作者: Dishun Marie

“It’s Time to Open the Borders”: 10 on the Weekend – Jeffrey Henseler

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 Jeffrey Henseler of Passport Legacy.

How do you spend your weekends?
As a happy young dad with a 5-month old son, I spend my weekends mostly with my family and friends. As an expat living in Dubai, visitors from my home country – Switzerland – make their way to the sunny Middle East several times a year. BBQs in the garden became our weekly routine. 

What are your top three business goals this year?
The first goal is to establish our company as the number one agency to get in touch with for obtaining a second passport in Nigeria. Our second goal is to cement our position as a strong competitor in the Asian market. Our third and most important goal is to maintain our status as a company that cares for every member of its staff to the fullest. 

Every December, our Passport Legacy family embarks on a trip to a selected destination. Too bad we had to postpone this year’s travel plans until next year. On trips such as these, we celebrate the success of the year and map out plans for the coming year.  

What’s your biggest business concern right now?
At the moment, we have one major concern. This is the recent closure of the Cyprus CBI program. It is a huge setback for the growth of the CBI industry. However, we are optimistic as we set our sights on the Montenegro program. 

I do believe that everyone in the industry is working twice as hard to keep the Caribbean and Vanuatu programs open. 

Business-wise, I think it is time to open the borders. As soon as the airlines commence full operations, people will be willing to travel and we are very confident that the number of citizenship and passport applications will soar. 

Which book is on your night-stand right now?
The Mind of the Leader by Jacqueline Carter and Rasmus Hougaard. It passes a strong message about appreciating the people working in the company. It also underlines the efforts of everyone that contributed to setting up the type of company we have today. 

How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?
That was at the age of 19. At the time, I had the pleasure of doing a practicum in the industry in Dubai. That left a major impression on me as from that moment on, I realized I did not want any other career than this. 

So, during that memorable week in Dubai, we boarded a flight from Dubai to Bahrain for a meeting with a Syrian family to fill the Antigua AB1 Application Forms. 

Experiencing the feeling of flying out for a meeting was incredible! We flew the same day back to Dubai and landed around 11 pm. Unsurprisingly, I was totally exhausted but super happy! It was definitely a day to remember for me. 

Five months later, I felt even more excited when I heard they had received their Antiguan Citizenship documents. It made me feel somewhat fulfilled that I was a ‘’part’’ of the process from the start. 

By my 21st birthday, I officially began working full time in the industry. 

What was your proudest moment as a service provider?
The feeling is special every time we hand over a passport to a client. Over the last eight years, I have noticed the difference in each client’s reaction. I have witnessed everything, from happiness to tears to becoming practically a member of their family. 

I do not believe there are many industries out there that can make you feel prouder than the investment migration industry. 

Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?
That has to be West Africa, undoubtedly. Our focus is mainly on Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria. Besides the locals living in Dubai, we have also seen a large number of Lebanese, Syrian, and Indian families who migrated generations ago. 

If you could go 10 years back in time, what business decision would you change?
I would not change anything. I started working full time in a clothing store by the age of 16. In Switzerland, you can decide to go to a university (if you get the grades) or choose to do an apprenticeship that gives you insights into the functional aspects of a business such as sales, accounting, marketing, etc. 

This was one of the best experiences that led me to where I am today. Through apprenticeship, I was able to gain confidence, stay humble, learn how to sell a product/service, and keep the customer happily returning for more; even a year later. 

What investment migration industry personality do you admire most?
That would be my mentor for the first three years during my first steps in the industry. I still remember every word and lesson to date. He played a huge role in my career growth while cheering and motivating everyone around him every day. Gratitude! 

If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?
Without a doubt, I will be firmly rooted in the investment migration industry. We will also be adding more services to our portfolio in the near future. I’m super enthusiastic about the exciting time ahead! 

More From 10 on The Weekend

Jeffrey Henseler says he’s confident investment migration application volumes will soar once people are free to travel again.

Patricia Valadas Coriel is surprised that citizens of the world’s most powerful nation have such a strong interest in relocating to Portugal.

“10 years ago,” writes Nirbhay Handa, “I had long hair, played in a band, and let’s just say I wasn’t making any great decisions.”

 

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UK Tier 1 Applications Come Roaring Back in Q3: Approvals up 317% From Q2

96 main applicants and 172 family members received residence permits in the UK in Q3 on the back of capital injections through the Tier 1 Investor Visa amounting to GBP 192 million. The number represents a 317% improvement on the preceding quarter and a 96% improvement on the same quarter last year.

“I am delighted to see that the pent-up demand created by the post-COVID-19 lockdown period has come to fruition,” says Farzin Yazdi, Head of Investor Visa at London-based Shard Capital.

Yazdi points out that the rebound is precisely what his firm predicted in August, following the release of Q2 figures that showed the lowest quarterly approval volumes in a decade. At the time, Yazdi also predicted the now-observable growth in interest from American applicants.

“Having spoken to a number of these American applicants about their motivations to migrate to the UK, as we are now able to look after them with the launch of our US desk, politics always crept up in conversations.”

At 9% of the total during the quarter, Americans were tied with Russians for third-place in the top applicant nationalities. As is the norm, Chinese applicants constituted the single-largest source of Tier 1 investors (24% of the total), closely followed by Hongkongers (21%).

Despite a bullish turn in Q3, the program’s performance so far in 2020 as a whole still lags that of previous years by a considerable margin: At the end of Q3, an aggregate of 164 main applicants had been approved since January 1st, about half the number that were approved in the first three quarters of 2019 (304).

Two key factors, Yazdi says, are influencing investor visa applicants’ decisions. The first is a common one; expanded educational opportunities offered in Britain. The second is less intuitive: Greenwich Mean Time.

“It seems that lockdowns have highlighted an obvious fact, which is the strategic position of the UK’s time zone (GMT). Our new way of working seems to involve less international travel, and it is to the advantage of the more discerning as they no longer have to wake up in the middle of the night to have a call with Australia or the West Coast of the United States.”

Yazdi also noted with interest the growing number of applicants from India who, he says, have historically preferred the Entrepreneur route.

Acknowledging the presence of a number of wild-cards on the horizon (a new immigration system for the UK, the finalizing of Brexit, and the progression of the pandemic), Yazdi was nonetheless ebullient with regards to the program’s near-term prospects.

“I am very optimistic and reiterating my previous comment that we will see a slightly higher mean average of Investor Visa applicants.”

More Intel & Data

Farzin Yazdi attributes the late summer and early fall investment boom to a release of pent-up demand stemming from the lockdown-months.

Presuming the COVID flare-up is the primary cause of the slowdown, golden visa investment volumes are unlikely to recover before 2021.

The most popular option for the three years in aggregate, at 2,144 files, was the social housing option operated by Montreal Management.

 

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“Americans Struggle With Quadruple Whammy”: Investment Migration People in the News This Week

Investment migration people in the news this week include:

  • David Cooper of Malcolm Pacific Immigration
  • Georg Chmiel of Juwai IQI
  • Ekaterina Isaeva of BEYOND Residency and Citizenship
  • Paddy Blewer of Henley & Partners
  • Nuri Katz of Apex Capital
  • Nestor Alfred of the Saint Lucia CIU
  • Arthur Sarkisian of Astons
  • Armand Arton of Arton Capital
  • Luiz Felipe Maia of Maia International Property

SCMP: In one US-China battle, Americans have taken the lead: ‘golden’ visa applications to New Zealand

David Cooper, chief executive of Malcolm Pacific Immigration, a private immigration consultancy with offices in Auckland and Wellington, said Americans specifically have struggled with a “quadruple whammy” this year, pushing them to seek homes abroad and somewhere safe for investment.“They’re saying the civil unrest, the political instability, the bush fires in California and Covid-19 are pushing them over the edge,” he said. “We’ve had a regular stream of phone calls and emails coming in – people just want to know how they can move to New Zealand,”

Georg Chmiel, head of the Chinese real estate portal Juwai, said the reason for fewer Chinese applicants was likely that staying in China was the safer option.

“In China, both the economy and the coronavirus are looking better than in any other country. Any applicants who have postponed are thinking that it wouldn’t hurt to wait a little longer to see how things shake out,” he said, adding that many of his Chinese customers inquire about buying property in New Zealand in tandem with applying for the Investor Visa. “Next year they’ll have more money and know better what the emerging risks are.”


Izvestia: Pay and live: Minek has developed a Russian analogue of “golden passports”

Real estate for 30 million rubles – that is, for about $400,000 – is six times higher than the cost of moving the whole family, for example, to the UK under the programs operating in this country, said Ekaterina Isaeva, manager of the international company BEYOND Residence & Citizenship.

There are programs for obtaining a residence permit or citizenship by investment in more than 100 countries around the world, she added. In Europe, you can get a residence permit for investments in real estate from € 250 thousand (22.5 million rubles at the rate of 90 per euro. – Izvestia), said Ekaterina Isaeva. For example, in Greece, which will allow you to live there and travel without a visa to 27 EU countries.

Bloomberg: Rich Americans Are Increasingly Looking for Second Passport

“We haven’t seen the likes of this before,” said Paddy Blewer, a London-based director at citizenship and residency-advisory firm Henley & Partners, referring to queries from U.S. individuals. “The dam actually burst — and we didn’t realize it — at the end of last year, and it’s just continued getting stronger.”

[…]

“Americans are thinking: ‘I want to have that ability to move as quickly as possible and not be stuck,’” said Nestor Alfred, chief executive officer of St. Lucia’s citizenship-by-investment unit.

[…]

The U.S. elections have also stoked interest. While Joe Biden has rejected the wealth tax pushed by some of his Democratic primary rivals, his proposals could disrupt the ways that many Americans minimize — or altogether avoid — taxes on their investment gains. Some have also looked to get an additional passport due to fears of social unrest, according to citizenship advisory firm Apex Capital Partners, which said inquiries from clients — typically about five a year — have increased 650% since this month’s vote.

“We’re seeing this interest from Americans who are all saying the same things that Chinese, or Middle Eastern or Russian clients are saying,” Apex founder Nuri Katz said in an interview. “They’re saying, ‘We’re not leaving the U.S. right now, but we’re concerned and we want to have something else, just in case.’”


SCMP: Hongkongers emerge as some of the busiest buyers of UK homes, as they snap up property ahead of exodus by BN(O) passport holders

“The ability for Hong Kong’s BN(O) passport holders to apply for British citizenship will impact the London market over the coming months and it has already started to do so with prospective buyers starting their search for a home in anticipation,” said Astons’ managing director Arthur Sarkisian, in an emailed interview with South China Morning Post.

Foreigners bought 41 per cent of London’s residential real estate with prime postcodes in the first three quarters, totalling £3.32 billion, according to Astons. The French were the biggest investors, spending £365.4 million on 11 per cent of the total purchases by foreigners. Hong Kong was tied with the United States in second place with 9.2 per cent, or £305.6 million, while mainland China’s buyers were in third place with £275.7 million, or 8.3 per cent.


Arabian Business: Dubai’s Shuaa targets Citizenship by Investment market with $118m fund

Dubai-based Shuaa Capital on Wednesday announced a partnership with Arton Capital, the global advisory firm specialising in  investment-based social impact programs, to encourage foreign direct investment through the establishment of real estate development funds focused on high growth markets.

[…]

Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital, added: “The ability to attract foreign direct investments is essential for countries, especially during these times. This partnership will play a key role in helping governments attract foreign direct investment to help boost economic development and growth.”


The Economist: The decline of the British passport

Yet geopolitics and trade affect visa policies too. Political tensions with China, Iran and Russia trickle down to ordinary travellers. Moreover, countries like Germany, Japan and South Korea are economic powerhouses that make lots of things. Other countries value economic relationships with them, and visa-free travel can be a spur to greater trade. But Britain, which has a strong services sector, “is no longer a major player in terms of finished goods and that has an effect on the perception of the UK,” says Paddy Blewer of Henley & Partners. As a result, “other sovereign states are less willing to give it visa-free travel.” Nor is Britain particularly generous when it comes to granting visa-free access to its own shores to citizens of non-Western states. That creates resentment.


SCMP: Chinese property buyers sharpen focus on Portugal and Singapore, shun four spots troubled by geopolitical risks

“Many of the [mainland Chinese] buyers who are active this year are already in their destination markets and are purchasing at a more rapid rate because they intend to stay there,” said Georg Chmiel, executive chairman of property portal Juwai IQI. “Some others are purchasing as part of the golden visa process.”

[…]

Befitting its status as the hottest market in Europe, Portugal was the top destination for Chinese investors as inquiries surged 176 per cent in the first nine months this year, according to Juwai IQI. Lisbon and Porto became more popular after the government mulled scrapping both cities from its passport-for-cash scheme beginning next year.

The decision created a “wave of demand for urgent property acquisition from Chinese buyers,” said Luiz Felipe Maia, director of Maia International Properties. The imminent exclusion of both cities has increased the urgency for those who were previously holding back purchases because of the Covid-19 situation, he added.

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What The Ideal Citizenship by Investment Program Might Look Like


Anatoliy’s Analysis
With Anatoliy Lyetayev

Anatoliy Lyetayev covers topics that help industry professionals be more efficient, do more business, and make more money.


Saying one citizenship by investment (CBI) program is better than another will always be a controversial matter because the definition of “best” is bound to perspective. In this article, therefore, I will not be discussing which passport is stronger or which program is better than its closest counterpart. Rather, I will be exploring the makings of the ultimate CBI program.

Before we can begin that, we must take a look at what is currently on offer and work from there; The five Caribbean countries of St. Kitts & Nevis,  Dominica, Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda, and St. Lucia all offer straight-forward CBI programs, while – across the Atlantic – Turkey and Montenegro have their own versions of CBI. We mustn’t forget Vanuatu’s rise to prominence on the CBI stage either.

A reduction in European options, now that Cyprus has suspended its program, is regrettable. The CBI programs that remain, however, are prospering; focusing mainly on real estate investments from foreign investors to bolster their economies and create an influx of cash into their markets. Nevertheless, real estate is not always the best choice for CBI programs, especially viewed in light of the economic externalities they can give rise to.

White elephants
Take Cyprus, for example. The Mediterranean island nation is now filled to the brim with luxury skyscrapers that are beyond the reach of locals – who number just shy of a million people – and, now that its CBI is suspended, there are no active clients to take on these huge property investments.

Situations like that are the reason it’s important for prospective applicants to ask the right questions about their real estate investment in a CBI country.

  • Will the asset appreciate?
  • Are the returns commensurate with the risk?
  • Is there a clear path to liquidation of the assets once the minimum holding period is over?
  • Can I sell this asset in a secondary market?

We need look no further than to the statistics of the Caribbean CBI programs to understand to what degree of satisfaction investors have been able to answer those questions. In the Caribbean, a region that offers a set of more or less homogenous programs that lend themselves to an apples-to-apples comparison, three programs have published data on applicants’ contribution type preferences for 2019.

In Grenada, nearly four in ten investors picked real estate investment, while only four in hundred did the same in Antigua & Barbuda. In Dominica, the social-housing donation option has driven falling interest in both the conventional donation route and in real estate investment; only one in five investors picked property. Antigua & Barbuda’s program, meanwhile, has received only a handful of CBI real estate investment dollars since 2017.

The above numbers are an indication that, when structured correctly, donation options are extremely popular with applicants and often preferred by the countries.

So, considering the investment type itself is a demand driver, what are other major elements of a successful CBI program?

  • Visa-free travel to in-demand countries
    A passport granting access to major travel destinations such as the Schengen zone and the UK is a great feather in the cap for any CBI, as applicants who travel to these countries for business, leisure, or otherwise want to forgo the hassle that accompanies applying for visas.
  • Favorable tax regime
    No investor wants to spend money on something that will cost them more money. Low taxes may, in and of themselves, bring remarkable numbers of applications from investors wishing to ease their tax burdens.
  • Limited bureaucracy
    The ability to smoothly issue a driver’s license, open a bank account, get utility bills, and obtain civil documents can go a long way in convincing investors to consider any given country as their second home.
  • A strong banking system
    Investors want a country where they can easily deposit large sums of money, say a million dollars, without having to worry about big brother scrutinizing every single transaction. A banking system that works efficiently with major currencies represents massive allure helps the client avoid situations where they need to wait three weeks for a transaction to go through, as is the case in some Caribbean countries.
  • Digitized services
    Being able to do most activities online without the need to travel to the country is a great plus; be it registering a new company, opening a bank account, paying taxes, or otherwise. The more digital services available the better.
  • Cryptocurrency-friendly regime
    Malta was, when its MIIP was still operational, a great destination for those holding cryptocurrency. As more nations, companies, and individuals are shifting to blockchain technology, nations offering CBI that accept cryptocurrencies may yet find an edge over other destinations. Now that Malta is back in the CBI-market with its MEIN policy (don’t call it program!), it’s likely to become a favorite destination among “hodling” CBI investors once more.
  • A wealth of business opportunities
    CIPs that offer visa-free travel to jurisdictions part of large economic blocs, like China, the EU, and the US are of tremendous value for global investors. Countries that go a step further and open new business-immigration routes in addition to offering a new passport – as Grenada and Turkey do with the US E2 visa – are even better.

An example of an “ideal” program
I will list some factors that, when interwoven, can produce the ideal program for both investors and granting nations; any government officials reading this are free to take notes:

  • Cost: The ideal cost should stand at USD 90,000 for a single applicant along with an additional USD 10,000 for each added dependent.
  • Processing Time: Four months. And I mean four months, not just on paper. That is ample time for a CIU to process a file, and it’s an acceptable wait time for an investor. You could offer expedited processing for a 20% bump in the investment amount.
  • Electronic filing: Leveraging technology to simplify the process for CIU officials, investors, and international agents is the key to lowering processing time and getting more clients.
  • Keep it remote: No need for the investors to travel across the globe for oaths or visits, it can all be done remotely. Simplify the process, no need to make it harder.
  • Bring along the family: Include the ability to add children and parents to the application regardless of age.

A program of this nature would prove extremely profitable to the granting nation. At just 1,000 applications per year (though a program like this would get far more applications than that), we are talking about average annual revenues of 100 million (of which approximately 20% would be distributed to providers). 

This figure is huge for small, developing nations. Consider if Tonga, for example, a tiny country of around 100,000 inhabitants could raise a hundred million in unencumbered funds each year. That’s a quarter of the country’s GDP, a proportion that’s not without precedent. Keep also in mind that CIPs bring in more cash along the road, so we can safely assume one successful year will also yield US$10 million or more in services bought locally by new citizens, like bank account openings, company formation, tax consulting, and so on.

Which Nations Could Join the CBI Club?
Taking the above factors as a baseline for a successful CBI, and considering the political, financial, and socioeconomic landscape of smaller countries across the globe we can see great candidates for a strong CBI program to rival the prominent few currently available. In 2018, an analysis in IMI identified 33 countries as highly suitable for a CIP. Countries such as the aforementioned Tonga, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Guadeloupe, and Kiribati all fit the bill.

Even if new programs don’t open, many existing ones would do well to consider a makeover that takes into account some of the above suggestions. The successful CBI programs of tomorrow will be the ones that “shop around” for the best elements of each existing program, adopt best practises while discarding what demonstrably doesn’t work, or set new, higher standards altogether.

More From Anatoliy’s Analysis

Anatoliy Lyetayev construes his idea of the ideal CIP by “shopping around” for the most successful elements of existing ones.

Anatoliy Letaev: Now is the time to talk to your clients about a Flag Theory-based Plan B and how to find freedom in an unfree world.

For those RCBI firms that have digitized their services, now is the time to reap the rewards, writes Anatoliy Lyetayev.

 

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Latitude Consultancy Expands Into China

 

  • Latitude Consultancy continues its worldwide strategic expansion plan with two new offices and key appointments in China 
  • Latitude has partnered with China Offshore to successfully enter the Chinese market and to grow their brand awareness
  • China is the largest investment migration market spending of over $44 billion on residency by investment in the last decade

Latitude Consultancy, a leading residency and citizenship-by-investment advisory firm, continues its ambitious growth with the addition of two offices in China and a new partnership that will expand its reach in the world’s largest market.

The two new offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai will provide Latitude’s clients and its B2B partners with the required on-the-ground support for individual consultations, application care, events and seminars. 

The Shanghai Office is located at 5A01 Wanshili Tower 1378 Lujiabang Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China 200011, while the Hong Kong Office is located at 7F, K11 Atelier, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.

Latitude has appointed Aleksandra Smolen in Hong Kong and Emily Chen in Shanghai as Business Development Directors responsible for promoting Latitude’s extensive portfolio of residency and citizenship solutions in the ever-important Chinese market.

Aleksandra Smolen has over six years of experience in the investment migration industry. Prior to joining Latitude, she managed operations in China for an American firm specializing in the US EB-5 programme, then later became a director for one of the largest Chinese intermediaries and established their Hong Kong office. Aleksandra is fluent in Polish, English and Mandarin Chinese. 

Emily Chen has over eight years of experience working for two of the largest immigration agencies in China. She has assisted hundreds of Chinese in obtaining residency in North America, Europe and Asia as well as citizenship in the Caribbean and Europe. Emily is fluent in English, Russian, Mandarin Chinese as well as several local Chinese dialects. 

Over the three past decades, the investment migration industry has seen continued growth in China with more than 57,000 Chinese spending over $44 billion for residency by investment, making China the world’s largest market in this industry. 

The deregulation of the investment migration industry in 2018 created a market gap for a government-approved service provider that can deliver local expertise with an international reach. 

To grow its brand awareness in China, Latitude has partnered with China Offshore, a professional network firm headed by Managing Director Matthew Sumner and General Manager Nick Parrish based in Shanghai. China Offshore supports an extensive network of professionals in the fields of corporate services, fiduciary services and investment migration by providing them with latest market analysis and by organizing networking events and assisting their clients with remote lead generation.

Latitude’s CEO and founding partner, Eric Major commented on the expansion into China: “we have reached the stage in our growth where we are now ready to tackle the world’s largest investment migration market. With China Offshore’s support and the appointment of Emily and Aleksandra, we will be able to assist more families and our B2B partners with new and innovative residency and citizenship solutions.” 

China Offshore’s Managing Director Matthew Sumner added: “China Offshore is pleased to be helping Latitude enter the Chinese market. Over the last ten years, we have supported our partners across a series of channels including events, online, print and remote lead generation services. We look forward to connecting Latitude with our Chinese network and have them offer their extensive residency and citizenship options.”

About Latitude:

A new generation of wealthy elite have ambitions that reach far beyond the limitations of national borders. They live in a connected world, with a global outlook. Latitude’s team of specialists offer leading insight and expertise for investors who are looking to gain residency or citizenship privileges by making an important economic contribution in a designated country. Latitude also provides government advisory services by helping nations create residency and citizenship-by-investment programmes that attract this privileged segment of the world population to their shores. 

Latitude is a government-approved partner and an authorized agent in all of the world’s most popular citizenship programmes, including Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, Vanuatu, Portugal, and Malta. 

Latitude employs over 80 industry professionally globally, with offices in 14 different countries including Anguilla, Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, Germany, Lebanon, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, South Korea, UAE, UK and Vietnam.

Our executive team has over 100 years of combined experience in the investment migration industry. An unrivalled international network of partners and institutional relationships provide a unique and compelling proposition for our clients. Yet what makes us really stand out from the crowd is our approach: genuinely innovative products, competitively priced services and customer-driven, hands-on delivery.  Our clients expect the world – we deliver it. Welcome to your world. www.latitudeworld.com

For press enquiries and further information, please contact:

Brandon Ing

Head of Marketing

brandon.ing@latitudeworld.com 

Tel: +44 (0) 7449 401310

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

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Health Passports Are Coming – What Does That Mean for Investment Migration?


Due Process
With Michael Krakat

Legal Scholar Michael B. Krakat observes investment migration through the lens of international, constitutional, and administrative law.


Is the common passport (health) coming? Global mobility is a pre-requisite for the sale and purchase of passports and without said mobility (including the new health-related mobility requirements), ordinary passports, no matter their number and quality, may well become frustrated. 

Health-related mobility then seems no longer to be about countries per se, but to be about people. In other words, there is something more important than citizenship: Individual-global health-related factors of travel then go beyond countries and borders and, instead, pertain directly to real life. With focus on the person, borders are now flexible, moving with people, represented and reflected within each person.

We may now witness the beginning of a worldwide digital identity-system that could become linked to the health status of each and every individual.

Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Chile are among the countries that are now looking into so-called ‘immunity passports’ or ‘COVID-free passports’. 

Australian airline Qantas’ boss Alan Joyce recently said about immunity-passports that “I think that’s going to be a common thing, talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe […] What we’re looking at is how you can have the [proof of] vaccination in an electronic version of a passport that certifies what the vaccine is and if it’s acceptable the country you’re traveling to. There’s a lot of logistics, a lot of technology that needs to be put in place to make this happen.”

Even absent any actual requirements to show vaccination or effective immunity, at the very least, mandatory testing seems to now emerge: In collaboration with The Commons Project, the World Economic Forum is supporting the launch of ‘CommonPass’, an initiative that aims to enable safer airline and cross border travel by giving both travellers and governments confidence in each traveller’s verified COVID-19 status, beyond short term solutions such as bans, quarantines or bubbles. Cathay Pacific Airways, United Airlines, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, Swiss International Air Lines, and JetBlue are said to run trials of CommonPass. This initiative needs to be viewed before the IATA warning that global airlines faced combined losses of $118.5bn this year and $39bn next year. “We need to get borders safely reopened without quarantine so that people will fly again,” said IATA’s chief executive Alexandre de Juniac. 

To use the digital health pass, that is, CommonPass, travellers take a COVID-19 test at a certified lab and upload the results to their mobile phone. They then complete any additional health screening questionnaires required by the destination country. With the complete test results and questionnaire, CommonPass confirms compliance, generating a QR Code, which can be scanned by airline staff as well as border officials. 

Passports tied more to individuals than to states
It is difficult to foresee where this is going. Does this now effectively amount to a new form of passport or, at least, a mandatory new aspect attaching to all passports? Will CommonPass or other technologies act as de-facto or quasi-passports, with personalised health status complementing the values and other factors pertaining to actual passports? 

Immunity passports containing health related data may now become a global requirement and pre-requisite for mobility and must, as such, be taken into consideration for global passport evaluations in addition to the visa-free travel rankings and in light of any one or more systems for digital health in place. 

Digital health passes may at some stage effectively act as a pre-cursor or proto-version of global citizenship from the ground-up, attached to bodies not borders. 

Integrated planning and communication between countries and the travel industry appear crucial to any of the above notions. Trust, clarity, consistency, and transparency are factors that will likely decide the fate of any form of new factual common passports. If, for instance, any major airline is not to implement these requirements, then the entire system may become compromised as there will be no consistency, jeopardising any generalized approach to this. 

There is a history of standardised approaches to both citizenship, as well as to passports, be it the Nansen passport for stateless refugees as travel documents from 1922 to 1938, as first issued by the League of Nations, as well as the contentious debate of what ‘global citizenship’ could actually mean. The Charter of the United Nations as well as the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 recognise the ‘[i]nherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family’. These are today the minimum standards for the international arena, and may well function as some foundation for any emerging global citizenship, including health-related aspects of a citizenship globalizing. 

While citizenship of the United Nations (or the earlier League of Nations) was at times thought about, absent any actual citizenship, focus is on travel as such and in isolation to any notions of membership. For example, the blue UN Laissez-Passer (UNLP), also known as a UN passport, is a travel document that accredits the identity and the affiliation of the individual bearer to one of the UNLP-issuing United Nations organizations: United Nations, World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund, World Health Organization, etc. 

Absent any actual, narrowly understood issuance of global citizenship (a current impossibility in that it would indeed require some form of global government/governance), however, common factors seem to already bind humanity, effectively creating some forms of global solidarity (‘links’?) at least in addition to the solidarity felt within the nation-state. As a matter of fact, the world today appears to be irrevocably interconnected: This is through climate change, pollution, COVID-19, globalization, shared and joint responsibilities, cultures, as well as through the mercantilist sale of passports on the global market for membership entitlements (citizenship- or residence). The matter of standardisations and harmonisations of health requirements may then well be viewed to act as a de-facto element in an emerging form of a global take – not only on mobility but, eventually, also- on membership.

More from Due Process

“Health passports may be a proto-version of global citizenship from the ground-up, attached to bodies not borders,” writes Michael Krakat.

Michael Krakat: The Greeks and Romans had competing views of citizenship: link-based and transaction-based. Little has changed in 2,000 years.

In 2013, Nobel Laureate Gary Becker suggested the best way for a country to attract skilled immigrants was to sell citizenship at auction.

 

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Singled-Out: CIPs Are Leaving Money on the Table by Not Targeting Applicants Without Families

Justin Donovan
Hong Kong

Several countries offering citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programs, and all of the Caribbean ones, have significantly discounted fee structures for their programs in an effort to catalyze application volume after seeing COVID-19 take their economies hostage. Nearly all of these discount initiatives have focused on making the CIPs more inclusive and economical for applicants with families, often large ones. However, none of the discounting initiatives have targeted single people, i.e., those without spouses or immediate families.

In my previous writings here on IMI, I have referred to this unfair treatment of single applicants as a “CBI Bachelor Tax”. There are no clear reasons as to why single people have been left out in the cold from CBI program discounts. Perhaps it is a lack of research, or maybe even a lack of strategic long-term planning by CBI program executives.

Whatever the motives, the single-person demographic is one that CBI program executives should be thinking about more often, especially since it is the fastest-growing household constellation type in the world, particularly in Asia, home to the lion’s share of investor migrants. 

Single CBI applicants also provide some potential benefits to a country that families often lack. Though these benefits are numerous, they chiefly come in three forms:

First, single applicants will typically be younger than those with families. Younger applicants provide a stronger future promise for CBI countries’ economies through their widening of the demographic pyramid base. In fact, many countries that use points-based systems – such as Canada – give extra points to immigrants that are younger in age. Young people have more years of economic contribution and more entrepreneurial/risk-taking energy left in them than their gray-haired peers. They are more likely to take a chance at starting a business than to look to preserve their capital.

Second, single applicants will typically have more mobility and flexibility in terms of their life logistics. For CBI countries that are looking to attract globally minded (and wealthy) persons, targeting single applicants seems to be a no-brainer.

Third, single applicants won’t have the social burdens that come with the cost of delivering services. For example, a single applicant would (in theory) be farther off in the area of marriage of having children, thereby keeping government costs on schooling down. Not having to support children, spouses, or aged dependents, they will also have greater disposable incomes (all else being equal).

One of the reasons that CBI programs may not be able to discount for single applicants is because none of them want to break the (informal and psychological) $100,000 price floor. This is why programs are cutting rates on everything they can except on the principal investment. For single applicants, who pay only one due diligence fee, one government fee, and one passport fee, there’s little room to maneuver on the price front (unless you’re happy to trigger another 2017-style price war). Any attempt to drive more single-demographic applicants would, therefore, warrant some creativity.

One such possible innovation might be to recognize common-law spouses, i.e., a couple that – for all intents and purposes except in the strictly legal sense – live together as husband and wife (or as a same-sex couple, for that matter, which is another uncatered-to demographic). Many single people are in long-term relationships, but do not want to get married. In the world of CBI, both individuals would have to apply separately for a CBI for a total of $200,000 at the lowest price range. Including a “common-law spouse” clause in the ever-growing lists of what counts as a dependent would effectively resolve this predicament.

There is a real strategic business opportunity for a CBI program to design a package, program, or discounting regime targeting single investors. The first CBI program to do so will tap into pockets of unmet demand and likely see a surge of applications (at least temporarily, until other programs follow suit) that will not only bring CBI revenue but likely also attract the ‘cream of the crop’ when it comes to applicant quality.

More Opinion

By discounting only for large families, CIPs are missing out on investment from the world’s fastest-growing household-type, writes Justin Donovan.

Martin Dubbey, a globally recognized due diligence provider to RCBI programs, shares four strategies to help RCBI agents with vetting.

Roderick Cutajar asks: International banks are used for money laundering. Will the European Commission demand a “phase-out” of banking?

 

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RCBI-Firms Go All-in on Nigeria as Applications From The Country Triple in 3 Years

The following is an extract from the IMI Research Unit’s most recent report, The 10 Most Eligible RCBI Markets in 2020, in which Nigeria’s RCBI market ranks 8th globally.

From 160 million a decade ago, Nigeria’s population reached 208 million this year and is on track to pass 300 million within 15 years, at which point it will become the world’s fourth most populous nation. At such magnitudes, even if the relative share of Nigerians that can afford to participate in RCBI programs remains minuscule, their absolute numbers will be so large that no international RCBI firm can afford to neglect this market.

Judging by the number of them that have established themselves in the country over the last two years, top-flight international RCBI firms have drawn the same conclusion; Nigeria is Africa’s “next big thing”. 

Arton Capital, Henley & Partners, Discus Holdings, and Passport Legacy are but a few of the notable firms already present. Many more are rumored to be planning a physical entrance and even the ones that aren’t looking at office space in the country are actively courting Nigerians in their marketing campaigns.

Though the source of a relatively low absolute number of cases in the last five years (642 confirmed cases) demand for RCBI services is expanding at a breakneck pace; Overall RCBI program participation grew at an annualized rate of 29.7% in the 2015-19 period (implying a doubling of the market size every 2.4 years), while CBI participation has more than doubled in each of the last five years. 

Such expansion has taken place even in the absence of the lofty economic growth rates that explain similarly rising levels in other markets considered in this report; Average GDP growth rates in the last five years amounted to a mere 1.2%, and the IMF forecasts an average of only 2.5% for 2020-24, a modest rate by African standards.

In 2018, the Lagos State Government estimated that its metropolitan area, largest both in Nigeria and in all of Africa, was home to an astonishing 23.5 million people and that, each day, more than 2,000 Nigerians moved to the megacity. Lagos is also a West-African hub for commerce, enabling RCBI firms operating in the city to reach HNWI clients from the wider region.

Up to 2,000 Nigerians move to Lagos every day. Nearly a million live in slums surrounding the sprawling metropolis.

The top choice among Nigerian investor migrants, as far as is publicly known, has been the United States EB-5 program, which has accepted an estimated 336 (more than half the total) Nigerian applications in the last five years. In favoring, to such an extent, a program with a relatively high capital requirement like the EB-5, Nigerians contrast with the pattern observed in other markets with similar levels of economic development; though they also favor English-speaking destinations, they avail themselves of alternatives like the US E2 and UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur visas, which have more flexible capital requirements and more onerous ones on physical presence. 

Nigerian demand for CIPs, across the board but most notably for those of Antigua & Barbuda and Vanuatu, surged suddenly in 2018, a trend that held steady also last year. 

Nigerian investors’ motives for seeking investment migration – whether as part of a permanent physical relocation or simply to improve mobility – are numerous and varied. Access to Western markets, asset security, and freedom from political or religious violence feature among the top factors. The 2019 Global Terrorism Index ranked Nigeria as having the world’s third-largest terrorism problem, only marginally behind Afghanistan and Iraq, and ahead of traditional terrorism hotspots like Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Note, however, that terrorist incidents in Nigeria predominantly take place in the country’s northeastern states; such events are rare in the capital Abuja and virtually non-existent in Lagos.

The country’s wealth-holders are also concerned about the persistent devaluation of the Naira, which buys them 60% fewer dollars today than it did just ten years ago. 

Even Nigeria’s political elites make no secret of their proclivity for sending their children overseas for schooling; responding to questions from a reporter in 2016 as to why his children attended university overseas rather than in Nigeria, President Buhari said “Because I can afford it.” According to the Institute of International Education, the number of Nigerians attending American universities doubled between 2009 and 2019 to nearly 14,000 students. In 2018, Nigerians paid US tuitions to the tune of half a billion US$.

A 2018 study found that 35% of Nigerians are considering emigration. Of these, nearly half indicated they would leave Nigeria “within a year or two”. The highest rates of emigration were found among the young, urban, educated classes in the country’s south, and most cited improved economic prospects as their chief motive.

This report is a detail-rich discussion on each of the world’s ten highest-ranked RCBI markets according to the findings of the Investment Migration Market Eligibility Index© (IMMEI).

The IMMEI and this accompanying report were created in response to investment migration executives’ repeated inquiries as to which RCBI markets globally show the most promise and which, consequently, should be the focus of their time, resources, and company expansion plans.

The 10 Most Eligible RCBI Markets
Report 2020

The report contains a wealth of data on each of the ten most eligible markets, and the essential information necessary for investment migration executives to make informed choices as to which markets to target, such as:

  • RCBI participation statistics
    • The number of approved applications for every major investment migration program from each market, for every year in the period 2015-19. Find out which types of programs (RBI vs. CBI vs. SUV) are the most popular among particular nationalities.
  • HNWI population estimates and forecasts
    • How many HNWI live in each market now, and by how much is the HNWI population expected to grow over the next five years.
  • RCBI company competition analysis
    • Which RCBI companies have offices in which markets? How many RCBI companies does each market have? Which RCBI companies are dominant in each market? The report contains a database of more than 100 RCBI-firm offices in the top 10 markets.
  • Legal, regulatory, and political
    • See which countries impose capital controls, restrictions on dual citizenship, or limits on foreign ownership. Compare the performance of each market’s currency over the last decade.
  • Accessibility
    • How cheap or expensive would it be to expand into a particular market? How hard is it to find qualified local personnel?Compare markets on cost of living, the price of Grade A office space, talent pools, and salary expectations.
  • Long-term market potential
    • Compare countries on how fast their economies and populations have grown in the last five years and at what pace they are forecast to grow over the next five.

IMI Club Pro Members:
FREE


IMI Club Members on annual billing plan (50% discount):
€249


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€375


SPECIAL OFFER
1 year of IMI Club Membership +
the Report:
€299 (save 52%)


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Details Emerge on Russia’s Planned Golden Visa Program: Investments Starting at $130,000

Some six months have passed since IMI first reported that Russia was planning to launch a residence-by-investment program. Yesterday, the Ministry of Economy (Minek) divulged detailed plans on pricing and structure.

When Minek first published its draft bill in May, it clarified that before releasing detailed requirements, it would conduct a study of “approaches in various countries, trying to find the best options.” That exploratory phase now appears to have concluded, as Minek this week offered a first glance at precisely under which conditions it will consider granting residency in exchange for investment.

According to Izvestia, the program will have the following 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 establushment of a Russian company with an initial capital investment of at least RUB 10 million and the employment of 10 Russians.
  • The acquisitoin 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.

First deputy head of Minek, Mikhail Babich, said the program was aimed at raising investments from ” foreign citizens interested in investing in our economy, but not create false preconditions for obtaining a migration status.”

Speaking to Izvestia, Ekaterina Isaeva of BEYOND Residence & Citizenship indicated she wasn’t convinced the program would catch on under the terms presented this week, pointing out that more economical options were available in countries that traditionally attract far more migration than Russia. If the program offers a viable path to Russian citizenship, however, that could make a big difference in uptake, she pointed out, especially among applicants from Africa and the Middle East.

Other factors that may quell demand for the program are reported Russian language proficiency requirements, as well as residence permit holders’ obligation to declare foreign bank accounts.

More Policy Updates

The Ministry of Economy has offered a first glance at precisely under which conditions it will grant residency in exchange for investment.

See requirements and forms, procedures, the code of conduct, the licensing requirements, the policy handbook, and analysis of the MEIN here.

Fees on adding dependents after-the-fact are sharply cut and even the future spouses and children of a dependent child may now be included.

 

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“We’ve Never Had So Many Inquiries”: 10 on the Weekend – Patricia Valadas Coriel

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 Patricia Valadas Coriel of Valadas Coriel & Associados.

How do you spend your weekends?
Although we are experiencing very unusual times where most businesses are affected due to the pandemic, our firm has never had so many residence requests and, as a consequence, since June, I have to work every weekend, even if it’s only for a couple of hours. Besides obligations that need to be fulfilled, what I most enjoy about weekends is to spend time with family and friends, travel, do sports, and drink wine. 

What are your top three business goals this year?
Increase our client portfolio, which we have successfully done, expand our team by employing more members, also done, and be known in a medium-to-short term as one of the biggest and most expert immigration law firms in Portugal.

What is your biggest business concern right now?
Travel restrictions, which are affecting and delaying residence requests. Regarding the current chaos everyone is experiencing, I believe that in any crisis there are new business opportunities. Positivity and commitment must always be in place.

Which book is on your night-stand right now?
Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham and The Churchill Factor by Boris Johnson.

I am a Netflix-obsessed viewer and, when I go to bed, I usually can only read 5 pages. Reading is my sleeping pill.

How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?
In 2017, when I met my mentor and dear friend Sandra Jardim Fernandes, a lawyer with 30 years of experience in real estate and who started to work with the Portuguese golden visa program once it was put in place in Portugal, in 2012. Sandra and my father, Joao Coriel, founder of VCA Law Firm, attended some conferences and decided to join forces and expertise. Since that time, Sandra started as of counsel of VCA and is now the head of the immigration department. Everything I know and have learned, Sandra taught me.

What was your proudest moment as a service provider?
Every time a client receives his/her residence card. Our job is inevitably a job focused on people and their lives, concerns, and desires, and being able to assist them in achieving their goals is the most satisfying result. 

Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?
The strong interest from US citizens. We have clients from all over the world but usually they come from countries where possibilities, quality of life, safety, and stability are lacking. It’s surprising to note that so many citizens from the most powerful nation are wishing to relocate to Europe.

If you could go 10 years back in time, what business decision would you change?
Life is good, I would not change anything.

Every rock in the road is a learning experience. I feel professionally fulfilled and my eyes are focused on the future, what can be improved and achieved. I am a very driven person and small, daily successes make me feel accomplished.

What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?
My dear mentor and colleague Sandra Jardim Fernandes, because of her knowledge, compassion for others, life experience, and fun personality. It is a pleasure and joy to be working together.

If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?
Travelling frequently to promote Portugal and Europe, having representative offices in five or more strategic places, tripling the number of team members, participating in as many conferences as possible, writing more articles, and having quality holidays in beachy and sunny destinations more often.

More From 10 on The Weekend

Patricia Valadas Coriel is surprised that citizens of the world’s most powerful nation have such a strong interest in relocating to Portugal.

“10 years ago,” writes Nirbhay Handa, “I had long hair, played in a band, and let’s just say I wasn’t making any great decisions.”

Farzin Yazdi is upset that “a few bad actors see migrants as naïve and an easy catch for a scam,” and admires the work of Bruno L’ecuyer’s IMC.

 

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