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The Mobility Standard #3: David Lesperance – The Bulletproof Backup Plan

In this third episode of the Mobility Standard, we had the pleasure of hosting David Lesperance, an internationally recognized expert on what he himself calls “backup plans”, by which he means comprehensive structures aimed at protecting your person, your family, and your assets from anything from black swan events and natural disasters to avaricious politicians and criminals. 

We asked David about a range of his favorite subjects including:

  • US expatriations
    What’s really going on with Americans renouncing their citizenships? Some say the numbers falling, others insist it’s at all-time highs but that the real numbers are obscured. What’s the reality?
  • Wealth taxes
    What are the latest developments around wealth taxes around the world? How are the rich protecting themselves against quickly rising tax burdens by investing in alternative citizenships and residencies?
  • The bulletproof backup plan
    As globalization increasingly goes into reverse and a more regionalized, geopolitically less stable world emerges in the wake of COVID, what does a bullet-proof Backup plan look like? If you want to keep being able to enjoy global freedom to travel, trade, and settle, what flags do you need to plant and where? 
  • Citizenship-based taxation during the remote-work era
    At the very same time that the highest earners have discovered they can work remotely, the states and countries in which they live have decided to raise taxes drastically. A lot of them will be asking, “why shouldn’t I move to a lower-tax jurisdiction”. What will the political reflex in rich countries be? Is it a proliferation of citizenship-based taxation?

Below, you’ll find an excerpt of some of the more salient moments of the episode:

US missions “refusing to schedule” renunciation appointments

Questioned as to the true levels of Americans giving up their citizenship, David Lesperance offered a detailed account of the disparity between the number of Americans trying to renounce, the number that is able to, and the number of renunciations that are reported.

“You have a huge backlog,” commented Lesperance. “In fact, the US embassy in Bern is reporting they have 400 people on their waiting list to schedule appointments for renunciation. And you have to remember: That’s just one of 307 US missions abroad.”

The reported numbers don’t reflect current demand, explains Lesperance, first because there’s a 12-18 month lag between the renunciation and the publishing date of that event, and second because many US diplomatic missions downright decline to take renunciation appointments, ostensibly out of public health concerns. He estimates the true number of renunciations awaiting is in the tens of thousands, at least.

The press, he adds, were quick to attribute record renunciations in late 2016 to Trump’s election, and the even greater numbers in early 2020 to COVID, neither of which were related events.

“COVID wasn’t even a twinkle in a bat’s eye at the time those [renunciations] that were only now getting reported actually took place.”

See also:

The post-pandemic backlash against the rich

In the United States, Lesperance points out, the rich know this money will have to come from them because there is no VAT, which means the Washington is far more reliant on personal income taxes for funding than their European counterparts. With a change in the political discourse, the wealthy are seeing the writing on the wall.

“You are seeing people of means do what humans naturally want to do, which is to protect themselves and their families. And the people of means have the ability to do that better than the vast majority of the population. Governments have responded [to the pandemic] with stimulus and spending, and they’re going to need more money. […]The conversation has turned from ‘let’s get money for good stuff’ […] to ‘let’s take money from bad people’, and ‘there shouldn’t be any billionaires or pandemic profiteers’.”

Wealth taxes, he says, are but one manifestation of that, which is why we are seeing proposals for such levies in places like Mexico, the UK, the US, and even Singapore, while Argentina has already imposed one. In the episode, Lesperance discusses some of the many tools HNWIs have at their disposal to protect themselves through tax, residency, and citizenship planning.

Separate your a** from your assets

“You have to look at residency, citizenship, and domiciles as you do any other type of asset class; you look at it as a portfolio,” says Lesperance when questioned about what a “bulletproof” backup plan might look like. “You have to have assets in different jurisdictions. I, for example, have a NAFTA-asset through my Canadian citizenship, I have an EU asset [through permanent residency in Poland], I could very easily get an asset in another group, like New Zealand/Australia, or an ASEAN-country.”

But residency, citizenship, and settlement rights diversification alone are not enough, he emphasizes.

“With regards to your money, one of the things I always tell my clients is that we can separate where you are from where your money is. I call it separating your a** from your assets.”

Learn many more of Lesperance’s strategies by listening to the full episode.

More episodes of the Mobility Standard:

The post The Mobility Standard #3: David Lesperance – The Bulletproof Backup Plan appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Podcast: Pandemic’s Lessons for IM Programs and the Impact of a North Macedonian CIP

For investment migration, 2020 was a year of both setbacks and of considerable advances. While the pandemic brought record global awareness of the usefulness of alternative citizenships and residencies, it also made putting investment migration plans into practice far more difficult.

Some programs have seen record application volume while others have seen it collapse. Service providers speak of a sharp rise in demand, but also difficulty in catering to it.

In this second episode of our new podcast, the Mobility Standard, we discuss how different investment migration programs performed in 2020, and ask which lessons may be gleaned from those observations.

We’ll try to explain the divergence in performance during the pandemic between Greece and Portugal, and why the Caribbean was able to carry on with business as usual. We want to know whether there is something besides the pandemic that explains the sharp decline in EB-5 applications over the last year, and also try to map out the regional center program’s future beyond its June 30th expiry date.

Ahmad wants Stephane Tajick, our guest in this episode and the designated Canadian, to explain why Canada, an ostensibly immigrant-loving country, keeps making it harder to immigrate.

We want to know if 2020’s reportedly sharp rise in inquiries will translate into actual applications in 2021, and also try to understand which markets will be the biggest sources of investors in the next few years.

Finally, we have to talk a little bit about the biggest news story this week; the heralded opening of a North Macedonian CIP, and what effect that will have on the competitive balance of European CIPs.


  • 02:16: What explains the sharp divergence in performance between the Greek and Portuguese golden visas in 2020?
  • 07:36: Why were applications and approvals for the Caribbean CIPs relatively unaffected by the pandemic?
  • 11:31: What, except the pandemic, explains the sharp downturn in applications and approvals for the US EB-5 program in 2020?
  • 13:00: Moment of Truth for the EB-5 program. What happens after June 30th?
  • 19:46: Why does “immigrant-loving” country Canada keep making it harder for people to immigrate?
  • 24:43: Many firms have reported tremendous increases in the number of inquiries about investment migration programs in 2020 but, so far, this hasn’t translated into a corresponding increase in applications. What’s behind this schism?
  • 32:03: Which are the next big source markets for investment migration?
  • 36:52: A small crisis in the Vietnamese investment migration market
  • 39:06: Which programs will absorb the strong demand that existed for the now-closed Cyprus CIP?
  • 44:57: How will the increasingly likely prospect of a North Macedonian CIP affect the competitive position of other CIPs in Europe and the Caribbean?

The post Podcast: Pandemic’s Lessons for IM Programs and the Impact of a North Macedonian CIP appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

First Episode of IMI’s New Podcast, The Mobility Standard, Out Now

IMI finally has its own podcast: The Mobility Standard. Listen to Episode 1 today: The Rise of Western Investor Migrants.

In the podcast, IMI’s editor, Christian Nesheim, as well as Rogelio Caceres, Ahmad Abbas, and expert guest speakers dissect current events, trends, and crucial questions related to investment migration.

To begin with, we’ll be producing an episode every other week, inviting a new guest each time.

Episode 1: The New Investment Migration Market and the Rise of Western Investor Migrants

In this inaugural episode, there’s no guest but the three co-hosts discuss one of the most momentous market trends to emerge in the last year: The rise of Western investor migrants.

2020 has seen a surge in investment migration among applicants from countries we tend not to think of as typical outbound investment migration markets and we ask:

Is this just a flash in the pan that will revert to normal when the pandemic is over? If not, what does it mean for investment migration programs, service providers, and applicants?

We discuss how different citizenship and residence by investment programs have evolved to cater to the preferences of non-Western applicants, and how they might need to change to start attracting a Western audience.

We also ask: Now that the pandemic has kickstarted awareness of investment migration products among Americans, how can the industry capitalize on this unique historical period to make sure that awareness remains and even grows?

We have submitted the show to most of the leading podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify, the latter of which has already listed us, which means you can follow the show there now by clicking this link. Our Apple Podcast and Google Podcast listings should be available within a week.

The Mobility Standard will have a permanent home on IMI here.

We also invite you, the listeners, to send in your questions ahead of the next episode. If we’re able to answer them, we’ll do so next time we air.

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