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“The Sector is Benefitting From the Instability”: Investment Migration People in the News This Week

Investment migration people in the news this week include:

  • David Regueiro of RIF Trust
  • Tony Ebraheem of 111 Immigration
  • Preeya Malik of Step Global
  • Imran Farooq of AAA Associates Immigration
  • Sadir Al Kherdaji, of Al Kherdaji International Legal Consultants
  • Tiago Camara of PTGoldenVisa
  • Kristin Surak
  • Maryam Djafarpour of Savory & Partners
  • Christian Kälin, Jürg Steffen, and Stuart Wakeling of Henley & Partners
  • Armand Arton of Arton Capital
  • David Lesperance of Lesperance & Associates
  • Jason Porter of Blevins Franks
  • John Hanafin of Huriya Private
  • Arthur Sarkisian of Astons

Gulf News: Why are the wealthy investing in residence and citizenship planning amid pandemic?

“The pandemic has meant that even more wealthy people have felt hemmed in by borders and are likely to hedge the risk in the future by ensuring they can move smoothly across them and spend time in desirable locales,” says professor Kristin Surak from the London School of Economics in her recent research on the uptake of residence by investment programmes in the European Union.


Maryam Djafarpour, International Business Development Manager, Savory and Partners, echoes the same, as she says, “Over the past decade, we have learned that you can never be too prudent to forecast the future. Investment migration is a constantly evolving industry. However, the lockdowns and grounding of flights have made everyone yearn for mobility. This emphasises how we take mobility and freedom for granted. Such disruptions of a global magnitude have created instability within regions leading to an increased demand in the sector.”

A recent study published by residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners also points to an accelerated growth of investment migration amid Covid-19, which has now become a standard consideration for international HNWIs who are looking to hedge volatility, create short-term value as well as long-term yield through enhanced global mobility.

The firm has recorded a 25 per cent increase in the number of HNWIs enquiring about citizenship by investment (CBI) as opposed to residence by investment (RBI) programmes since the outbreak of the virus, indicating that wealthy international investors are considering a more permanent change. “Investment migration has matured from being a luxury lifestyle product to become a sophisticated investment choice, and the Covid-19 fallout has put a spotlight on the many benefits of strategic residence and citizenship planning,” says Dr Juerg Steffen, CEO, Henley & Partners, in a press statement.


“The sector is currently benefiting from all the instability we are living worldwide at the moment — pandemic, conflicts and wars, travel bans, unemployment and bankruptcy, among others,” says Tiago Camara, Partner, PTGoldenVisa, which specialises in investment migration in Portugal.


“Demand for Caribbean citizenship has been incredibly high as the pandemic has shown us yet another reason why it is so important to diversify one’s citizenship and not be reliant on a single country,” says David Regueiro, COO, RIF Trust.


In real estate investments, more than 75 per cent of the total cost of the programme are invested in one of the approved projects in the country and the initially invested amount must be maintained for a minimum period, usually for five years before the investor can sell it, explains Tony Ebraheem, Founder and Lawyer, 111 Immigration. “Obtaining second citizenship through investments in real estate in Turkey is one of the most popular options. Demand for real estate investments for a passport is strong in Portugal, Grenada, and Dominica as well,” he adds.


“The current investment amount for the EB-5 programme is $500,000 within certain geographical areas in the US,” says Preeya Malik, Managing Director, Step Global.


“The pandemic has taught us many lessons. One of them is the importance of having an alternative citizenship or a strong second passport, preferably of a country, which allows worldwide freedom of travel in times when circumstances are not in one’s favour, such as Covid-19-related travel restrictions imposed by some countries,” says Imran Farooq, CEO, AAA Associate Immigration Services.


“Migrant entrepreneurs often face a range of legal challenges, from establishing and maintaining their businesses, meeting the start-up visa requirements and complying with the host country laws, to dealing with capital transfer restrictions as regulated by the investor’s own country as well as the host state,” explains Dr Sadir Al Kherdaji, Managing Director, Al Kherdaji International Legal Consultants.

As is the custom when the firm releases updates to its passport index, Henley & Partners featured in a wide range of well-known publications this week. Some of the more notable mentions:

Arton Capital’s Passport Index also received a number of mentions this week, particularly in the MENA region:

Arabian Business: Ras Al Khaimah to offer long-term residency visas as part of new investment push

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has announced a high-impact investment programme that aims to position the emirate as one of the most preferred tourism destinations in affordable luxury.

Endorsed by the government of Ras Al Khaimah, the new initiative, SelectRAK, is rolled out in partnership with Arton Capital, a government advisory company that focuses on promoting public-private partnerships that energise economies around the world.


“There is immense potential in Ras Al Khaimah, and we look forward to contributing over two centuries of collective team experience to this exciting initiative. SelectRAK will showcase the benefits of investing in the Emirate on the global stage,” said Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital.

International Adviser: Can golden visas help UK expats rescue EU retirement dreams?

Jason Porter, director at Blevins Franks, said that golden visas can offer an alternative to the restrictions, but there is, indeed, a catch, “as the freedom only exists between the UK and the EU member state you are applying to”.


Both Stuart Wakeling, head of London office at Henley & Partners, and John Hanafin, chief executive of Huriya Private, said there has been an increasing number of applications for golden visas from UK nationals.

Hanafin said: “Since the British became non-Europeans in January this year, EU golden visa programmes have officially allowed British citizens to start applying. In fact, the biggest uplift in both Portugal and Greek programmes have been British and Americans.”

Wakeling added: “Henley & Partners has seen a nearly 60% increase in enquiries relating to investment migration programme options from UK nationals since 2019.”


Arthur Sarkisian, managing director of Astons, said golden visas have been proving very popular as the application process is quite quick and “straightforward”.

“Many British expats now face tougher restrictions with regard to the time spent living within the EU. This will most certainly require a period of adjustment although the route of citizenship or residency via investment could provide a far easier path to life outside of the UK.

The Street: Cryptocurrency Price Check: Binance Hit With U.K. Ban

David Lesperance, managing partner of Lesperance & Associates, said that businesspeople who fall out of government favor in China “do not have a history of longevity for their freedom.”

“One half of the coin is escaping the wrath of Chinese authorities,” he said, “the other is finding a safe haven for your family and your business. “

Lesperance said Bitcoin miners need a back-up plan to protect themselves and their families from a personal backlash from the Chinese government.

They also need the ability to set up operations in a location which has low price energy; rule of law to protect their business; and  a supply of trained local staff to operate their facilities. 

“The crypto-exchange clients also need a personal Backup Plan for themselves and their families,” Lesperance said. “However, their business needs are different. They need to establish their exchange in a location which will allow them to operate and thrive in a legal environment which will allow them to meet the incoming regulation of the US, UK, EU and others.”

The post “The Sector is Benefitting From the Instability”: Investment Migration People in the News This Week appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

36 Years of Citizenship by Investment


In recent years, Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIP) have become the favoured route to a second passport. Holding citizenship in another country is a gateway to several benefits and opportunities that can secure a prosperous future for an individual and his/her family. It is easy to see why so many people from every corner of the globe are keen to become an investor in one of these sought-after programs.

The process of obtaining citizenship through investment was first implemented in 1984 by the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis with other countries following suit shortly after.

Today, nations all around the world have implemented CIPs as a means to second citizenship, leaving businesspeople and high-net-worth individuals overwhelmed with choices. With all these options available, we take a look back at the last 36 years of Citizenship by Investment programs and which new countries may soon be joining the ranks.


St Kitts and Nevis: from US $150,000
Widely considered the market pioneer for citizenship by investment programs, the St Kitts model for due diligence and processing has been emulated by CIPs the world over. Close to 20,000 passports have been issued to date. As of July 2020, St. Kitts and Nevis has reduced the family donation for its CIP from USD 195,000 to USD 150,000 for a limited time only (available until December 31st 2020).

Ireland: from £1 million
Shuttered in 1998 and subsequently replaced by the Irish Immigrant Investor Program, the Irish CIP received its fair share of controversy over irregularities involving Saudi and Pakistani investors.


Belize: from US $10,000
Following in St Kitts and Nevis’ footsteps, Belize launched a formal CIP that ran until 2002, when it was discontinued due to US pressure over 9/11 related security fears. It was by far the cheapest Caribbean CIP during the 1990s.


Marshall Islands: from US $50,000
Around 2,000 passports were sold over the program’s 10-year lifespan, mainly to Chinese nationals. A Taiwanese company was authorised to promote this ad hoc CIP and allegations of misconduct were rife. While the country enjoyed a mutual visa waiver agreement with the USA at the time, naturalised citizens ofthe Marshall Islands were required to apply for a travel visa to enter the USA.


Commonwealth of Dominica: from US $100,000
This Commonwealth country has been operating a CIP since 1993 and is the second program of its kind to launch in the Caribbean. The Dominica program was halted during the late 1990s but regained traction a decade later.


Cyprus: from €2.15 million 
Cyprus was the first EU member state to launch a CIP, albeit at a far higher price point than its global competitors. Cypriot economic citizenship to this day affords investors exceptional global mobility, tax optimisation and settlement rights.

Please note that this program has been discontinued as of November 2020.


Montenegro: from €350,000
At an initial price point of €500,000, the Montenegro CIP gained very little market traction upon launch. The revised version of the program, introduced during 2018, now requires a government donation of €100,000 and a property investment of either €250,000 or €450,000, depending on where the project is located. 


Grenada: from US $150,000
The Grenada Economic Citizenship Program faced strong political opposition upon launch, selling citizenship for only US $40,000. The program collapsed over irregularities in 2001 but was subsequently relaunched in 2013 as the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program. 

Antigua and Barbuda: from US $100,000
By emulating the St. Kitts and Nevis model, the Antigua and Barbuda CIP quickly gained significant market share as a leading Caribbean program. It is mainly sought out by foreign investors for its attractive price point for families – where a family of up to 4 can obtain second citizenship from as little as US $100,000.


Malta: from €1.2 Million
Boasting four-tier due diligence and more visa-free destinations than any other investment citizenship program, the Malta Individual Investor Program is today considered the industry gold standard for CIPs. The program is currently undergoing significant changes, with prices set to increase.

Vanuatu: from US $130,000
Vanuatu’s CBI program is the only one of its kind in the Asia-Pacific Hemisphere and is renowned for its quick and efficient application process. Applicants interested in the program are required to make a one-time, non-refundable monetary contribution to the Development Support Program (DSP).


St Lucia: from US $100,000
St Lucia was the fifth Caribbean nation to launch a CIP. Offering a range of investment options, including government donations (from US $100,000), bond investments (US $250,000+) or the purchase of government-approved real estate (US $300,000+), the St Lucia CIP had issued over 630 investment passports by as early as 2019. 


Turkey: from US $250,000
The Turkish CIP was initially launched with a minimum investment requirement of US $1 million, but due to a lack of market response, the investment threshold was subsequently reduced to US $250,000. Significantly, the program requires applicants to maintain their investment for only 3 years. Unsurprisingly, it has fast become one of the most popular CIPs in the world, processing over 1,000 applications by as early as July 2019.


Jordan: from US $1 million
Given the hefty price tag and the fact that the Jordanian passport does not offer visa-free access to the EU, the industry did not expect the Jordan CIP to gain much traction. Yet surprisingly, the program received over 100 applications in the first six months since launch.

Moldova: from €100,000
Priced at only €100,000, the Moldova CIP looked set to take the European market by storm – except it didn’t. Suspended shortly after launch, the program was recently discontinued as the country’s CBI law was repealed due to political pressure, both internally, and from Brussels. 

2020 and beyond…

Earlier in 2020, Kenya’s investment promotion agency indicated that the government is considering a citizenship by investment program. The proposed program objective is to increase foreign direct investment, stimulate job creation, and reduce its sovereign debt. No further announcements have been made to date. 

In addition to planning the relaunch of its golden visa program, the Greek government is reportedly considering the launch of a citizenship by investment program as well. The required investment may potentially be around the €2.5 million mark, setting it on a competitive path against the Cyprus CPI. 

The head of the Slovenian Government’s Strategic Council, Ivan Simič recently announced that the country’s government will consider a proposal to launch a citizenship or residence permit program through investment. The preliminary minimum investment could potentially start at €1 million.

It has been 36 years since St. Kitts and Nevis first launched their CBI program and paved the way for so many other countries to do the same. Since its humble beginnings in 1984, it still remains one of the more preferred programs among its counterparts. The industry continues to evolve and welcome new nations from all corners of the globe that are keen to explore the possibilities of Citizenship by Investment programs and their accompanying benefits. Here’s to three more decades of obtaining citizenship through investment.

Want more information? Visit our individual program pages for more details on all the current citizenship by investment programs, or contact us now for a free consultation.

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