To pursue Citizenship by Investment or not to pursue Citizenship by Investment? That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles by investing in your future and by opposing end them. We at the Global Indian Series incline to the latter view. Here are 5 reasons why Wealthy POI’s Should Consider Citizenship by Investment.
Security is peace of mind. It keeps the wolf from the door. It is knowing that you and your family are safe. It is being able to sleep soundly at night knowing that all is well. And it is the first reason why wealthy POI’s should consider Citizenship by Investment.
CBI can be likened to an insurance policy. Just as insurance is a means protecting yourself from financial loss, so Citizenship by Investment can be a means protecting yourself against loss of citizenship. After all you insure your possessions, why not your very security and quality of life?
The riots of 2021 in South Africa made many Indian South Africans feel they were under siege. In what was some of the worst civil unrest South Africa had witnessed since the end of Apartheid, businesses were targeted and many people of Indian origin took up arms to defend themselves. Nationwide, more than 340 people died in the mayhem, many in stampedes or circumstances that remain unclear: https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/556535255/global-indian-series-boldly-highlights-mistreatment-of-indians-in-south-africa
The unrest soon took on an ugly racial turn and although the South African Government succeeded in quashing the riots, it is plain to see much anti-India sentiment remains. To know what the unrest was like at first hand, check out our podcast with Jashree Parasuramen: https://globalindianseries.com/on-ground-with-jayshree-parasuramen-south-africa-riots/
Over 1.4 million Indians live in South Africa, most of whom live in Durban, one of the worst hit cities. Not unnaturally, many wealthy Indian South Africans are turning to Citizenship by Investment if the balloon goes up.
If you live in a country where you do not feel welcome, the perhaps obtaining the citizenship of another country can be a wise policy. Alarmist? On the contrary. Anti-Indian sentiment is on the rise. We do not want to draw a comparison with Uganda 1972 when the Idi Amin expelled… 50 000 Asians. However, the point we would make is this: if you want a simple, though perhaps costly way of ensuring a safer future for your family, Citizenship by Investment is definitely worth pursuing.
Even in Britain, that great bastion of liberty and tolerance is not without its problems for South Asians. The controversial Borders and Nationality Bill will in all likelihood become law in due course and when it does, it will give the state unprecedented powers to remove citizens of their citizenship without informing them.
There is no telling these powers will be used responsibly by future Governments. The fact is that though, many of their fears are, one hopes, unfounded it has many South Asians concerned for their future. There have been miscarriages of justice. The recent case of a British Bangladeshi man whose citizenship the Home Office removed, thus making him stateless.
So to those who this is scaremongering we say remember the plight of this man. To those who say that if you have done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to fear, we say: in an ideal world, yes, but the law is not infallible. Even Homer nods. In the event of a 9/11 like attack, politicians are apt to act rashly.
So when it comes to mitigating personal risk whether it is the rise of anti-Indian sentiment or indeed anything else, there are few better ways of doing than by Citizenship By Investment.
2. Freedom of Movement
Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts that:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.”
“Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic which struck in 2020, restrictions on freedom of movement were introduced by many of the world’s governments. At present, New Zealand denies entry to all travellers except residents of Australia.
Before Covid, many of us took freedom of movement for granted. Lockdowns have many of us to reflect on what hitherto by an inviolable right and indeed to revaluate where we live. Over the last 18 months, many countries have banned entry to all but their own citizens. Spain did just that between December 2020 and May 2021 when the Spanish government denied entry to British nationals unless they were residents in Spain.
For Many Britons, Brexit has undoubtedly further complicated matters. That is why man Britons (many of whom are of Indian origin) and indeed those living on the Continent are turning to Citizenship by Investment as a solution. It is also the second reason why wealthy POI’s should consider Citizen by Investment
Residency in a EU country and indeed citizenship with many Caribbean countries allows one to travel visa-free within the Schengen zone. This is proving a real boon for those who do business or who have a second home in a country within the Schengen area.
3. Quality of Life
Naturally, this applies for the most part to Residency by Investment. Whether it is café culture and the splendours of Italian architecture, a pleasant climate, a safe tax environment, better prospects or excellent universities, and access to healthcare taking up residence in another country brings a myriad of benefits, many of them hard to quantify.
4. CBI Makes Financial sense
Many CBI scheme lure you with the promise of a favourable tax regime
Take St. Kitts, for example whose much-respected Citizen by Investment Programme was established in 1983. As St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister puts it, “It’s a very easy tax environment in which they are going to participate they will find a government that is most facilitating in this regard additionally they will find an environment which is conducive to investment at the same time respect property rights.”
He further points out that “They will be investing in a country that is close to the United States of America and has strong relationships financial diplomatic and other forms of relationships with all of the major financial sectors in the world including London with which we have had a history going back since 1623, the United Kingdom was for a very long time our mother country in a manner of speaking until 1983 when we obtained Independence from Great Britain and so United States is our closest neighbour and super power we have excellent relations with Canada.”
It is worth noting all of the Caribbean schemes offer the lightest of tax burdens: no gift, wealth, inheritance, capital gains, or foreign income tax. Moreover, there is no restriction on imported capital and repatriation of profits. The Bahamas, Dominica, Nevis and Barbados are all regarded as tax havens
5. Giving Back
And so to our most controversial reason. How much does a country’s CBI programme contribute to the commonweal? To what extent does it improve the lot of the poor?
Most countries which tout CBI insist that their schemes give back. The argument goes something like this: The CBI programme raises money, money which can be invested back in the community. What is more, it attracts investments, which in turn provides jobs.
Some countries excel at ensuring its CBI and CRI scheme are equitable and are of real benefit. To apply for residency in Portugal, for example, you can choose to have your ‘contribution’ transferred into a Portuguese bank account or approved investments or you can elect to earmark 500,000 for research activities of public or private entities that are part of the national scientific and technological system.
alternatively, you can donate EUR 250,000 in support of artistic production or in the recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage
This is by no means true of all schemes, but it is true to say many countries have been at pains to use the revenue by ‘Migration investment’ wisely.
If we set aside the rights and wrongs, of what the doyen of CBI Dr. Christian Kälin calls ‘Sovereign equity’, for sheer ROI the CBI and indeed CRI are the way to go: https://chriskalin.com/media_coverage/870/
So, there you have it: 5 reasons why wealthy POI’s should consider Citizenship by Investment.