 and it remains unclear whether such standalone efforts could pass if brought to unanimous consent or a floor vote.

What happens to people with immigration plans that are pending?

Direct EB-5 investors and their families are wholly unaffected by the RC lapse. If anything, they should expect to see their processing times accelerate rapidly, although whether that will materialize remains to be seen. The government is also accepting new Direct EB-5 investors’ filings in all contexts.

Further, RC investors and their families that already have Conditional Green Cards are also unaffected. The US government continues to adjudicate petitions to obtain non-conditional Green Cards in the normal course. Several of our firm’s clients received approvals in July.

However, the government’s guidance indicates that no new RC-related filings will be accepted for processing, except for very minor amendments to Regional Center administration. This includes not only new RC Program investors starting the EB-5 process by filing new I-526 petitions but also RC investors who have approved I-526 petitions and are seeking conditional Green Cards to be processed within the US, which is known as “Adjustment of Status”. 

The treatment of investors with approved I-526 Petitions outside of the US – those seeking conditional Green Cards/Immigrant Visas at consulates abroad – is a bit more nuanced. The Department of State is signaling that it will continue to process visa applications up until the point of holding interviews but will eventually cancel interviews since visas are currently unavailable during the “lapse.” However, several of our firm’s clients are scheduled for interviews as early as tomorrow. This may simply be a bureaucratic left hand not realizing what the right one is doing. 

Essentially, those RC investors with pending I-526 Petitions or Adjustment of Status applications are on pause. The guidance indicates that the Government “will not act on any pending petition or application of these form types that is dependent on the lapsed statutory authority until further notice.” 

Is it true the minimum investment amount is back to $500,000/$1,000,000?

Yes, for now at least. The court’s decision in the Behring Regional Center lawsuit which invalidated Nov. 2019 regulations that raised the minimum investment amounts remains the law of the land. The Government has issued guidance that it will “apply the EB-5 regulations that were in effect before the rule was finalized […] including […] the required standard minimum investment amount of $1 million and the minimum investment amount for investment in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) of $500,000.”

Will it go back to $900,000/$1,800,000?  

Perhaps. The Government says it is considering the decision. It has 60 days from the date of the judgment issued on June 22, 2021 (so that should be August 23, 2021, as the general deadline falls on a Saturday) to file an appeal. An appellate court could stay (pause) the outcome of a decision, reverse it, or uphold it.

Nevertheless, the Government could issue new regulations. Or, perhaps as part of reauthorization, Congress will raise the minimum investment amounts. Their next move is anyone’s guess.

The post Clear Answers to All the Questions You Have About EB-5 Right Now appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

“My Only Marketing Channel is Twitter”: Investment Migration People in the News This Week

Investment migration in the news this week include:

  • Katie “The Russian” Ananina of Plan B Passport
  • David Lesperance of Lesperance & Associates
  • Fiona McEntee of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
  • Ronald Warsal of the Vanuatu Citizenship Commission
  • Floyd Mera of the Vanuatu Financial Intelligence Unit
  • Dominic Volek and Juerg Steffen of Henley & Partners
  • Cyrus D. Mehta of Cyrus D. Mehta & Partners PLLC

Katie “The Russian” Ananina, founder of Plan B Passport, made a big splash in a number of mainstream media outlets over the last week.

  • CNBC: This company sells passports to Americans looking for a tax break on their bitcoin profits:

    “It’s basically a donation into the sustainable growth fund of the country,” she said. “So, clients make a $100,000 or $150,000 donation, plus some due diligence fees, government fees, and then $20,000 for my legal fees.”

    Typically, families opt for Saint Kitts, while Saint Lucia is the most popular program for single applicants, because it’s one of the cheaper destinations and has a decently quick application turnaround time.

    Business has never been better, according to Ananina.

    “My only marketing channel is Twitter,” she said. “I literally do not spend a single penny, but I’m booked out three weeks ahead on consultation calls.”

  • Fox Business: Company claims to offer bitcoin, crypto tax relief through passport

    Ananina told Varney that in order for people to avoid paying taxes on cryptocurrencies using her company “you would have to become a non-tax resident of the country you are currently a citizen of,” which she acknowledged is “really hard” to do in the United States.  

    “The United States has a unique feature to its passport called ‘citizenship-based taxation,’ which means if a United States citizen resides in a foreign country, it will still be necessary to file taxes in the United States,” she explained.  

    Ananina  clarified that whoever buys a passport from her must live in one of the seven nations or “maintain a nontax residency status” in order to “take advantage of the tax regime those nations provide.” 


David Lesperance, author of the Reasonable Doubt column here on IMI, pens an op-ed in InvestmentNews in which he explores a textbook example of his trademark Backup Plans from real-life.

InvestmentNews: 3 steps to prepare wealthy clients for higher tax rates

As it turns out, on the day after my client’s expatriation, President Biden announced a proposed increase in the top federal capital gains rate from 23.8% to 43.4%. Later in President Biden’s Green Book, the administration suggested the applicable date for this increase would be April 28, 2021. This means that should this rate increase and implementation date become law, the client just avoided an increased tax obligation of $39.2 million! Compared to the potential hit to his fiscal house, the “premium” that he paid in investing in fire prevention, insurance and an escape plan was minuscule.

David also made an appearance in CNBC’s How the IRS is trying to nail crypto tax dodgers:

“Crypto gains are being taxed as any other type of gain in assets, either at long-term capital gains or ordinary rates. President Biden has proposed to eliminate the difference between the two,” said David Lesperance, a Toronto-based attorney who specializes in relocating the rich. 

Lesperance told CNBC the proposal would also function retroactively and apply to any transactions which took place after April 28, 2020. 

“This translates into $19,800 in increased capital gains tax for each $100,000 in capital appreciation of crypto,” he said.

Amid the rising crypto crackdown here in the U.S., Lesperance has helped clients to expatriate in order to ditch their tax burden altogether. 

“By exercising a properly executed expatriation strategy, the first $750,000 in capital appreciation is tax-free and the individual can organize themselves to pay no U.S. tax at all in the future,” he said. 

But Lesperance warned that taxpayers need to move fast. “The runway to execute this strategy is very short,” he said.

Many of Lesperance’s comments were reproduced also in International Business Times’ Biden and IRS To Crack Down On Crypto Tax Dodgers


Times of India: US bid to attract talent: ‘Specific visa needed for startup founders,’ says Fiona McEntee

“[…] The existing visa options do not readily accommodate the startup entrepreneur for many reasons, the least of which includes the fact that they were all created over 30 years ago well before we had the internet on our phones, and before social media and apps,” reads a statement by Fiona McEntee, immigration attorney and chairperson, media advocacy committee at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), which was placed on record by the House subcommittee panel.


The Guardian last week ran a four-part series on Vanuatu citizenship by investment, which, as Martin St-Helier pointed out, did not do a good job of substantiating its claims. The Guardian quoted a number of Vanuatu officials.

The Guardian: Citizenship for sale: fugitives, politicians and disgraced businesspeople buying Vanuatu passports

In response to these concerns, Ronald Warsal, the chairman of the Vanuatu Citizenship Office and Commission, said: “Vanuatu is a signatory to … most internationally sanctioned treaties and has ratified such treaties in recent years prohibiting transnational criminal syndicates to operate within its [jurisdiction] and as such, it is hard for international criminal syndicates to establish a base in Vanuatu.” He also said the country required checks before allowing a legal change of name.

[…]

In response to the Guardian’s inquiries about the individuals, Floyd Mera, the director of Vanuatu’s Financial Intelligence Unit, said: “Reading your list, most have allegations, pending investigations and ongoing court proceedings. A few have cases against them only after obtaining Vanuatu citizenship … If there are substantial convictions against any of these names, their citizenship may be revoked.”

He added: “Going forward, the FIU will conduct enhanced checks on the names provided in your list. If any of these persons have criminal convictions, FIU will promptly inform Citizenship Office of the updated information.”

[…]

Warsal, of Vanuatu’s Citizenship Office and Commission, said: “Abdul Rahman Khiti’s application was lodged prior to sanctions on a number of his business and by the time his application came before the screening committee and the FIU there was no adverse finding against him and the commission approved his application.”


New Zealand Herald: New Zealand passport pandemic proof in Henley power rankings

“Australia and New Zealand has been ranked amongst the top three investment migration host countries in terms of health management and risk readiness,” said Dominic Volek Group Head of Private Clients.

Quarantine efficiency was seen as a big factor in ranking the New Zealand passport as the second most pandemic proof nationality.

Chief executive Juerg Steffen expects both travel disruption and increasing demand for investment passports to continue. Since the outbreak of the Pandemic last year the company has seen an increased interest for dual citizenship by investment or by ancestry “as a means to mitigate volatility and reduce their exposure to risk at a national, a regional, and global level.”


Times of India: US court quashes plea to exclude family members from EB-5 annual visa quota

Cyrus D. Mehta, a New York based immigration attorney told TOI that, “A provision in the INA – section 203(d), could be interpreted to not count family members. Although the case involved plaintiffs who limited their argument to the EB-5 cap for investor green cards, this case will cast a pall on additional lawsuits by plaintiffs making the same argument under other employment family categories.”

The post “My Only Marketing Channel is Twitter”: Investment Migration People in the News This Week appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Investing in South Montenegro; All You Need to Know

The term hidden gem is often overused in everyday language, but in the context of international investments, finding a hidden gem opportunity for property ownership can have profound effects, not only on your investment, but also on your lifestyle; introducing Montenegro’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI). 

This boutique country in the south Adriatic often grabs headlines for its ensuing EU accession and picturesque coastlines, but in reality, offers so much more. Though small in terms of population, the nation boasts fantastic infrastructure and a booming real estate market, with its prized coast attracting both regional and foreign investment for many years.

Investment activity peaks in the Bay of Kotor, otherwise referred to as the golden triangle, where a whopping five billion Euros of investments have transformed this area of outstanding natural beauty into an even more extraordinary investment location. As a catalyst for development and growth, the Bay of Kotor has welcomed a number of luxury developments over the years, most famously, Porto Montenegro, where property prices per square metre skyrocketed by 62% between 2009-2019. 

That said, appreciation rates on the whole have rapidly grown in the whole of in Montenegro, with prices growing by a whopping 21% between 2017-2019, while property resale prices have increased by 25%. Sound tempting? 

The Golden Triangle 

The Bay of Kotor, a UNESCO-protected heritage site, is a smart move for any investor. As one of the most highly sought-after tourism and residential locations in the Adriatic and wider Mediterranean region, Boka, as it is locally known, brings unlimited potential with no clear peak in sight. 

At the heart of the bay lies Porto Montenegro, a high-luxury residential and retail village with a world-class marina and a 450-berth capacity, making it the flagship development of the Bay of Kotor. Owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai, this world-class project has helped transform the Bay of Kotor into a high-end tourism destination, attracting brands from across the luxury hospitality and real estate industry. Today, Montenegro is home to resorts such as One&Only, The Chedi and Regent, coupled with state-of-the-art marinas housing some of the largest superyachts afloat. 

The Bay of Kotor’s infrastructure is now second to none, while haute cuisine takes centre stage as residents and tourists enjoy a lifestyle of grandeur and gastronomy. 

Porto Montenegro – A life less ordinary in the Bay of Kotor

Porto Montenegro became the catalyst for a brighter future for this small European nation, with an age-old vision to create a hub for the elite, their superyachts and facilitate high-end lifestyles. This exceptionally placed development quickly attracted the attention of international media outlets, marking Porto Montenegro as the Mediterranean’s most refined and endeavored waterfront address. 

As more international on-lookers drew their attention to the development, many of the elite invested in getaway units, second homes and investment properties, attracted by Montenegro’s financial benefits and the developer’s credible track record. 

A place to call home, Porto Montenegro offers a lifestyle of countless activities, high-end dining and even accommodates the youngest members of the family, with educational institutions such as the Knightsbridge Schools International offering the International Baccalaureate programme to children aged 3-18 years.

Boka Place – a thriving new neighbourhood

At the very entrance of Porto Montenegro, a stunning new mixed-use development becomes the village newcomer, overlooking the bay waters and featuring unique community, a buzzing wellness and fitness concept, and exquisite dining opportunities, as well as SIRO – immersive lifestyle experiences by Kerzner International. 

The meticulously designed courtyard features retail and dining outlets, botanical gardens and water fountains, with backstreets leading one way to a state-of-the-art fitness centre and an impressive multiplex Cinema, and the other way, to the mainstream Porto Montenegro south village. 

Its proximity to three international airports and access to Mediterranean cruising grounds makes Boka Place a highly-sought investment attraction, couple with first-class amenities and robust infrastructure, adding to property value and resale potential.

The complex, due for completion by 2023, offers investors a selection of private or hotel-managed residences, the latter of which form part of the qualifying residence portfolio for Montenegro’s Citizenship by Investment programme.

Boka Place & CBIP

Those investors meeting the 450,000 Euro investment threshold by purchasing units from SIROs portfolio of 144 available apartments are eligible to apply for Montenegro’s CBI and gain European citizenship for themselves and their family members. Investors can choose from a number of hotel-managed residences, including:

  • Studios from €190,000
  • One-bedroom apartments from €300,000
  • Two-bedroom apartments from €470,000
  • Three-bedroom apartments from €950,000
  • Penthouses (POA)
The clock is ticking

With Montenegro’s CBI open until the end of 2021, those looking to apply must complete their applications in the next 6 months and thanks to Porto Montenegro’s collaboration with trusted, government-approved law firms to ensure a seamless process for clients, investors can rest assured that their applications will be fully supported from start to finish. 

For further information please enquire via +382 32 660 700, bokaplace@portomontenegro.com or submit your request directly via developer’s website. 

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

The post Investing in South Montenegro; All You Need to Know appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

More Feelings Than Facts: Commentary on The Guardian’s Vanuatu Passport Series

 

Like many other countries around the world – big and small, rich and poor – the Southwest Pacific island nation of Vanuatu operates a Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme wherein applicants get a passport in exchange for a sizable investment in the country’s economy. Revenue from the programme, now in its fourth year, currently amounts to a third of all government income that it desperately uses to fund essential services, especially since COVID has deprived it of much-needed tourism revenue.

On July 15, UK newspaper The Guardian ran an “investigation” on Vanuatu’s CBI programme, where it combed through the list of new passport holders to find disreputable characters and, thus, denounce the programme as dangerously light on vetting applicants.

Among them was an Australian ex-biker-gang member, a former provincial governor under the Assad regime in Syria, and other “fugitives, politicians and disgraced business people.” While there’s nothing wrong with being a politician or a businessperson, the newspaper alleged that some of these individuals obtained Vanuatu citizenship while “accused of” wrongdoing. 

Contacted by the journalists, Floyd Mera, the director of Vanuatu’s Financial Intelligence Unit, commented that all he saw in The Guardian‘s line-up of unsavoury characters were “allegations, pending investigations and ongoing court proceedings,” and a few had active cases against them only after they had obtained their Vanuatu passport. He went on to say that any substantial conviction against any of these people would get their citizenship revoked in keeping with Vanuatu’s CBI rules, and he promised to take another look at the persons cited in the articles.

So when The Guardian states, “Vanuatu was selling passports to individuals with links to fraud or sanctions and others who were sought by police in their home countries,” the actual meaning of those words is somewhat distorted because none of the applicants listed have been found to have criminal/conviction records during the vetting process. And sanctions from one single nation do not have the same influence as internationally-agreed sanctions from the U.N., which indeed would be a dealbreaker.

Taking the moral high ground

On a factual, legal, documented basis, the investigation fails to support the claim that Vanuatu’s CBI programme (a more apt terminology than “selling passports”) accepts criminals or money launderers. 

But writing for a newspaper is about telling stories, and stories need both information and emotion to engage readers. 

On the emotional side of The Guardian‘s stories, there’s a recurring theme that Vanuatu granting citizenship in exchange for money is inherently a bad thing in itself, and that the alleged actions of these people are just the symptom of a much deeper concern. 

Deeming the CBI programme “highly controversial” without much demonstration beyond these alleged, yet-to-be-convicted wrongdoers is sending the overall message that on a fundamentally moral level, “selling passports” is wrong. That’s an interesting opinion, better placed in the editorial section. 

But these stories are indeed presented as an “investigation,” and quoting Mr. Mera’s defense was the right thing to do for journalists who are professionally compelled to get both sides of any story. However, in this case, it somewhat backfired. 

Mr. Mera’s statements refuted the premise of the whole investigation. Under the headline “Who’s buying Vanuatu passports?” readers had every reason to expect they would be shocked upon discovering the terrible people who held Vanuatu passports. Finding no convicted criminals currently holding a Vanuatu passport made that expectation fall flat except, of course, if Mr. Mera’s statements are proven untrue. That’s a tall order given all the available documentation.

Vanuatu is far from alone

Another passage has the journalists nearly shooting themselves in the foot when they recognize that it “is not illegal and many countries around the world offer CBI programs. There are many legitimate reasons for applying, including improved freedom of movement or tax-free offshore banking privileges.”

It is true that many countries offer citizenship or residency with a path to citizenship, including the U.S. and wealthy European nations. And while Vanuatu insists on checking criminal records from the country of residence and citizenship of every applicant to its programme, some European countries don’t even apply this requirement to individuals who apply for naturalisation there.

The realm of imagination

While unknown “experts” quoted by The Guardian warn that “the scheme is ripe for exploitation […] allowing transnational criminal syndicates to establish a base in the Pacific,” just stating that something may happen doesn’t make it happen. This qualifies as the realm of imagination and, again, storytelling. 

As Ronald Warsal, chairman of the Vanuatu Citizenship Office and Commission, eloquently said in the article: “Vanuatu is a signatory to […] most internationally sanctioned treaties and has ratified such treaties in recent years prohibiting transnational criminal syndicates to operate within its [jurisdiction] and as such, it is hard for international criminal syndicates to establish a base in Vanuatu.”

Like many of the other CBI programmes in the world, Vanuatu’s includes a careful vetting process in order to avoid issuing criminals with a passport, including a thorough check of criminal records worldwide. Every single applicant goes through a redundant vetting process by three of the country’s most robust institutions(FIU, COC, and NBV). And the zeal is understandable.

A question of economic survival

Think about it for a minute: Who would be the first victims of Vanuatu’s alleged inability to properly vet applicants? The government badly needs this revenue to function. If the vetting weren’t stringent and bad apples were left to enter, they would tarnish the reputation of the programme and lead to the loss of some of its benefits; for example, Vanuatu passport-holders enjoy visa-free access to the Schengen area, and the country’s authorities are wary of letting any ill-intentioned new citizen cause trouble in Europe if they want the passport to retain its value and good name.

Finally, the article states: “Many in Vanuatu see the scheme as an affront to the sovereignty of the young country.” It is true, there have been arguments between our citizens about the CBI programme, as there should be in any healthy democracy. Notwithstanding that, the programme is actually a celebration of our sovereignty as it exercises a privilege reserved for sovereign states which many other states exercise.

More Opinion

On a factual and legal basis, the investigation fails to support claims that Vanuatu accepts criminals or money launderers, writes Martin St-Hilaire.

“As a general rule, it is not advisable to earmark the revenues generated by RCBI programs to reduce public sector debt,” writes Andrés Solimano.

Though the Senate rejected Grassley and Leahy’s request for unanimous consent, reauthorization bills are still pending, writes Aaron Grau.

 

The post More Feelings Than Facts: Commentary on The Guardian’s Vanuatu Passport Series appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

10 on the Weekend: Manoj Dalal

Ten On The Weekend is a weekly (-ish) 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 Manoj Dalal of Migrate World.


How do you spend your weekends?

I spend my weekends with my family and friends and listening to classical instrumental music.

There are so many things in life that we take for granted. It is only when there is scarcity or we lose them that we then value them. For example, the support system of family and friends. The family support system cannot be measured: it is pure, pious, and with no expectation of return. You need not have dozens of friends; a selected handful is enough to make your life charming.

Listening to classical instrumental music gives me so much peace and relaxes my mind. 

What are your top three business goals this year?
  1. Publish more articles and speak at more forums;
  2. Promote entrepreneur visas to create more start-ups, more employment, more growth, and more happiness; and
  3. Expand my B2B network. 
What’s your biggest business concern right now?

India, being a country with a huge population, has only been able to vaccinate (double dosages) less than 10% of its population. Until the number of vaccinated people goes up, various countries will not open borders to Indians.

Though the best of efforts are being put in, it’ll be a while before things get better and, until then, it is a game of patience.

Which book is on your nightstand right now?

I prefer listening to TEDx Talks and Toastmasters. Listening to them leaves a positive vibration in me, which keeps reverberating and helps me get up with a positive frame of mind, on all days.

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

Being a strategist, I have been dealing with UHNWIs for more than a decade. Adding citizenship and residency programs to the portfolio was a natural complement to the existing offerings.

What was your proudest moment as a service provider?

There have been many of them but being honest and upfront has always helped me close deals.

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

The rising demand for entrepreneur- and passive income visas.

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

Nothing. Every decision taken in the past was based on the level of understanding and maturity at that time, which, as time goes by, keeps evolving. So keep learning and keep growing.

What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?

Mr.Bruno L’ecuyer of the Investment Migration Council.

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

Help put smiles on more faces.

More From 10 on The Weekend

Manoj Dalal of Migrate World says the trend that’s surprised him the most over the last year is the rising interest in passive-income visas.

Viktorija Simulynaite, CEO of Sovereign Man, has first-hand experience with Communism and worries about “governments printing money, going into debt, and taking away freedom.”

İsrafil Kahraman is full of admiration for Sam Bayat, worries about the lack of new developments in Istanbul, and says he stops by the office seven days a week.

 

The post 10 on the Weekend: Manoj Dalal appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

The Man Who Grew Sark’s Population 20% by Wooing Digital Business-Owners With Political Freedom

German financial advisor and fund manager Swen Lorenz – the man behind Sark Society, a private initiative aiming to double Sark’s population – calls the island a “secret European micro-state”.

Since last year, Mr. Lorenz has helped more than a hundred individuals, many of them location-independent entrepreneurs from his native Germany, relocate to the island. At last count, in 2015, the island – which is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey but also autonomous in terms of fiscal policy – had a population of 492, implying that Lorenz has single-handedly expanded the island’s population by more than one-fifth in the span of little more than a year.

Interview with Swen Lorenz of the Charles Darwin Foundation
Swen Lorenz, founder of Sark Society

Based in Sark since 2004, Lorenz last year told journalists he launched his initiative because he was “greatly concerned” about the jurisdiction’s falling population, which he worried would make life there “simply not viable.” To reverse the depopulation trend, Lorenz wrote a book titled How (and Why) to Move to Sark?

“I am just a resident of Sark who had the know-how and the network to start a one-off campaign to bring fresh blood to the island,” Lorenz tells IMI in an email. “Over 20% of Sark’s real estate stood empty and the island was on the brink of economic collapse. So I took matters into my hands and did something about it, by starting my campaign and making available a 300+ page handbook about moving to Sark, which I initially sold for $1,500.”

An interview with the BBC last August catapulted interest in Lorenz’s relocation service. “It took over my life for a few months and it has reinvigorated Sark,” Lorenz told the Guernsey Press last month.

Lorenz points out to IMI that he is not usually an immigration advisor and that none of his clients had made use of Guernsey’s investor immigration route.

“The entire 2020 cohort of immigrants came here on the back of the EU Pre-Settled Scheme that was valid for the UK’s Common Travel Area (incl. Channel Islands) until 31/12/2020,” he writes. “They simply all had EU passports and just registered before year-end which gives them the five-year temporary residence permit, which they can subsequently convert to permanent residency.”

Holidays in Sark | Isle of Sark | Visit Guernsey
The main (and only) road between Great Sark and Little Sark
A night-watchman state in the English channel

A generally laissez-faire jurisdiction, Sark is fiscally independent of the Bailiwick of Guernsey (which, in turn, is fiscally independent of the United Kingdom). And whereas Guernsey imposes personal income tax rates of up to 20%, Sark levies no taxes on personal income, capital gains, or inheritances.

The only notable taxes residents need to contend with are the Personal Capital Tax (PCT) and the Property Tax, but even these amount to negligible absolute sums. The PCT ranges from GBP 450 to GBP 9,000 per year, or 0.39% of the subject’s capital base, whichever is the lower. In 2014, for example, the highest total tax payment recorded was GBP 6,400.

There are regulatory benefits as well, Lorenz tells IMI. “In Guernsey, you need to keep accounts for yourself, whereas in Sark you don’t. Tax is based primarily on the size of your property and there is no need to report on income or assets,” he says, adding that the island offers a “slower pace of life,” and that it has no cars or paved roads.

Though the island has no cars, alternate modes of transport are available
Plenty of room left

Questioned as to how the tiny community was able to absorb such a sharp rise in population in a short period, Lorenz attributes the feat to an abundance of unoccupied real estate.

“We have gone from lots of property being empty to now basically 100% occupancy.”

But there is plenty more room for growth, he maintains.

“If all the derelict properties were done up and some large properties put to better use, we could easily get another 100-200 people in here. And then more could be built, despite Sark’s strict planning laws.”

Lorenz has the support of the island’s Seigneur, Christopher Beaumont, who last year told the BBC he had been in discussions with Mr. Lorenz about the plan “for a long time.”

Lorenz says the Seigneur thinks 800-1,000 inhabitants would be the optimum. Mr. Lorenz himself says he doubts the current number is more than 600, but also points out that, because of Sark’s minimal government, population statistics are not generally gathered.

The Chief Pleas, who form the island’s parliament, meet in this unassuming house.

Now that the EU Pre-Settled Scheme has lapsed, prospective Sark residents will have to avail themselves of conventional channels of immigration. Guernsey has both an Entrepreneur and an Investor visa program, the latter of which has a minimum investment requirement of GBP 750,000.

“Sark’s authorities had assumed neither [the entrepreneur nor investor visa] applied to Sark. I informed them that the entrepreneur visa does apply to Sark – even though no one has ever applied.”

It is likely, he says, that Guernsey will extend also the investor visa to Sark later this year, as part of a harmonization of immigration rules between the Channel Islands Bailiwicks and the rest of the UK. At that point, he notes, Guernsey is also likely to harmonize the investment requirement with that of the UK’s Tier 1 investor visa, which is to say it would raise it from GBP 750,000 to GBP 2 million.

More From Europe

Lorenz – the man behind Sark Society – calls the island, which has no cars, no paved roads, and practically no taxes, a “secret European micro-state”.

IMI interviews Eric Major and Alex Hopkin about the new Innovisa platform, which matches UK Innovator Visa applicants with eligible startups.

UK Tier 1 specialist Dolfin’s special administrators have found a successor service provider for more than half of the firm’s client accounts.

 

The post The Man Who Grew Sark’s Population 20% by Wooing Digital Business-Owners With Political Freedom appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.