The new year 2020 will witness more challenges to the Citizenship-by-Investment industry, yet it will keep on growing. “The EU officials would love to bring us down, yet they won’t succeed” – that’s the unanimous expert opinion voiced by an industry insider from Astons Immigration UK.
Each year brings along thousands of passports and residence permits. About one hundred countries offer Residency-by-Investment (RIP) visas to wealthy investors. About a dozen countries offer CIP, including the Caribbean states, Vanuatu and some EU countries. Costs of obtaining another residency or nationality may differ from $150,000 in the island of Vanuatu up to £2 million for a Tier 1 British visa.
The EU officials have been increasingly concerned with who procures EU passports. Apparently, a passport issued by one EU member allows its holder to live, work and study in any EU country. Some officials were preoccupied of CIP as a loophole for money laundering and tax evasion. Indeed, Bulgaria and Cyprus withdrew citizenship from nefarious individuals, yet law-abiding investors have nothing to worry about as long as they have no criminal affiliations and submit the application correctly.
The EU position on investment migration also impacts non-EEA countries offering these routes. For instance, Caribbean passports unlock visa-free travel to the Schengen zone. The EU has even conceived a requirement for such entrants to register online beforehand.
To protect its interests, the migration investment industry takes effective measures, such as thorough due diligence checks. Foreign investment is a crucial source of revenue for smaller economies such as Vanuatu or the Caribbean states. Even in the EU, Malta relies heavily on CIP and boosts its development and infrastructural projects due to investment migration.
The industry maintains that the ratio of nefarious investors is very limited. Applicants mostly seek a second citizenship due to political or financial instability at home, or to provide higher living standards and better education for their family. Also, the percentage of investment migrants is only a drop in the ocean compared to other forms of travel and migration.
‘The EU officials tend to tamper with the member states’ visa regimes, yet they find it difficult. Like it or not, they have to accept this thriving industry and its potential’, comments an expert from Astons Immigration UK.
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