Fear + money makes for a powerful cocktail. If you are ultra-rich, keen to protect your business interests and your family, then you will stop at nothing to do so. Naturally, if you and your family are interested in acquiring citizenship of another country, then you want to see a good return with your investment. 1000 have citizenship- and resident-by-investment schemes. Of those 30 are regarded good by most pundits, the other 70 have their problems. Some schemes have been mired by allegations corruption and money laundering. Hence the importance of making an informed choice. Such scandals damage the reputation of countries and may well devalue your nice new shiny passport. Perceptions matter.
Citizenship has become the go-to way for the rich to safeguard their futures. Now, there are a number of countries (particularly in the Caribbean) you can effectively buy a passport and the rights of residency within a matter of months and all that that implies, for a fee as little as $100 000. It’s all then rage. But it pays to do your homework.
Citizen-by investment programmes offer numerous benefits, including:
- A better quality of life
- Mobility — Having a second, third or even fourth passport from countries with visa-free access to other countries gives one the ability to travel without the headache of visas.
- Security —In times of political strife, having the right to live in another country can be a matter of life and death.
- Education — With citizenship, comes the right to education in the country in which you settle.
- Financial planning — An alternative economic security and greater returns from investments. In addition, they may well be tax breaks to be had
The Gift of the Gift
In law there are three paths to citizen enshrined in three legal precepts:
1) Jus Sanguinius-as the Latin suggests, is the ‘right of blood. The principle states that citizenship is determined or acquired by the nationality or ethnicity of one or both parents
2) Jus Soli- ‘The right of soil’. Deriving from Roman law, this is the principle whereby someone has the right to citizenship if he is born within the territory of a country.
3) Jus doni-‘the right of the gift.’ This new principle states that the right of citizenship can be acquired by a monetary contribution to the country in which citizenship is sought.
The term was coined by immigration and citcitizenship law specialist Christian Kälin, the father of the citizenship by investment industry.
The Industry is Booming
All the indications are that the demand for citizen by investment, investment migration, and alternative citizenship has risen exponentially since the Pandemic struck.
Just as investors turn to gold in uncertain time, increasingly the rich and powerful are turning to citizenship and residence-by-investment programmes in record numbers.
As a result, the industry is booming, as clients from Europe, the US, India and South Asia are taking steps to ensure they have the right to travel, invest and in some instances, reside in various countries around the world running the gamut from Portugal to Guyana.
The Harvey Law Group
With demand so high, so there is no shortage of supply not only from countries keen to milk this increasingly lucrative cashew but also by firms such as the Harvey Law Group in Boston. They are specialists in Plan-B Contingency plans. Established in 1992 by Jean François Harvey, Harvey Law Group (HLG) has quickly become a much sought after law firm that has with an enviable reputation for acumen and sound advice.
They have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the intricacies of citizenship and residency-by-investment programmes. Whatever your reasons for pursuing citizenship (access to healthcare, the right to live and work, the entree into other markets without the headache of Visas) they can help. For a hefty fee of course.
If you have the means (and their clients do and then some) Citizenship-by-investment programs are the most effective way to secure an alternative citizenship and passport with all its benefits, in exchange of a dedicated investment.
Such is the demand for economic investment, firms such as the Harvey Law group are springing up all over the world. They are being inundated with inquiries. It seems bad times make for good business.
Brexit has been a major factor behind rising demand in Britain, as clients pursue the rights of residency in E.U. Countries.
The Nationality and Borders Bill
So, has the controversial Nationality and Borders Bill. Ministers say the new legislation aims to make the asylum system fairer to protect those in genuine need, deter illegal entry to the UK and remove asylum seekers who have no legal right to be here.
The Bill also gives Border Force officers the power to turn migrants away from the UK while at sea, and makes it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK without permission.
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has said that the Bill would tackle illegal immigration and the “underlying pull factors into the UK’s asylum system.”
Plans to strip people of British citizenship have drawn criticism in many quarters. Prominent Conservative MP, David Davis, described these powers as “uncivilised” and “legally disputable. Indeed, he tabled a motion to have the ‘without notification’ cause to be removed from the act. In this, he failed, as the Act was passed in its entirety.
As it stands, the Bill enables citizenship to be removed without notice if it would “not be reasonably practicable.”
There is anecdotal evidence that many ethnic minorities (particularly South Asians with British citizenship) fear for their futures.
While these fears will probably remain unfounded, there is perception in some quarters that Bill undermines the hitherto sacrosanct principle of citizenship. Particularly troubling has been the clause, which gives the Government the right to strip someone of citizenship without notification.
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, assured the house that this law would only be invoked when a citizen posed a real threat to the country and when him or her would compromise sensitive intelligence sources.
Demand has also been high in South Africa, again particularly amongst Indian South Africans. The riots of 2021 have given many people of Indian origin pause and those who can afford it are actively pursuing residency in safer more stable countries.
The Citizenship by Investment Sweet Shop
But where does one go? There is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to Citizen by Investment programmes. Much depends on your reasons for seeking alternative citizenship.
The most popular path to residency in the E.U. is that of Portugal. Portugal’s Golden Residency Programme, which allows those who invest at least €500,000 (US$568,230) in real estate or €350,000 in venture capital the right to apply for residency is proving popular.
The program has awarded 10, 170 since its inception in 2012 and generated €5.5 billion in investment, with China, Brazil and South Africa leading the demand, and the U.K. and U.S. beginning to represent a larger share of applications.
CIP have come under fire in recent years for an alleged lack of transparency and accountability. Some critics are calling for more robust regulations. Many quite rightly insist on better checks and vetting procedures so as to avoid unscrupulous individuals gaming the system.
Grenada, Belize, and Ireland have all suspended CIPs in the past after it came to light that the programme had been unlawfully exploited.
To become a citizen of the Caribbean island of Dominica, which sits between Guadeloupe and Martinique, you’ll need an investment of $100,000, with no requirement to spend any time on the island and no waiting time.
And it’s the same price tag for St. Lucia. One of the key benefits is that you get more bang for your buck, as it were. For the paltry sum of $100 000, you get the following:
- Citizenship and a second passport for life for the applicant and dependent family members
- Children 30 and below as well as parents over 55 can be included in the application
- Unmarried siblings of the Main Applicant under 18 can also be included in the application
- Visa-free travel/entry to over 140 countries
- Visa Free access to Schengen Area
- Enjoy multiples tax incentives
- No requirement to reside in Saint Lucia
- No management, educational or language requirements
- English as official language and safe environment
St. Kits and Nevis ask for a $150 000 ‘donation for an applicant with up to three dependents. Benefits? Citizenship for life guaranteed, duel citizenship is permitted, Visa-free travel/entry to over 150 countries, taxes are low, no residency requirement, speedy processing times, no qualifications required. Alternatively, you can plump for real estate option: minimum value $ 200 000 which must be held for at least seven years.
The wealthy will always find out to protect their interests. Citizenship by Investment is but one weapon in the arsenal.
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