IM Yearbook 2020/21

Born from the need for a global, credible, “go-to” publication, the 3rd IM Yearbook offers valuable access to a prime target audience of top industry influencers, decision makers, and the foremost referral network to the world’s most influential Investment Migration programmes: Government officials such as Heads of CIU’s, policy makers, academics, migration agents, law firms, wealth managers, financial advisors, real estate developers, and international firms involved in investment migration.

Born from the need for a global, credible, “go-to” publication, the 3rd IM Yearbook offers valuable access to a prime target audience of top industry influencers, decision makers, and the foremost referral network to the world’s most influential Investment Migration programmes: Government officials such as Heads of CIU’s, policy makers, academics, migration agents, law firms, wealth managers, financial advisors, real estate developers, and international firms involved in investment migration.


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<strong>IM</strong><br />



Win-Win<br />

Pathways<br />

TO Sustainable<br />

Development<br />

YEARBOOK <strong>2020</strong>/20<strong>21</strong><br />

Affordable and<br />

Clean Energy<br />

Peace, Justice and<br />

Strong Institutions<br />

Reduced Inequalities<br />

Life on Land<br />

Gender Equality<br />

Life Below Water<br />

Clean Water & Sanitation<br />

Sustainable Cities<br />

and Communities<br />

Climate Action


Address: Cnr. Brazil & Mongiraud Streets, Castries, St. Lucia<br />

Email: info@stluciacitizenship.capital<br />

www.stluciacitizenship.capital / www.floissaclawyers.com<br />

T: +1 758 452 2887 M: + 1 758 714 7373<br />


Polaris has been an authorized<br />

agent in St. Lucia from the<br />

programme’s inception. Our team<br />

are all attorneys and have over 50<br />

years combined experience in the<br />

legal, advisory and consultancy<br />

industry.<br />


We are sister company to St.<br />

Lucia’s leading commercial law<br />

firm Floissac Fleming and<br />

Associates, established in St. Lucia<br />

over 60 years ago. By emphasizing<br />

internal due diligence we retain a<br />

100% approval rate on all<br />

submitted CIP applications.<br />


Polaris is founded on family values<br />

and takes a personalized,<br />

proactive and diligent approach to<br />

conducting business with both<br />

clients and partners. We go above<br />

and beyond the call of duty for<br />


from <strong>IM</strong>C Education and Training:<br />

Given the level of scrutiny and challenge that the<br />

Investment Migration (<strong>IM</strong>) industry is currently facing,<br />

now – more than ever – we need to demonstrate high<br />

standards of integrity and processes.<br />

As the <strong>IM</strong> industry matures and its popularity increases,<br />

there is a pressing need to demonstrate that the<br />

sector can regulate itself in an appropriate and<br />

professional manner.<br />

The <strong>IM</strong>C continues to honour its commitment of<br />

setting standards of best practice and enhanced<br />

professionalism. That is why the <strong>IM</strong>C established an<br />

Education and Training division (<strong>IM</strong>CET) that is<br />

mandated with the task of creating a globally<br />

standardised education and training framework<br />

for the <strong>IM</strong> ecosystem.<br />

The professionalisation of the industry (including entry<br />

cornerstone of responsible growth and development for<br />

the future that should be welcomed by all those within and<br />

those evaluating the status and value of the <strong>IM</strong> industry.<br />

The<br />

and only course of its type, worldwide, was launched<br />

by the <strong>IM</strong>C during the <strong>IM</strong> Forum in Geneva in June 2019.<br />

It is aimed to prepare its participants for work in this<br />

competency – thus increasing the sector’s credibility<br />

and providing transparency within it.<br />

designation: Cert (<strong>IM</strong>)<br />

The Objectives of the <strong>IM</strong>C Education and Training Division (<strong>IM</strong>CET)<br />

The development of professional<br />

competencies and standards for<br />

those working in the <strong>IM</strong> industry<br />

Learning opportunities that lead<br />

to <strong>IM</strong>C professional status<br />

The delivery of cutting –<br />

edge professional training<br />

and ongoing competency<br />

development<br />

Education and training for<br />

Promoting integrity, ethics,<br />

transparency and best practices<br />

through education<br />

To register visit https://investmentmigration.org/education/<br />

Organisation in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 2019<br />

Commission Européene / European Commission Joint Transparency Register Secretariat ID: 337639131420-09

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partner<br />

with a<br />

trusted<br />

firm to<br />

expand<br />

your<br />

business?<br />

We are.<br />

5<br />

10<br />

14<br />

18<br />

22<br />

24<br />

28<br />

32<br />

35<br />

36<br />

39<br />

40<br />

45<br />

48<br />

49<br />

51<br />

52<br />

54<br />

59<br />

Contents<br />

In Data<br />


Doubling Down on Progress and Purpose<br />


Transparency & Accountability Will Lead to Credibility<br />



Investment Migration’s Great Inflection Point<br />

COVID-19 <strong>IM</strong>PACT<br />

The Rise of the Regional Citizen<br />



Talking Economic Impact and Opportunity<br />



The EU’s Perspective on Investment Migration<br />


Why the EU’s Top Court Should Clarify EU Law<br />



Corruption is the Real Risk<br />


From Response to Recovery: Antigua and Barbuda<br />

Prepares its Post-Pandemic Economy<br />


Leading Back into Growth<br />



Unwrapping our Cover Story<br />



Towards a New Impact Agenda<br />


What’s going on in…<br />




Three Questions with Nestor Alfred<br />


Montenegro Seeks to Accelerate Economic Growth<br />



Three Questions with Somchai Soongswan,<br />


The Spirit of Dialogue<br />



From the Ground Up: St. Lucia’s Ever-Evolving CIP Pre And Post Covid-19<br />


2<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

60<br />

62<br />

63<br />

65<br />

68<br />

70<br />

75<br />

76<br />

83<br />

89<br />

91<br />

92<br />

96<br />

98<br />

100<br />

102<br />

104<br />

An Entrepreneurial Difference<br />


Lessons from Lockdown: MRVA Sees Productivity Surge during Covid-19 Crisis<br />


American RCBI Investors: A Huge Market Waiting to be Explored<br />


The Many Faces of Business Migration<br />


Entrepreneur Visa Programmes Will See Explosive Growth<br />


Industry Certification Fast Becoming the New Standard<br />



Working with Those You Trust: The Importance<br />

of Experienced Insurance Partners<br />


Never Miss a Red Flag: Is the Standardisation of<br />

Due Diligence the Way Forward?<br />



Real Estate Investment Options: Here to Stay<br />


Don’t Be the Last to Know: The Importance of Monitoring<br />


How we Conduct In-Country Check in a Covid World<br />


Navigating a Changing Mobility Landscape<br />


Explained: Permanent Residency Permit in Cyprus<br />


Investing in a Global Britain<br />


Southeast Asia’s Growth will Outpace China’s<br />



The <strong>IM</strong>PORTANCE OF EB-5 DUE DILIGENCE<br />


Who’s Who<br />


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YEARBOOK <strong>2020</strong>/20<strong>21</strong><br />

All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is strictly prohibited without<br />

the written permission of the publisher. Opinions expressed in <strong>IM</strong> <strong>Yearbook</strong> are<br />

not necessarily those of the editor or publisher. All reasonable care is taken to<br />

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Publication Date: November <strong>2020</strong> • Printing: Gutenberg Press<br />

Publisher: Investment Migration Council - info@investmentmigration.org<br />

Editor: Sonja Lindenberg - sonja@storycom.net • Design: Ramon Micallef - ram@box-design.net<br />

Cover illustration: Giulia Micallef - giuliamicallef@gmail.com • ISBN Nº: 978-99957-1-538-0<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 3

The 5 th Investment Migration Forum<br />

Save the Date<br />

1 st - 4th June <strong>2020</strong><br />

Save the Date<br />

14th-16th June<br />

20<strong>21</strong><br />

The 6 TH Investment<br />

Migration Forum<br />

investmentmigrationforum.org<br />


INDATA<br />

Key Facts<br />

and Figures<br />

100-60-30<br />

There has been an explosion in the investment migration market in recent<br />

years, with as many as 100 countries now offering some of form investment<br />

migration pathway. Around 60 jurisdictions are actively promoting their<br />

pathway and 30 pathways are attracting the largest share of applicants.<br />

In perspective: Seven G-20 members operate some form of investment migration pathways<br />

Migration and<br />

Millionaires –<br />

A Global Overview<br />

in Facts and<br />

Figures<br />

Growth and<br />

expansion have<br />

defined investment<br />

migration in the past<br />

years – a sector<br />

that is intertwined<br />

with global wealth<br />

creation and the<br />

movement of people.<br />

5,000<br />

people are estimated to naturalize<br />

abroad per year via a citizenshipby-investment<br />

programme,<br />

according to the <strong>IM</strong>C.<br />

30%<br />

Roughly 30% of migrating highnet-worth<br />

individuals come<br />

into countries using investor<br />

migration pathways, New<br />

World Wealth found out. The<br />

majority still come in via work<br />

transfers, citizenship by ancestry,<br />

spousal visa and family visa.<br />

4+ million<br />

people are given residence and<br />

citizenship rights in the EU via<br />

other avenues than investment<br />

migration every year.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 5

INDATA<br />

Citizenship<br />

Programmes:<br />

Antigua & Barbuda<br />

Austria<br />

Bulgaria<br />

Cambodia<br />

Cyprus (suspended)<br />

Dominica<br />

Egypt (upcoming)<br />

Grenada<br />

Jordan<br />

Malta (closed)<br />

Moldova (suspended)<br />

Montenegro<br />

St. Kitts & Nevis<br />

St. Lucia<br />

Turkey<br />

Vanuatu<br />

1984<br />

The year when St. Kitts<br />

and Nevis introduced the<br />

first CBI programme.<br />

10%<br />

of all programmes have<br />

been established and<br />

replaced with revised<br />

versions between 2000<br />

and 2015, research<br />

trio Alan Gamlen,<br />

Chris Kutarna and<br />

Ashby Monk found out.<br />

Top Residence<br />

Programmes:<br />

Anguilla<br />

Australia<br />

Canada<br />

Cyprus<br />

France<br />

Greece<br />

Hong Kong<br />

Ireland<br />

Italy<br />

Jersey<br />

Latvia<br />

Malaysia (suspended)<br />

Malta<br />

Monaco<br />

New Zealand<br />

Portugal<br />

Singapore<br />

Spain<br />

Thailand<br />

UAE<br />

UK<br />

USA<br />

90%<br />

of investment<br />

programmes are located<br />

in high income countries<br />

(63%) and upper middleincome<br />

countries (30%).<br />

400+<br />

Timeline:<br />

1984 St. Kitts and Nevis<br />

1993 Dominica<br />

2009 Bulgaria<br />

2013 Antigua & Barbuda<br />

2013 Cyprus<br />

2013 Grenada<br />

2014 Malta<br />

2015 St. Lucia<br />

2017 Turkey<br />

2017 Vanuatu (already ran a programme in the 1990s)<br />

2018 Moldova<br />

2019 Jordan<br />

2019 Montenegro<br />

Several other countries had citizenship<br />

pathways in place at different times in the past.<br />

These include Ireland, whose programme was<br />

terminated in 2001, Belize (until 2002), Cape<br />

Verde, Seychelles, Slovakia, and several others.<br />

550+<br />

Small businesses and<br />

consultancies dominate<br />

the investment migration<br />

sector. There are some<br />

550+ agents licensed<br />

across the world.<br />

80%+<br />

Chinese nationals<br />

account for<br />

approximately 80% of<br />

applicants to any RBI<br />

programme in the world.<br />

Number of <strong>IM</strong>C members coming<br />

from 45 different countries<br />

$3 billion<br />

Value of citizenshipby-investment<br />

€9.2 billion<br />

European countries benefited from investment migration<br />

by receiving €9.2 billion during the 2008-2018 period,<br />

the European Parliament Research Service revealed.<br />

Rising Economic<br />

Importance<br />

Investment migration pathways<br />

contribute anything between 2%<br />

and 30% to countries’ GDP, and<br />

many experts believe that the<br />

programmes’ economic importance<br />

will only rise as countries face Covid-<br />

19 challenges on many fronts.<br />

Up to 50%<br />

Researchers estimate that more<br />

than a third and possibly as many<br />

as half of all investment migration<br />

programmes target applicants<br />

with wealth in the single-digit<br />

millions and require a more passive<br />

investment combined with few<br />

residence requirements.<br />

$100,000<br />

to<br />

$2.4 million<br />

Range of minimum investment<br />

required by different CBI<br />

programmes around the world<br />

6<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

750 Million<br />

People Would<br />

Like to Move<br />

More than 750 million<br />

people worldwide - 15% of<br />

the world’s adults - would<br />

migrate if they could, a<br />

Gallup World Poll survey<br />

found out in 2017. The<br />

countries where potential<br />

migrants say they would<br />

like to move to have more<br />

or less been the same for<br />

the past decade. Roughly<br />

18 countries attract twothirds<br />

of all potential<br />

migrants worldwide. One<br />

in five potential migrants<br />

(<strong>21</strong>%) name the US as their<br />

desired future residence.<br />

Canada, Germany, France,<br />

Australia and the United<br />

Kingdom each appeal to<br />

more than 30 million adults.<br />

Record High:<br />

272 Million<br />

International<br />

Migrants<br />

In 2019, the number of migrants<br />

globally reached an estimated 272<br />

million, the UN’s <strong>2020</strong> World Migration<br />

Report revealed. That’s 51 million<br />

more than in 2010 and almost 100<br />

million more than in 2000. The UN<br />

projects that there will be 405 million<br />

international migrants by 2050.<br />

36% of HNWI have<br />

a Second Passport<br />

According to Knight Frank, 36% of<br />

high-net-worth individuals already<br />

hold a second citizenship, with 26%<br />

planning to emigrate permanently.<br />

Countries with the<br />

Most Millionaires:<br />

USA and China<br />

For the past decade, global<br />

wealth creation has focused on<br />

China and the United States,<br />

according to Credit Suisse’s<br />

Global Wealth Report 2019.<br />

The United States accounts<br />

for 40% of dollar millionaires<br />

worldwide and for 40% of<br />

those in the top 1% of global<br />

wealth distribution. However,<br />

China overtook the United<br />

States to become the country with most people<br />

in the top 10% of global wealth distribution.<br />

The number of new millionaires worldwide<br />

was relatively modest, up 1.1 million to 46.8<br />

million. The United States added 675,000<br />

newcomers, more than half of the global<br />

total. Japan and China each contributed<br />

more than 150,000, but Australia lost 124,000<br />

millionaires following a fall in average wealth.<br />

Rising<br />

Number of<br />

Ultra-Wealthy<br />

The world’s UHNWI<br />

population – those with<br />

a net worth of US$30<br />

million or more – rose by<br />

6.4% in the 12 months to<br />

January <strong>2020</strong>, according<br />

to Knight Frank’s Wealth<br />

Report <strong>2020</strong>. Globally,<br />

there are a total of<br />

513,244 UHNWIs. The<br />

US counts 240,575<br />

people worth more than<br />

US$30 million – nearly<br />

quadruple that of the<br />

next most concentrated<br />

country, China, which<br />

has 61,587 UHNWIs, and<br />

more than Europe and<br />

Asia combined. Knight<br />

Frank predicts that Asia’s<br />

UHNWI population will<br />

grow by 44% over the<br />

next five years, followed<br />

by Africa at 32%. The US<br />

will continue to dominate<br />

in terms of gross<br />

number of UHNWIs by<br />

2024, with an additional<br />

22% joining the ranks<br />

of the super-rich.<br />

150-170 countries<br />

City Appeal<br />

Large and dynamic global cities are<br />

popular among the wealthy. New York<br />

City is home to more ultra-wealthy<br />

individuals than any other city in<br />

the world, with 120,605 residents<br />

worth US$5 million or more. That’s<br />

according to data firm Wealth-X’s<br />

latest report, “A Decade of Wealth.”<br />

Tokyo and Hong Kong make it to<br />

position two and three respectively.<br />

Among the top 30 fastest growing<br />

cities only four are in the US, the<br />

other 26 cities are all in China.<br />

Cities to Watch<br />

Melbourne (Australia), Delhi (India),<br />

Dubai (UAE), Hanzghou (China) and<br />

Tel Aviv (Israel) cities are expected<br />

to grow strongly in terms of total<br />

wealth held over the next decade,<br />

according to New World Wealth’s<br />

Global Wealth Migration Review 2019.<br />

AN EU passport typically allows visa-free<br />

travel to between 150 and 170 countries.<br />

Number of Millionaires<br />

Worldwide Triples in 20 Years<br />

The number of millionaires worldwide nearly<br />

tripled in the last two decades, according to the<br />

2019 Global Wealth Report published by Boston<br />

Consulting Group. More than 24 million people<br />

around the globe had reportedly personal wealth<br />

valuing $ 1 million or more at the end of 2019. In<br />

1999, this number stood at 8.9 million people.<br />

Wealth Groups<br />

90% of all wealthy individuals have a net worth<br />

of between $1m and $5m, Wealth X claims.<br />

Only about one in every 10 of the world’s<br />

millionaires falls into the VHNW group, while<br />

just 1.2% are UHNW individuals. However, when<br />

taking into consideration the proportion of<br />

total wealth held across the three tiers, those<br />

in the lowest wealth bracket of $1m to $5m<br />

account for around 40% of global millionaire<br />

net worth. The cohort of VHNW individuals<br />

command a share of just over 25%, while<br />

the relatively small UHNW population holds a<br />

combined 35% of global millionaire wealth.<br />

Global wealth is expected to rise by 43% over the next decade, reaching US$291 trillion<br />

by 2028, according to New World Wealth’s Global Wealth Migration Review 2019. This will be<br />

driven by strong growth in Asia influenced by countries such as Vietnam, India and China.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 7



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DOWN ON<br />


What was once a niche industry has matured and proliferated with a host of new<br />

investment migration pathways emerging around the globe. Amid changing market<br />

dynamics and growing opposition, the sector is now rising to the challenge of<br />

advancing positive trends and fast-tracking its own transformation journey.<br />

The investment migration sector<br />

began the year with nothing but<br />

prosperity on the horizon. The<br />

sector had evolved globally, with more<br />

than 100 countries offering various forms<br />

of investor visa options, including many<br />

of the world’s richest countries such<br />

as the US, UK and Australia. Growing<br />

wealth in many of the sector’s main<br />

source markets ensured that demand<br />

from high-net-worth individuals<br />

continued to expand at a robust pace.<br />

Global organisations, including the<br />

International Monetary Fund (<strong>IM</strong>F)<br />

and the World Economic Forum (WEF),<br />

described investment migration as one<br />

of fastest growing economic enablers of<br />

modern times for many small states.<br />

A few months later, the sector is<br />

contending with a wave of disruptive<br />

forces. Amid the upheaval caused by<br />

Covid-19, growth is shifting, investor<br />

priorities are changing, and the level<br />

of scrutiny is rising. The sector is still<br />

growing, but also facing powerful<br />

headwinds. The general consensus is that<br />

investment migration’s future is full of<br />

potential, but the industry must truly come<br />

together to effectively address the genuine<br />

concerns of international institutions.<br />

Beyond the surface of this billion-dollar<br />

industry, a lot of new and innovative<br />

ideas are emerging that have the power to<br />

transform investment migration into a tool<br />

for sustainable and inclusive development.<br />

A Long History<br />

Investment migration is not a new<br />

phenomenon. Some industry experts point<br />

out that it was common in the Roman<br />

Empire to grant citizenship in exchange for<br />

money, while others say that in 17 th century<br />

France, under Louis the Great, it became<br />

a widespread practice to sell noble titles<br />

to affluent commoners to finance wars.<br />

Investment migration today is understood<br />

to have its origins in the Caribbean when<br />

St. Kitts and Nevis launched the first<br />

citizenship-by-investment programme in<br />

1984 as a tool for economic development.<br />

Since then, the business model has<br />

quickly evolved and was developed<br />

further with the introduction of the golden<br />

visa concept by Portugal. In 2010, four<br />

EU member states hosted golden visa<br />

programmes, just seven years later, nearly<br />

half of all member states established<br />

them. Investment migration has grown<br />

into a global industry and is featured in<br />

immigration law in most UN recognised<br />

countries, albeit in different forms and<br />

shapes. Globally, some 60 countries are<br />

actively promoting their programmes, with<br />

30 of them being the most relevant and<br />

attracting the largest share of applicants.<br />

Countries such as the US, Canada,<br />

Australia, and the UK – all offering paths<br />

for immigrant investors – have long been<br />

among the favourite destinations of<br />

high-net-worth individuals. Citizenshipby-investment<br />

programmes are estimated<br />

to receive 5,000 applications per year,<br />

while tens of thousands of wealthy<br />

migrants are acquiring golden visas<br />

globally, generating billions in investments<br />

that are being mobilised to create jobs<br />

and encourage economic activity.<br />

10<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>


Evolution and Change<br />

However, the market is in a state of<br />

constant evolution and change. Some<br />

pathways have been closed, others were<br />

revised and relaunched. By far the greatest<br />

number of residency- and citizenship-byinvestment<br />

(RCBI) programmes has been<br />

established in the years that followed the<br />

2008 financial crisis when governments<br />

were looking for new sources of income.<br />

Once the exclusive domain of small island<br />

states, the most recent entrants in the<br />

market of investor citizenship are sizeable<br />

countries such as Turkey and Jordan.<br />

A relatively new phenomenon is<br />

the emergence of start-up, entrepreneur<br />

and nomad visa programmes, with<br />

which governments seek to entice global<br />

innovators and remote workers. Many<br />

believe these programmes are setting<br />

the stage for a positive evolution of the<br />

product as these programmes are looked<br />

upon in more favourable terms than the<br />

more traditional RCBI programmes that<br />

have never been far from controversy<br />

and were often criticised by politicians,<br />

the media and the public. The concept<br />

of citizenship by investment in particular<br />

stokes resentment that programmes<br />

do little but allow the rich to buy<br />

privileged access to their countries.<br />

Fresh Controversy<br />

The European Union has risen to the<br />

fore as one of the industry’s harshest<br />

critics, arguing that investment migration<br />

programmes pose risks of money<br />

laundering, security and corruption. The<br />

European Parliament has called on EU<br />

member states to phase out their schemes,<br />

while the pressure kicked up another<br />

notch when the European Commission<br />

(EC) launched infringement procedures<br />

against Malta and Cyprus over their<br />

CBI programmes in October <strong>2020</strong>. The<br />

general feeling in the industry is that<br />

the EC’s actions were accelerated by the<br />

latest controversy surrounding Cyprus’<br />

CBI programme, which was suspended<br />

following a documentary by Al Jazeera<br />

that implicates high-level politicians<br />

in corruption related to the scheme.<br />

While legal experts on both sides are<br />

currently working on the big question<br />

whether the EU has the right to interfere<br />

in matters of citizenship and nationality,<br />

many believe investment migration<br />

programmes will need to address some<br />

fundamental issues if they want to win<br />

over the industry’s critics, change public<br />

perception and ensure that the sector<br />

continues to play an important role in<br />

empowering struggling economies.<br />

Important Income<br />

Investment migration is estimated to be<br />

a €20-billion industry, and programmes<br />

represent anything between 2% and 30%<br />

of GDP in some countries. Across the<br />

world programmes have been a catalyst<br />

for major infrastructural improvements,<br />

including resorts, harbours, airports,<br />

hospitals, office buildings and luxury<br />

residential developments, which in turn<br />

have had a massive multiplier effect<br />

on the respective economies. These<br />

programmes are not only influential in<br />

delivering cutting-edge infrastructure,<br />

investments into companies, start-ups<br />

and R&D programmes; they are also<br />

having the effect of generating whole<br />

new economic sectors that did not exist<br />

before their introduction. While these<br />

programmes present a golden opportunity<br />

for many countries, international<br />

organisations such as the <strong>IM</strong>F are pointing<br />

out that governments need to be stringent<br />

in ensuring that the funds are channelled<br />

towards productive investments that will<br />

pay dividends in the future and not be<br />

tempted to finance day-to-day expenses.<br />

They equally acknowledge that income from<br />

investment migration programmes provides<br />

a vital source of funding for many countries<br />

as the world is battling the impact of the<br />

Covid-19 pandemic. This is especially true<br />

for the Caribbean states whose income from<br />

tourism dried up. It is likely that countries<br />

that relied on RCBI income pre Covid-19 will<br />

be even more reliant on it going forward.<br />

A Year Like No Other<br />

Although the investment migration industry<br />

has continued to record considerable success<br />

and a positive performance in <strong>2020</strong>, the<br />

pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities<br />

of existing structures and practices, forced a<br />

change in status-quo and, at the same time,<br />

opened a new window of opportunity. Travel<br />

restrictions, border closures and quarantine<br />

requirements during the pandemic outbreak<br />

have severely curtailed global mobility<br />

and visa-free access, one of the industry’s<br />

key selling points. It is not yet known how<br />

international travel will be affected in the<br />

longer term. However, many in the industry<br />

report that the ultra-wealthy are expressing<br />

a greater interest in making long-term moves<br />

or at least in relocating semi-permanently to<br />

their new country of citizenship or residency,<br />

which raises important questions about the<br />

attractiveness of programmes and countries.<br />

There are several answers to the<br />

question what people will value in a postcoronavirus<br />

world. One assumption is<br />

that residency programmes will grow at<br />

the expense of citizenship-by-investment<br />

options, especially those of small island<br />

nations as the countries are seen as<br />

nothing more than a holiday destination.<br />

Others say that the relatively weak Covid-<br />

19 response of traditional immigration<br />

nations, such as the US and the UK, could<br />

negatively affect their attractiveness.<br />

There is little doubt that the Covid-19<br />

crisis is a challenge never witnessed before,<br />

and many economies are bound to shrink<br />

as a result of demand and supply shocks.<br />

It is expected that the pandemic could<br />

have a far more devastating impact on<br />

the world economy than the 2008 global<br />

financial crisis. This paves the way for a<br />

further expansion of the supply side as<br />

more programmes are expected to emerge<br />

because of the financial stress caused by<br />

Covid-19. Governments around the world<br />

are looking for new revenue sources to aid<br />

economic recovery, and just like after the<br />

2008 global financial crisis, they might turn<br />

to investment migration programmes to<br />

attract fresh capital and fuel investment.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 11

A Changing Market<br />

China has long been the dominant<br />

market for the entire industry, accounting<br />

for roughly 80% of applications to any<br />

residence programme. In more recent<br />

years, the industry has seen an increase in<br />

business coming from new markets such<br />

as India, Vietnam, Russia, South Africa<br />

and Nigeria. In addition, a meaningful<br />

shift is underway as applicants from firstworld<br />

countries such as US and the UK are<br />

showing interest in investment migration,<br />

a remarkable development for an industry<br />

that has traditionally zoomed in on highnet-worth<br />

individuals from emerging<br />

market economies. Surveys show that 17%<br />

more British citizens per year have moved<br />

to an EU country since the UK voted to<br />

leave the EU. Meanwhile, <strong>2020</strong> also got<br />

Americans consider moving out of the<br />

US in ever greater numbers – many say<br />

the unthinkable became thinkable due to<br />

rising social instability and the country’s<br />

poor coronavirus response. As a result of<br />

travel restrictions, the US passport – once<br />

one of the world’s strongest – has fallen<br />

to the same level as some of the world’s<br />

weakest. Southeast Asia is also developing<br />

rapidly, both as a source market and as a<br />

destination for high-net-worth individuals<br />

from the region and beyond. Programmes<br />

in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore<br />

are today attracting global interest.<br />

The formation of a new international<br />

mobility landscape is creating large<br />

opportunities, particularly for companies<br />

who understand how the dynamics of<br />

global growth are shifting as the largest<br />

emerging markets gain in importance.<br />

In addition, regionalisation is a market<br />

force the industry needs to be aware<br />

of. An example of this trend is the<br />

rise of citizenship-by-investment<br />

programmes in the Middle East. The<br />

programmes of Turkey and Jordan<br />

mostly appeal to residents from the<br />

region who are not charmed by visa-free<br />

travel but by country-specific benefits<br />

and commercial opportunities.<br />

Full Transparency<br />

In tandem with the growth of both the<br />

demand and supply side, criticism of<br />

the industry is intensifying. Fears of a<br />

potential increase in security threats<br />

and low consumer protection standards<br />

reverberate across the entire sector.<br />

Questions on transparency and adherence<br />

to international standards on anti-money<br />

laundering and compliance regulations<br />

brought the sector into sharp focus<br />

of other countries and international<br />

organisations such as the EU, the <strong>IM</strong>F<br />

and the OECD who have demanded<br />

tighter controls across the industry and<br />

tighter background checks on applicants.<br />

Initiatives of the Investment Migration<br />

Council, such as the development of<br />

common due diligence standards and an<br />

anti-bribery code, show that the industry<br />

is recognising the need to either selfregulate<br />

effectively or accept that rules<br />

will be imposed on it. Recent scandals<br />

and media reports, including Al Jazeera’s<br />

investigations into the Cyprus programme,<br />

are taken very seriously as they highlight<br />

corruption as an area of vulnerability,<br />

albeit this is not peculiar to investment<br />

migration. A few bad actors can tarnish<br />

the reputation of the whole industry. In<br />

the presence of so much pressure, the<br />

industry can only survive if every party<br />

involved acts in a transparent manner.<br />

It’s unfortunate that the sector still<br />

remains largely unregulated, with only a<br />

handful of countries having established<br />

an independent regulator to oversee<br />

the operation of their programmes. The<br />

immediate challenge for the industry<br />

is to get all industry stakeholders to<br />

commit to the highest standards of<br />

transparency and good governance.<br />

Active versus Passive<br />

A major task for programmes going<br />

forward will be to find the right balance<br />

between the needs of the country and<br />

meeting the expectations of the applicants.<br />

Up to now property investments of one<br />

kind or another have featured prominently<br />

in all programme offerings. Property<br />

investment will always hold an appeal,<br />

but it will be on a more equal footing<br />

with other asset classes and investment<br />

options. There are already alternatives<br />

in the market that are resonating with<br />

wealthy clients, including investing<br />

in a property fund as opposed to<br />

purchasing property, and loan provision<br />

as opposed to equity investment.<br />

There is also consensus in the industry<br />

that in the future active investment will<br />

play a much greater role than passive<br />

investment as evidenced by the growing<br />

number of entrepreneurial schemes which<br />

are becoming ever more popular the world<br />

over. The average age of multi-millionaires<br />

in the world has decreased over the last<br />

two decades. Service providers report<br />

that in emerging market economies the<br />

average age of applicants is between 35 and<br />

45 years old, and many of them are young<br />

entrepreneurs spurring demand for active<br />

investment options as opposed to passive<br />

alternatives. All the major destination<br />

countries now offer entrepreneur visa<br />

programmes, and the expectation is<br />

that they will continue to experience<br />

strong demand. Unlike traditional RCBI<br />

programmes, they also often enjoy popular<br />

support as countries seem to favour<br />

immigrants who are actively engaged<br />

in their workforce as opposed to those<br />

who passively invest. Adopting elements<br />

of these successful business and talent<br />

migration programmes offers countries<br />

various opportunities to build a lasting,<br />

meaningful and substantive relationship<br />

with their new residents or citizens.<br />

Global Issues<br />

Many argue that the most remarkable<br />

side-effect of the Covid-19 pandemic has<br />

been the pause. After years of exponential<br />

growth, it gave the investment migration<br />

industry a moment to breathe and<br />

evaluate how it wants to evolve in the<br />

future. In practice, emerging stronger from<br />

the current situation requires forwardthinking<br />

players who are taking steps to<br />

own the solution, and over the past year<br />

or so, sections of the industry have begun<br />

developing new concepts. There is a<br />

clear will to ensure that the sector works<br />

for the greater good of all stakeholders.<br />

Thus far, investment migration is often<br />

overlooked as a factor within a country’s<br />

overall sustainability and development<br />

strategy. Aiming to lay a new foundation,<br />

researchers are urging countries to align<br />

their investment migration programmes<br />

more closely to the United Nations’<br />

2030 Sustainable Development Goals<br />

(SDGs), highlighting that investment<br />

migration can offer opportunities within<br />

each aspect of the SDGs, most notably in<br />

areas such as job creation, climate action<br />

and health infrastructure. Meanwhile,<br />

experts in the field of impact investment<br />

are seeking to establish a new asset class<br />

for investor migrants that aims to tackle<br />

global issues such as climate change<br />

and poverty reduction. Although it is<br />

still early days for these initiatives, many<br />

believe there is enormous potential in<br />

questioning and challenging investor<br />

preferences, as well as certain aspects<br />

of the industry’s business model, so that<br />

investment migration will unlock greater<br />

economic benefit and societal value.<br />

Future Outlook<br />

Investment migration has gone through<br />

enormous change since it started in the<br />

1980s. It is today more diverse than ever<br />

as illustrated by the growing number<br />

of entrepreneur, start-up, innovator<br />

and digital nomad visas available in the<br />

marketplace that are competing with<br />

the more traditional RCBI offering.<br />

Like in every sector, business models<br />

need to evolve over time. There is rising<br />

awareness that the industry can reinvent<br />

its business as one that is more socially<br />

and economically attuned to today’s<br />

societies. The Covid-19 pandemic, in<br />

fact, offers the industry the ultimate<br />

test scenario to find out what – beyond<br />

visa-free travel and financial capital –<br />

truly matters to investor migrants and<br />

programme countries. Confronting and<br />

responding to these dynamics should<br />

provide a path to new growth.<br />

12<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

5 Questions with MARIO GUTIERREZ, Macroeconomic Advisor of the International Monetary Fund (<strong>IM</strong>F)<br />




CBI funds are an important source of revenue for Caribbean island nations, but<br />

the programmes need to be administered more transparently and managed<br />

more efficiently, says Mario Gutierrez of the International Monetary Fund.<br />

What’s the current economic situation in the Caribbean<br />

and what role are citizenship-by-investment<br />

programmes playing in these countries?<br />

All Caribbean economies are very reliant on tourism. They have<br />

been affected quite badly by the coronavirus pandemic due to a<br />

loss of travel revenue. Besides tourism, many Caribbean countries<br />

do not have any other significant sources of foreign income.<br />

Citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programmes are therefore<br />

very important as those countries need to address a number of<br />

economic and societal challenges. Their health and educational<br />

systems – although we have seen improvements in recent years<br />

– are still relatively weak, and there is a problem with brain<br />

drain, with many educated and qualified professionals seeking<br />

opportunities elsewhere. The Caribbean region is also prone<br />

to natural disasters, such as Hurricane Maria that devastated<br />

Dominica in 2017. So, in the past, CBI funds have been used<br />

to re-build critical infrastructure. Given the current Covid-19<br />

situation, it is difficult for many Caribbean countries to re-vitalise<br />

CBI and their tourism industries, and it will certainly take a<br />

number of years before the tourism sector has fully recovered.<br />

How does the <strong>IM</strong>F view the investment migration industry?<br />

In the view of the <strong>IM</strong>F, investment migration programmes are<br />

an important source of revenue for many countries and have<br />

the potential to stimulate economic activity and job creation.<br />

However, wasting CBI funds is not good. Governance should<br />

be improved and off-budget operations with CBI funds should<br />

be discouraged. The full registration of CBI inflows in the<br />

government’s budgets should be encouraged. In my opinion,<br />

these programmes need to be above suspicion, and governments<br />

need to be fully transparent in this regard. Accountability<br />

and transparency are important measures to build credibility<br />

and gain the trust of the international community.<br />

I would also like to see a more targeted and efficient use<br />

of CBI funds to address the Covid-19 crisis. With a view to<br />

the current situation, countries should focus more on jobcreating<br />

investments that will have a more lasting impact<br />

compared to real estate investments, for example. Currently,<br />

unemployment is rising, and countries should invest their<br />

CBI funds in a way that they can generate income from it.<br />

What policy decisions do you believe Caribbean<br />

governments need to take to strengthen the<br />

job-creating element in their programmes?<br />

Projects that are earmarked to benefit from CBI funds need<br />

to be thoroughly examined to ensure that they deliver a<br />

good return for the country in terms of employment. I<br />

suggest that countries develop a classification or ranking<br />

system that evaluates potential projects according to the<br />

direct and indirect impact on the creation of jobs. It could<br />

be a good tool for public investment decision-making.<br />

Then there are other measures. For example, the<br />

Government of Dominica has just announced the<br />

launching of an Entrepreneurship Visa programme<br />

with lower disbursement as required in the regular<br />

CBI programme. Applicants are required to invest in a<br />

local venture in return for a two-year residency permit,<br />

which can then lead to citizenship. I think entrepreneur<br />

programmes are an interesting addition, and it is<br />

something that could be replicated by other countries<br />

in the region. After all, we do not yet know how stable<br />

the CBI market will be in the coming years as a result of<br />

Covid-19 and the related economic downturn. We might<br />

see a decrease in the number of people actually having<br />

the funds interested in investing in CBI programmes.<br />

In your opinion, what are the prospects<br />

of greater Caribbean cooperation in<br />

the investment migration arena?<br />

I think greater cooperation and the harmonisation<br />

of rules will improve the industry for the benefit of<br />

all countries operating such programmes. Without<br />

coordination, there is a risk that countries will continue<br />

to ease CBI requirements as a result of the competition<br />

among the islands for the CBI pool of funds. This will<br />

just reduce government revenues, whereas coordination<br />

could also reduce administrative costs. We are aware<br />

that all Caribbean countries have different interests and<br />

are competitors, so this will be no easy task. However,<br />

coming together is really in their own interest.<br />

14<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

What’s your economic outlook for the<br />

Caribbean? How do you expect the region to<br />

develop in the next three to five years?<br />

I predict a slow recovery. In 2018-19 the region experienced<br />

positive growth recovering from Hurricane Maria. This<br />

year growth for the region will drop around 8.5 per cent<br />

on average, before it might reach again levels above 4<br />

to 5 per cent of GDP in a few years. In my opinion, the<br />

next two years will be difficult, and a more prolonged<br />

recovery will only start from the third year onwards. The<br />

Caribbean countries should be extremely careful and<br />

ensure CBI funds are put to good use. Otherwise we will<br />

see countries building up very high external debts and,<br />

ultimately, countries may find they are unable to pay.<br />

Dr Mario Gutierrez has<br />

more than 30 years of<br />

professional experience<br />

in advising developing<br />

and poor countries and is<br />

currently working as Marco<br />

Economic Advisor for the<br />

International Monetary<br />

Fund (<strong>IM</strong>F) stationed in<br />

Dominica. Previously,<br />

he worked for the World<br />

Bank, USAID, the Institute<br />

of International Finance<br />

and the International<br />

Monetary Fund in Washington DC, as well as the<br />

BIO<br />

Central Bank of Chile. He has taught developing<br />

economics at Georgetown University and<br />

George Washington University in Washington<br />

DC, as well as at Sciences-Po and American<br />

University in Paris. In addition, he has produced<br />

research for the World Bank and the European<br />

Commission. He was born in Chile and holds a Ph.D<br />

in Economics from the University of Chicago, US.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 15

OFFICIAL LIST OF MEMBERS <strong>2020</strong><br />

360 Advisory & Management GmbH<br />

A.D. & Parters Ltd<br />

Abreu Advogados<br />

Academy Finance<br />

Afi Ventour & Co.<br />

AIT Accounting & Management Services Ltd<br />

American Investment Migration LLC<br />

Andreas Demetriades & Co LLC<br />

Anna Grigorieva & Co. LLC<br />

AOM Visa Consulting<br />

AP Group Global<br />

Areti Charidemou & Associates LLC<br />

ARQ Group<br />

ASB Ltd.<br />

Astons Group Ltd.<br />

Atlantic American Partners<br />

Atlantic Bridge<br />

Attorney at Law Office Mia Jug Dujaković<br />

Bajem Advisory Ltd.<br />

BDO<br />

BDO (Malta)<br />

Belion Partners LLP<br />

Bernardino, Resende E Associados<br />

Beshara Global Migration Law Firm<br />

BEYOND Residence and Citizenship<br />

BIZ Consult Ltd<br />

BLVUE Zürich Advisory AG (Ltd.)<br />

Bond University<br />

Budget Passport & Migration Consultants Budget Visas CC<br />

Bulgarian Citizenship Ltd.<br />

Capstone Advisory Co. Ltd<br />

Century Capital Inc.<br />

Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates<br />

Chriso Savva LLC<br />

Christodoulos G. Vassiliades & Co LLC<br />

Citizenship By Investment Unit - Antigua & Barbuda<br />

Citizenship by Investment Unit - Saint Lucia<br />

Citizenship Invest<br />

Citizenship Navigation<br />

Citizenship Solutions<br />

CJ International Group<br />

CJ International Group SRL<br />

Cocotraie<br />

CSB International Ltd.<br />

Deguara Farrugia Advocates<br />

Deloitte Malta<br />

Discus Holdings<br />

Döhle Services (Malta) Limited<br />

Domenica Group<br />

EB-5 Inc Regional Center, LLC<br />

Energopiisi<br />

Eurasian Wealth<br />

Exiger Diligence<br />

Exiger LLC<br />

FACT Due Diligence<br />

Fakhoury Global Immigration<br />

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Fidesco Trust Corporation<br />

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Fiduciana Trust (Cyprus) Limited<br />

Filimon Consulting<br />

First Advisory Trust reg.<br />

Formosa Realty Company Ltd<br />

Fox International Corporate office<br />

Fragomen Worldwide<br />

Francis J. Vassallo & Associates<br />

Frendo Advisory<br />

Gali Macedo & Associates<br />

Ganado & Associates<br />

GICG Global Information Consulting Group<br />

GLI General Lines of Immigration Corporation<br />

Global Migration<br />

Global Nomad Consulting<br />

Global Residence & Citizenship Practitioners Inc.<br />

Globe Detective Agency (P) Ltd.<br />

Go2Europe<br />

Golden Visa Consultancy<br />

Golden Visa Experts<br />

Grant, Joseph & Co<br />

Green Light Management Consultancy JLT<br />

Grosvenor Partners<br />

Gruppo professionale Bolognin<br />

Henley & Partners Agency Services<br />

Henley & Partners Antigua Ltd<br />

Henley & Partners Australia<br />

Henley & Partners Austria<br />

Henley & Partners Baltic Processing LLC<br />

Henley & Partners Canada (Quebec)<br />

Henley & Partners Cyprus Ltd<br />

Henley & Partners Cyprus Ltd<br />

Henley & Partners Grenada Ltd.<br />

Henley & Partners HKG<br />

Henley & Partners Jersey<br />

Henley & Partners Malta<br />

Henley & Partners Middle East DMCC<br />

Henley & Partners Portugal<br />

Henley & Partners Singapore Pte. Ltd.<br />

Henley & Partners South Africa (Pty) Ltd.<br />

Henley & Partners Switzerland<br />

Henley & Partners UK<br />

Hilton Global Associates<br />

I.I.I. Immigrant Integration & Invest GmbH<br />


<strong>IM</strong>M GROUP Co. Ltd.<br />

immVest International Limited<br />

Integritas Group<br />

Intercorp International LTD<br />

International Center for Globalization and Development<br />

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Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

400+ MEMBERS FROM<br />

55+ COUNTRIES<br />

International Residency Citizenship<br />

Inter-Tax Consultants<br />

Invest & Settle<br />

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Invest UK<br />

Investaureum Lda<br />

Investment Consulting USA<br />


Investment Migration Insider<br />

Island Living Investment Services Ltd<br />

Joseph Rowe Attorneys-at-Law and Notaries Public<br />

Katerina Marini & Associates Law Firm<br />

KayHan Swiss LLC<br />

Ketenci&Ketenci ILP<br />

Khai Phú Investments and Migration<br />

Khalil Masri et Fils Sarl<br />

Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP<br />

KLZT Law<br />

Kobiliris and Associates Law Firm<br />

KPMG Cyprus<br />

KPMG Intl Malta<br />

Krish Immigration Law Group Europe<br />

L Papaphilippou & Co LLC<br />

La Vida Europe Ltd.<br />

Laferla Insurance Agency Limited<br />

Lamares, Capela & Associados<br />

Latitude Consultancy Limited<br />

Lecanda Immigration and Nationality Law<br />

Leisure World Properties Ltd<br />

LH Global<br />

Magellan Champlain<br />

Maisto & Associati<br />

Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency<br />

Malta Residency Visa Agency (MRVA)<br />

Mc Namara & Company - Barristors, Solicitors & Notaries Royal<br />

Medway International Ltd<br />

Michael Kyprianou & Co. LLC<br />

Mifsud&Mifsud Advocates<br />

Migratesmart Services LLP<br />

Migratio - Investment Migration Solutions (Migratio HK Limited)<br />

Migronis Ltd<br />

M-J Global Consultancy Services<br />

My Global Citizenship<br />

New Balkans Law Office<br />

Novafirm SA<br />

Novum Tempus Solutions LTD<br />

NZ Project Ltd<br />

Omirou & Omirou<br />

Orience International<br />

Passports Global Ltd<br />

PassPro Immigration Services<br />

Pavlopoulos Benetatos Pappas Law Firm<br />

Perry & Alznauer, P.C.<br />

Polaris Citizenship & Investment Consultancy Services Limited<br />

PR Squared Worldwide Eurasia Bridge<br />

Quest Immigration Services<br />

R P Merriman<br />

Range Developments Ltd.<br />

RC International<br />

RCG Global<br />

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Refinitiv<br />


Robust Frontier, Lda<br />

Rosemont Monaco SAM<br />

Roseveare Group<br />

Rostova & Westerman Law Group, P.A<br />

Saeima (National Parliament) of Latvia<br />

Saratoga Capital<br />

Scerri & Bonello Advocates<br />

Scheibert & Associates<br />

Sergiou Legal Consultants<br />

SG - Secondpass Global<br />

Shard Capital Investor Visa<br />

SMM Consultancy Ltd.<br />

Solomon Harris<br />

Sothebys International Realty Cyprus<br />

Sterling Migration<br />

Sunrise International Legal Services<br />

SwissTaxGroup<br />

The Sovereign Group<br />

Thomas John & Co<br />

Tricor Services Ltd<br />

Typographos & Co Lawyers<br />

University of Vienna<br />

Valadas Coriel & Associados<br />

Vanuatu Life Style Ltd<br />

Vardikos & Vardikos<br />

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Vertex Advisory Ltd<br />

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Vironobilis OÜ<br />

Visa Free Europe<br />

Visa World Wide Admission<br />

Visas Consulting Group Inc<br />

Vostok Consulting LLC<br />

Wahaat<br />

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World Grenada Inc.<br />

World Internet Project Inc.<br />

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COVID-19<br />

<strong>IM</strong>PACT<br />


The coronavirus pandemic—for all its devastating impacts—<br />

has the potential to transform the investment migration<br />

industry into a more sustainable and acceptable industry.<br />

18<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

Covid-19 is upending the<br />

investment migration industry<br />

as it unfolds through <strong>2020</strong> and<br />

beyond. Although investment migration<br />

programmes have found increased<br />

relevance in the pandemic, the worldwide<br />

health crisis will undoubtedly<br />

cause the industry landscape to reshuffle.<br />

Like no other event before, Covid-19 is<br />

shining a spotlight on the strengths and<br />

weaknesses of the industry – many of<br />

which existed long before the pandemic.<br />

The coronavirus’ impact on travel<br />

and mobility has been dramatic, and<br />

although travel restrictions and border<br />

closures were mostly temporary<br />

measures, they are calling into question<br />

investment migration’s primary role as<br />

a tool to gain greater travel freedom.<br />

The twin forces of lockdown and<br />

health crisis will likely speed up a<br />

positive evolution of the investment<br />

migration product, which could<br />

ultimately strengthen investor migrants’<br />

connections with and contributions<br />

to their host countries. In fact, many<br />

in the industry believe the pandemic<br />

can be a catalyst for change that<br />

could lead to the development of new<br />

programmes and financing tools, which<br />

have the power and potential to endow<br />

investment migration with a greater and<br />

more sustainable economic impact.<br />

Immediate Fallout<br />

As the Covid-19 virus spread throughout<br />

the world, governments across the globe<br />

shut their borders or restricted travel<br />

to try and quell the spread. However,<br />

almost unanimously, the<br />

investment migration<br />

industry confirmed<br />

that the immediate<br />

fallout was limited.<br />

While there might<br />

have been some<br />

early connectivity<br />

challenges in<br />

working remotely for<br />

employees, for the most<br />

part clients were looked<br />

Eric<br />

Major<br />

after and advisors stayed busy.<br />

Although applications were delayed,<br />

most RBI and CBI units “quickly adjusted<br />

to the pandemic. All of them now have<br />

online platforms and have digitized the<br />

process even more, which is a positive<br />

development,” says Eric Major, CEO of<br />

Latitude Consultancy Limited. Besides, he<br />

says, the fact that there is currently very<br />

little travelling going on, means many<br />

busy entrepreneurs and investors finally<br />

take the time to develop their ‘Plan B’.<br />

Rise in Interest<br />

Covid-19 provided a boost to the<br />

investment migration industry, with many<br />

businesses reporting a surge in enquiries.<br />

“Following the initial shock, people<br />

started looking for a second residency or<br />

citizenship more actively than before. We<br />

now receive many<br />

requests from<br />

people who are<br />

in such a hurry<br />

to get a golden<br />

visa that they<br />

would like to<br />

conclude the<br />

transaction<br />

Alexander<br />

Varnavas<br />

‘yesterday’,<br />

but the new<br />

Covid-19 reality<br />

has rendered the<br />

process a little bit more difficult in terms of<br />

time required,” says Alexander Varnavas,<br />

a Partner at Varnavas Law Firm 1978 and a<br />

Member of the <strong>IM</strong>C Advisory Committee.<br />

Ron Klasko of Klasko Immigration Law<br />

Partners in the US shares this view. While<br />

he points out that many clients postponed<br />

their migration plans during<br />

the pandemic largely due<br />

to travel restrictions,<br />

he is convinced that<br />

“the medium and<br />

long-term future will<br />

see an increase in<br />

investment migration”.<br />

For many in the<br />

industry, investment<br />

migration is among a<br />

select number of sectors that<br />

benefited from the pandemic.<br />

Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley &<br />

Partners, says that the “the massive<br />

volatility driven by Covid-19<br />

has certainly pushed what we<br />

considered a relatively steady<br />

industry growth into overdrive”.<br />

Changing Market Dynamics<br />

Although the industry will likely<br />

continue to enjoy significant growth,<br />

Covid-19 is shaking up investment<br />

migration’s long-established market<br />

dynamics. Investment<br />

migration has<br />

ballooned in<br />

popularity<br />

in countries<br />

which did not<br />

handle the<br />

pandemic well,<br />

with agents<br />

and service<br />

Juerg<br />

Steffen<br />

Ron<br />

Klasko<br />

providers pointing to a growing client<br />

base of first-world millionaires from<br />

countries such as the US and the UK.<br />

Many high-net-worth individuals have<br />

added healthcare to their list of reasons why<br />

they consider economic migration, says David<br />

Borg, Advisory Partner of ARQ in Malta.<br />

“Countries that have dealt with the situation<br />

efficiently and can also prove that they have a<br />

first-class medical infrastructure could stand<br />

to benefit,” he says. However, Borg also points<br />

out that given the speed with which the virus<br />

took hold and crossed from one country<br />

to the next, some<br />

investor migrants<br />

may wish to<br />

remain close<br />

to family and<br />

economic<br />

interests.<br />

While<br />

Covid-19<br />

lockdowns<br />

may be easing,<br />

uncertainty about<br />

the future is intensifying.<br />

International experts argue that global<br />

mobility might be more restricted and<br />

unpredictable in the longer term. Some<br />

are even concerned that governments<br />

might use fears of a future pandemic<br />

and other epidemiological<br />

issues in order to impose new<br />

immigration restrictions.<br />

Although we can assume<br />

that much of what is felt today is<br />

temporary, if Covid-19 has taught<br />

the industry anything, it’s that<br />

global mobility cannot be taken for<br />

granted. Besides, when the coronavirus<br />

broke out, very few people thought it<br />

would take so long, and it has left some to<br />

wonder where best to live in times of crisis.<br />

The Real Plan B<br />

David<br />

Borg<br />

In the pre-Covid-19-<br />

world, very few<br />

applicants actually<br />

moved to their<br />

new country of<br />

citizenship or<br />

residence and<br />

instead sought to<br />

primarily benefit<br />

from visa-free<br />

travel opportunities.<br />

However, during the<br />

Savvas<br />

Poyiadjis<br />

pandemic, medium- and long-term<br />

strategic relocations have gained in<br />

importance. For many the Covid-19<br />

crisis, says Savvas Poyiadjis, Managing<br />

Director of Fides Corp, “has highlighted<br />

even further the necessity or luxury of<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 19

having a second passport or residency<br />

as that allows for travelling and<br />

relocation of family members to<br />

safer countries than their own”.<br />

Today many clients enquire<br />

about the coronavirus<br />

response of their<br />

potential host country,<br />

service providers say,<br />

but the expectation<br />

is that this will<br />

not be the only<br />

criteria determining<br />

a country’s<br />

attractiveness in the<br />

future. Although it’s<br />

too early to tell how many<br />

investor migrants would move<br />

semi-permanently or permanently,<br />

many industry experts believe<br />

countries offering diversified business<br />

and lifestyle opportunities will be<br />

most attractive. For many, investment<br />

migration’s coronavirus winners are<br />

residency programmes in both Europe<br />

and Asia at the expense of programmes<br />

in the Caribbean and those of other<br />

small island states, whose paradiselike<br />

remoteness is often cited as their<br />

weak point from the perspective<br />

of global entrepreneurs in need of<br />

easy access to the world’s markets.<br />

An Important Economic Tool<br />

Covid-19 is an unprecedented shock to<br />

the world economy, which is projected<br />

to experience<br />

its worst recession<br />

since the Great<br />

Depression<br />

of the 1930s.<br />

“Many<br />

governments<br />

are facing large<br />

deficits and<br />

will look to raise<br />

capital. Investment<br />

migration is<br />

a logical solution<br />

that can help all these issues,” says<br />

Stéphane Tajick, President and Head<br />

Advisor of Stephane Tajick Consulting<br />

(STC). He expects new programmes<br />

to come onto the market in the near<br />

future. There is also the anticipation<br />

that bigger countries will join the<br />

investment migration arena, although<br />

they are more likely to establish RBI<br />

rather than CBI programmes.<br />

Investment migration funds are<br />

currently being used to help keep<br />

economies afloat, with governments<br />

Michael<br />

Frendo<br />

Stéphane<br />

Tajick<br />

clearly acknowledging how important<br />

their programmes are to their economies<br />

in this time of crisis. “Covid-19 has shown<br />

the immense value of having a well and<br />

transparently administered sovereign<br />

fund arising from the global migration<br />

industry, which can be utilised to<br />

stabilise the economy during<br />

the disastrous economic effect<br />

of a pandemic,” says Michael<br />

Frendo, Chairman of Frendo<br />

Advisory in Malta, a country<br />

which used revenue from<br />

its CBI programme to bolster<br />

its economic rescue package<br />

following the Covid-19 outbreak.<br />

A More Competitive Landscape<br />

The need to generate new revenue<br />

sources to support the economic recovery<br />

post Covid-19 will almost certainly<br />

lead to an expansion of the supply<br />

side. This means competition between<br />

countries offering investment migration<br />

programmes will increase, which<br />

may well push prices down. This can<br />

impact programme revenues on which<br />

many countries have become reliant.<br />

In the post-Covid-19 era, countries<br />

will need to rethink their programmes<br />

and seek to strike the balance between<br />

offering investment options that are<br />

appealing to applicants while ensuring<br />

that investment migrants’<br />

contributions don’t fall<br />

short on delivering<br />

the desired<br />

economic and<br />

societal benefits.<br />

From a<br />

service provider<br />

perspective, it<br />

also seems likely<br />

that competition<br />

for clients might<br />

increase. Covid-19<br />

presented global markets<br />

Edward<br />

Bershara<br />

with a severe test. Businesses everywhere<br />

face immense disruption. Millions of<br />

individuals are newly unemployed, and<br />

the pandemic will almost certainly cause<br />

global wealth to contract in the near<br />

term. “As the world becomes poorer,<br />

it can become harder to find wealthy<br />

clients. Many in the industry will see a<br />

fall in revenue. Investment migration<br />

companies that were financially<br />

unstable or overextended will face<br />

difficulties. We might see closures,<br />

downsizing or even mergers. The<br />

weaker will perish but the stronger will<br />

survive and thrive,” Tajick points out.<br />

Positive Impact<br />

The pandemic has highlighted the<br />

interconnection of people and societies as it<br />

has spread globally in a rapid manner. Much<br />

like 9/11, Covid-19 is a defining moment<br />

of historic proportions, in particular for<br />

younger generations. Many policymakers<br />

and investors are viewing the crisis as a<br />

wake-up call that accelerates the need for a<br />

different approach to investing, highlighting<br />

parallels between the unforeseen risks<br />

of a pandemic and issues such as climate<br />

change. Over the long run, Covid-19 could<br />

prove to be a major turning point for<br />

sustainable investing and signal the start<br />

of a more ethically balanced era for many<br />

industries, including investment migration.<br />

Much has been said and written about<br />

the Great Reset, a term coined by the<br />

World Economic Forum, which views the<br />

pandemic as an opportunity to correct<br />

past mistakes and build back better. The<br />

green economy and sustainable initiatives<br />

are central to many governments’ recovery<br />

policies, with plans to invest and scale<br />

up renewable energy, clean transport,<br />

sustainable food production, while<br />

diversifying supply chains and directing<br />

funding towards essential industries<br />

such as healthcare. There is widespread<br />

agreement that investment migration<br />

can make a meaningful contribution<br />

to recovery packages that aim to build<br />

better. The next generation of investor<br />

migrants, which, unlike their parents,<br />

has grown up discussing these issues,<br />

will likely seek to pursue a positive<br />

impact, and the investment migration<br />

industry can survive and thrive<br />

by adjusting to this new reality.<br />

Post-Covid-19 Investment Migration<br />

“Most high-net-worth investors and<br />

companies agree that at the beginning<br />

of 20<strong>21</strong>, there will be a return to a certain<br />

degree of normality,” says Edward Bershara,<br />

Managing Partner of Beshara Global<br />

Migration Law Firm, and most industry<br />

professionals agree with him. Yet, the<br />

industry must think in mid and longterm<br />

scenarios. What seems clear is that<br />

Covid-19 has accelerated the industry’s<br />

development – trends and issues expected<br />

to affect the investment migration industry<br />

over the next several years have been<br />

compressed into a short few months. For<br />

the investment migration industry, the<br />

pandemic presents an opportunity to review<br />

its current business model and analyse<br />

how it could be redesigned to ensure a<br />

resilient industry for years to come.<br />

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Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

Interview with KRISTIN SURAK, Assistant Professor at the London School of Economics<br />



Covid-19 will transform the investment migration market and will accelerate the<br />

already existing trend of regionalisation, says Prof. Kristin Surak from the London<br />

School of Economics and author of the forthcoming book Citizenship 4 Sale.<br />

The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged<br />

international mobility like no other<br />

event before. What observations<br />

about the investment migration<br />

industry during the coronaviruscrisis<br />

can you share with us?<br />

Covid-19 has shown us that we need to<br />

rethink the mobility aspect of investment<br />

migration as travel bans and border<br />

closures haven proven how fragile this<br />

element is. But more than that: the crisis<br />

clearly highlighted a key difference<br />

between citizenship by investment and<br />

residence by investment. Demand for<br />

citizenship-by-investment programmes,<br />

much more than demand for residence<br />

programmes, has long been driven by<br />

promises of easy mobility and visa-free<br />

travel. However, a Caribbean passport<br />

holder was not able to use his or her<br />

90-day-visa-free access to Europe during<br />

the first part of the global lockdown.<br />

On the other hand, despite the Covid-<br />

19 travel restrictions, the majority of<br />

OECD countries were not only allowing<br />

citizens but also those holding resident<br />

status to enter. In other words: An<br />

RBI-investment in places like Portugal<br />

or Greece opened a closed border.<br />

How is this affecting the attractiveness<br />

of RBI and CBI programmes?<br />

For those worried about not being able to<br />

enter Europe, the traditional RBI countries<br />

suddenly looked more appealing. Russia<br />

is the exception, where during the height<br />

of lockdown, a person needed a second<br />

citizenship to leave the country. But that’s<br />

the exception that proves the rule. The<br />

pandemic has strengthened the demand<br />

for a real insurance policy. This has shifted<br />

the focus away from mere border crossing<br />

and short-term mobility towards securing<br />

rights in a place where one would want to<br />

spend a longer stretch of time. First and<br />

foremost, I believe this will trigger demand<br />

for investment migration programmes<br />

of bigger countries – countries that have<br />

a lot more to offer in terms of business<br />

and lifestyle opportunities compared<br />

to the micro-states that pioneered this<br />

industry. The Caribbean has yet to<br />

convince a significant number of highnet-worth<br />

individuals to move there.<br />

I believe wealthy investors will<br />

continue to express interest in the<br />

European RBI programmes of Portugal,<br />

Spain and Greece. I also think Turkey<br />

will continue to build on its substantial<br />

success. Its CBI programme has a<br />

different pull for people than the<br />

Caribbean options, or even the EU<br />

option. Many of the benefits that it offers<br />

are located within Turkey, although<br />

it does offer benefits outside the<br />

country in terms of travel and business<br />

possibilities in Europe, too. Istanbul<br />

is a global city and Turkey a regional<br />

powerhouse. Its booming economy<br />

and emerging market status make it<br />

an interesting country for investors<br />

to engage with, especially for those<br />

wanting to do business in the region.<br />

22<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

In recent years, more and more<br />

mass affluent people developed an<br />

interest in investment migration<br />

as programmes became ever more<br />

affordable. How do you believe the<br />

coronavirus pandemic will change<br />

the industry’s client profile?<br />

The mass affluent – those with investable<br />

assets between US$1 and US$5 million<br />

– have been hit hard by the pandemic.<br />

Many of them generated their wealth<br />

through entrepreneurial activities, and<br />

their businesses are now dealing with<br />

the fallout from the global recession.<br />

These funds would otherwise be<br />

available for investment migration but<br />

have now been re-allocated to shore<br />

up their businesses. For investment<br />

migration programmes this means that<br />

the pool of potential clients for less costly<br />

options is smaller – at least for now.<br />

Once the global economy recovers, we<br />

may see the release of pent-up demand.<br />

How will the coronavirus pandemic<br />

reshape the market from the<br />

supply side? Will we see new<br />

countries entering the industry,<br />

possibly in order to secure revenue<br />

for a post-Covid recovery?<br />

I am certain that we will see more<br />

countries establish programmes of their<br />

own. In terms of citizenship, there are<br />

many rumours about who’s next to join the<br />

industry. Solomon Islands is probably the<br />

most commonly cited case. I don’t think<br />

EU countries will introduce citizenship<br />

programmes given the current negative<br />

stance of the EU towards the sector. At the<br />

same time, we see that many EU countries<br />

are trying to find ways to kickstart<br />

their economies post-Covid. There is a<br />

fuzzy border between the more passive<br />

residency-by-investment programmes<br />

and the more active entrepreneurial<br />

programmes. In the EU, we already have<br />

a big spectrum of programmes that vary<br />

both in terms of the letter of the law and<br />

in terms of the application of the law. I am<br />

predicting that in Europe we will see future<br />

programmes couched in entrepreneurial<br />

terms but with a more passive investment<br />

form. Overall this will lead to a situation<br />

where there will be more programmes<br />

competing for fewer investors.<br />

How will programmes need to respond<br />

to these changing market dynamics?<br />

Rather than dropping their prices,<br />

I believe programmes should raise<br />

them. Let’s look at the Caribbean. The<br />

Caribbean has been hit hard by the<br />

pandemic because tourism has stopped,<br />

which is the only other sizeable source of<br />

income for those countries. This means<br />

the revenue they can get from their<br />

investment migration programmes is ever<br />

more important. Because the Caribbean<br />

programmes are among the cheapest<br />

options available, they have traditionally<br />

seen strong interest from the mass affluent<br />

segment, which, as I’ve already mentioned,<br />

is diminishing. If the Caribbean CIPs now<br />

drop their price point further in an effort<br />

to attract clients, it can just plummet into<br />

nothing. Rather than a race to the bottom,<br />

I think it’s a good time to keep price points<br />

level, if not increasing them a bit in a<br />

coordinated action. People are often more<br />

interested in a product that costs more.<br />

We see that in many other markets, for<br />

instance in the wine market, where the<br />

price changes the way we perceive and<br />

appreciate a wine. I think this is something<br />

that the Caribbean should keep in mind,<br />

especially as Covid-19 has made people<br />

much more concerned to hedge their<br />

risks. Other programmes should also<br />

consider revamping their price points,<br />

especially those that are doing well at the<br />

moment. They can afford to become more<br />

selective in terms of whom they accept.<br />

Looking to the future, how do you<br />

believe the industry will develop<br />

in the coming five to ten years?<br />

When people talk about the investment<br />

migration market, they mostly think<br />

of the Caribbean and the European<br />

programmes, as well as the traditional<br />

immigration countries such as the<br />

UK, US, Canada, Australia and New<br />

Zealand. RBI programmes in the Global<br />

South are often off the radar, but they<br />

are performing exceptionally well. As<br />

a result of Covid-19, it could well be<br />

that places in the Global South with<br />

good healthcare systems become very<br />

attractive in particular for investors from<br />

the region who may now prefer to stay<br />

closer to their homes. We should not<br />

underestimate the effects of the pandemic<br />

in terms of people’s willingness to travel.<br />

Malaysia’s My Second Home is a good<br />

example of investors’ rising preference<br />

for regional options. The programme is<br />

receiving more applications than any of<br />

the European ones and is very popular<br />

with the Chinese. There are programme<br />

options in the UAE, Thailand, Taiwan,<br />

Panama and many others which all might<br />

see an increase in demand, especially<br />

if capital continues to accumulate and<br />

flow within the Global South. Europe<br />

will continue to remain attractive for<br />

Russian and Middle Eastern investors,<br />

while for people from the Americas,<br />

the Caribbean is a more convenient<br />

option. Across the board, I believe we<br />

will see greater regionalisation.<br />

In the EU, we<br />

already have a<br />

big spectrum<br />

of programmes that<br />

vary both in terms of<br />

the letter of the law<br />

and in terms of the<br />

application of the law.<br />

Prof. Kristin Surak, London<br />

BIO School of Economics, is<br />

known for her research<br />

on international migration,<br />

nationalism and political sociology,<br />

which has been translated into<br />

a half-dozen languages. She<br />

has been an invited fellow at<br />

Princeton University, the Institute<br />

for Advanced Study (Princeton)<br />

and Cambridge University. In<br />

addition to publishing in major<br />

academic and intellectual<br />

journals, she also writes regularly<br />

for popular outlets, including<br />

the London Review of Books, New<br />

Statesman and Washington Post,<br />

and comments for international<br />

news agencies including the BBC,<br />

Deutsche Welle and Channel News<br />

Asia TV. Her book Citizenship 4<br />

Sale: Millionaires, Microstates,<br />

and Mobility will be published by<br />

Harvard University Press in 20<strong>21</strong>.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 23

Interview with BRUNO L’ECUYER, Chief Executive of the Investment Migration Council<br />


<strong>IM</strong>PACT AND<br />


Investment migration has gotten plenty of public<br />

and media attention in recent years; however, the<br />

industry’s economic benefit has been largely kept on<br />

the sidelines. Bruno L’ecuyer, CEO of the Investment<br />

Migration Council (<strong>IM</strong>C), shares his thoughts and<br />

opinions on the challenges, opportunities and outlines<br />

the organisation’s plans and priorities for the future.<br />

As Chief Executive of the <strong>IM</strong>C,<br />

what issues are currently<br />

high on your agenda?<br />

Defining and setting common<br />

standards for investment<br />

migration continues to be<br />

one of our top priorities. We<br />

feel self-regulation can be an<br />

effective and efficient means<br />

of control for investment<br />

migration, which would<br />

definitely benefit from<br />

more harmonised practices, but is not<br />

as systemically risky as the financial<br />

services industry for example. We are of<br />

24<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong><br />

the opinion that improving standards<br />

and ensuring that our members adhere<br />

to the established standards will help<br />

the sector expand even further.<br />

The growth of our own organisation<br />

is also very high on our agenda. The<br />

<strong>IM</strong>C currently has around 450 members<br />

and has established itself as a credible<br />

industry body. However, I believe<br />

we can grow our membership base<br />

further by engaging with professionals<br />

from around the world. We are also<br />

looking to diversifying our membership<br />

and are working on attracting other<br />

professionals that don’t necessarily<br />

focus on investment migration<br />

but facilitate talent and business<br />

migration – a segment that is seeing<br />

tremendous growth the world over. At<br />

the moment these professionals are a<br />

little bit outside our catchment area,<br />

but if we want to see growth, we need to<br />

diversify who we communicate to and<br />

work for as an organisation and give<br />

potential members reasons to join.<br />

Supporting and facilitating the<br />

development of global investment<br />

migration rules has long been a<br />

priority of the <strong>IM</strong>C. What progress<br />

have you achieved thus far?<br />

The launch of a code of ethics and<br />

professional conduct standards for<br />

the industry back in 2015 was one<br />

of our first initiatives, and we have<br />

subsequently launched an antibribery<br />

and corruption code. We<br />

strongly support the development<br />

of enhanced common due diligence<br />

standards to ensure only bona fide<br />

applicants are approved across all<br />

investment migration programmes.<br />

We have commissioned and published<br />

independent research into due<br />

diligence with a view of creating a<br />

common framework of guidelines for<br />

governments and agents to adopt.<br />

Currently, we are working on a<br />

set of guidelines for the sales and<br />

promotion of investment migration<br />

programmes globally. We have<br />

established a working group made<br />

up of members from 10 different<br />

countries who are looking into<br />

how investment migration should<br />

be promoted. We are in talks with<br />

various governments on this too. In<br />

many cases they are providing us<br />

with their own frameworks, and we<br />

are taking a helicopter view of the<br />

all the different guidelines in order<br />

to develop a best practice document<br />

that outlines what to do and what to<br />

avoid when promoting investment<br />

migration programmes globally. I am<br />

hopeful that the draft document will be<br />

ready by the end of December <strong>2020</strong>.

Investment migration appears to<br />

be facing an increasingly hostile<br />

environment, with several international<br />

institutions and organisations<br />

criticising the sector. How should<br />

the industry show that it’s serious<br />

about addressing these concerns?<br />

Investment migration is a complex legal<br />

and technical phenomenon, and it’s the<br />

sovereign right of states to determine their<br />

national migration policy. Nonetheless,<br />

we are aware that some organisations<br />

have concerns that need to be addressed,<br />

and those are mostly relating to security,<br />

money laundering and financing of<br />

terrorism. However, out of those three,<br />

the only one that is really a risk is money<br />

laundering. The level of due diligence<br />

involved in investment migration is so high<br />

that it isn’t worth it for a terrorist to gain<br />

access to a country through this route. In<br />

fact, there isn’t a single reported case. In<br />

our opinion, investor migrants neither<br />

pose a security nor a terrorism threat.<br />

From a money laundering perspective,<br />

the risk is still there even though it is very<br />

small. As an industry, we have to abide<br />

by the global Anti Money Laundering<br />

(AML) and Combatting the Financing of<br />

Terrorism (CFT) regulations to ensure<br />

that the people coming through are really<br />

fit and proper. Everybody in the industry<br />

needs to be aware of the rules, and there<br />

are no exceptions. Small agents dealing<br />

with two or three applications per year<br />

need to ensure they know the source of<br />

funds as much as governments handling<br />

hundreds of applications throughout<br />

the year need to properly investigate<br />

this matter. In addition to doing what<br />

is legally required from the industry, I<br />

think the fact that we have developed<br />

and published different guidelines and<br />

standards is showing that we are serious<br />

about addressing those concerns.<br />

European Commission President<br />

Ursula von der Leyen recently<br />

referred to investment migration<br />

in her State of the Union address,<br />

pointing out that European values<br />

were not for sale. In October<br />

<strong>2020</strong>, the Commission launched<br />

infringement procedures against<br />

Malta and Cyprus. What comments<br />

would you like to make about the<br />

EU’s attitude towards the industry?<br />

I am completely in agreement with Ursula<br />

von der Leyen: European values should<br />

not be for sale. But if we are concerned<br />

about European values, why don’t we<br />

look at introducing a European values<br />

test? After all, citizenship tests are quite<br />

common. When investor migrants are<br />

coming through an investment migration<br />

pathway of an EU member state, they<br />

could be required to sit an online test on<br />

European values. We have thrown that<br />

idea around Brussels; it hasn’t picked<br />

up too much, but it’s one idea that could<br />

be explored and developed further.<br />

Moreover, I am spending an<br />

increasing amount of time continuing<br />

our constructive discussions with the EU<br />

and other international institutions by<br />

providing them with information that<br />

is up to date, for instance about the socalled<br />

Cyprus Papers published by Al<br />

Jazeera. Cyprus’ decision to suspend its<br />

citizenship-by-investment programme<br />

following the damming and quite frankly<br />

shocking revelations is the right thing<br />

to do. A proper investigation needs to<br />

take place into the allegations that were<br />

made and the context. Our experience<br />

with media programmes like the one of<br />

Al Jazeera is that often they are twisted<br />

to achieve a specific goal, in this case<br />

to damage the reputation of Cyprus. In<br />

response to the infringement procedures<br />

initiated by the European Commission<br />

against Malta and Cyprus regarding their<br />

citizenship by investment programme,<br />

I like to point out that citizenship of<br />

EU member states remains a national<br />

competence. The division of competence<br />

between the EU and its member states<br />

is the central postulate on which the<br />

Union is based, and the latter can<br />

sovereignly decide which individuals<br />

and under what circumstances they<br />

should acquire their citizenship.<br />

How do you believe the dialogue<br />

with supranational institutions,<br />

including the EU, OECD and<br />

World Bank will evolve? And what<br />

role does the <strong>IM</strong>C aim to play in<br />

establishing a better relationship?<br />

I’d like to point out that we weren’t<br />

established as an advocacy group, but as a<br />

membership body. Our primary aim was<br />

and is to bring the investment migration<br />

community together, introducing certain<br />

common standards and ensuring that<br />

governments from around the world have<br />

a platform to talk about this kind of legal<br />

migration. We have been talking to the<br />

EU and other policy bodies for about a<br />

year and a half now. Our motivation was<br />

to let everybody in the policy circles know<br />

that the investment migration industry is<br />

represented by our organisation – a nonprofit<br />

Swiss organisation – and that we are<br />

here to act as a bridge of communication<br />

between the industry and policymakers<br />

who need information about the sector so<br />

that they can make informed decisions.<br />

In many ways, we have been highly<br />

successful. We have published many<br />

policy papers, we have been cited by<br />

the European Parliamentary Research<br />

Service, and the OECD monitors our<br />

work. We have morphed a little bit into<br />

a think tank, at least on the reporting<br />

side. In the past, we focused on the legal<br />

side of what investment migration is,<br />

now we are emphasising the economic<br />

value of investment migration. Recently,<br />

we’ve published a report looking at the<br />

UN Sustainable Development Goals and<br />

how investment migration contributes<br />

to many of the 17 important goals.<br />

I am<br />

completely<br />

in agreement<br />

with Ursula von der<br />

Leyen: European<br />

values should not<br />

be for sale. But if<br />

we are concerned<br />

about European<br />

values, why don’t we<br />

look at introducing a<br />

European values test?<br />

Bruno L’ecuyer is the<br />

BIO first Chief Executive<br />

of the Investment<br />

Migration Council, the worldwide<br />

association of investor migration<br />

professionals. Bruno leads the<br />

Secretariat and is responsible<br />

for all <strong>IM</strong>C operations. A regular<br />

contributor to international<br />

publications such as Forbes,<br />

and speaker at conferences in<br />

Europe, the Middle East and<br />

Asia, he has held positions in<br />

London, Paris and Hong Kong.<br />

He has extensive expertise and<br />

experience in the management<br />

and expansion of a professional<br />

services association. A member<br />

of the Governing Board,<br />

Bruno acts as its Secretary.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 25

When the news broke about covid-19,<br />

you quickly realised this pandemic<br />

would jeopardise the Investment<br />

Migration Forum. How did you stay in<br />

touch with the industry during this<br />

challenging and uncertain time and<br />

are you planning a Forum for 20<strong>21</strong>?<br />

In March <strong>2020</strong>, when the pandemic<br />

brought travel to a standstill, we quickly<br />

transformed the way we communicated<br />

and launched the <strong>IM</strong>C Streaming Service<br />

‘Crossing Borders’ on YouTube. To date,<br />

we’ve hosted close to 70 Crossing Borders<br />

programmes, which have welcomed more<br />

than 200 speakers and attracted some<br />

2,700 delegates from 60+ countries. The<br />

programme has been quite successful and<br />

is now a permanent fixture in our events<br />

calendar with a monthly broadcast. All<br />

of the previous broadcasts are available<br />

free to view on our YouTube channel.<br />

Nonetheless, we feel the need of<br />

the industry to meet face to face again<br />

and are planning to host the Investment<br />

Migration Forum between the 14th and<br />

17th June 20<strong>21</strong> in Brussels, Belgium. We<br />

are excited to bring the Forum to Brussels<br />

for the first time. We had wonderful four<br />

years in Geneva, Switzerland, but a lot<br />

of our regular attendees expressed the<br />

wish to discover another European city.<br />

Given the increasing amount of time that<br />

we spend in Brussels nowadays, Brussels<br />

was a natural choice. Besides, we are<br />

hoping to increase the participation of<br />

European policymakers by bringing this<br />

high-calibre event to their doorstep, which<br />

would allow them to fit the Forum in<br />

their busy schedules. Without the need<br />

to travel, it will offer them an opportunity<br />

to learn more about the sector and meet<br />

the people who are involved. As an<br />

industry, we often get accused of being<br />

secretive and not very transparent. This<br />

was perhaps true in the past, but the sector<br />

has changed and evolved a lot. We are<br />

very welcoming and want to advance the<br />

dialogue with European institutions.<br />

We have<br />

morphed a<br />

little bit into a<br />

think tank, at least on<br />

the reporting side. In<br />

the past, we focused<br />

on the legal side of<br />

what investment<br />

migration is, now we<br />

are emphasising the<br />

economic value of<br />

investment migration.<br />

26<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong><br />

<strong>IM</strong>C STREAMING<br />

Keeping our community<br />

together and informed<br />

67<br />

broadcasts<br />

since March <strong>2020</strong><br />

77<br />



2,697<br />

delegates<br />

343<br />


Q A<br />

67<br />


WITH 69%<br />


85.5<br />

HOURS OF<br />


83%<br />

interest rating<br />


76%<br />

attentiveness rating<br />

What new membership initiatives do<br />

you have in the pipeline, and what<br />

else can the industry expect from the<br />

<strong>IM</strong>C in the coming 12 to 24 months?<br />

Covid-19 has accelerated our digitalisation<br />

programme. We had a 12-18 months<br />

programme aimed at digitalizing many<br />

of our services for our members. This<br />

has now been fast-tracked, and we are<br />

working on a new website, which is<br />

focused on the user experience. Our<br />

members will be able to manage their<br />

profile, get in touch with the community<br />

and the <strong>IM</strong>C, as well as accessing<br />

information, facts and figures about the<br />

sector in a much more user-friendly way.<br />

We will also be launching <strong>IM</strong>C<br />

Fellow membership, the highest level of<br />

membership. It is open to any individual<br />

who has been a professional member<br />

of the <strong>IM</strong>C for 5 consecutive years and<br />

has 10+ years of working experience<br />

with 3 years at senior level. We are<br />

planning to launch the <strong>IM</strong>C Fellow<br />

membership at the same time as the<br />

website towards the end of <strong>2020</strong>.<br />

The <strong>IM</strong>C’s Education and Training<br />

division (<strong>IM</strong>CET) has also been busy<br />

and will be launching two new bespoke<br />

courses shortly. We are also restructuring<br />

the Certification in Investment Migration<br />

and are planning to offer students the<br />

opportunity to choose individual modules<br />

of this very successful course. These bitesized<br />

learning options are great news<br />

for both employees and employers<br />

What final message would you<br />

like to share with the investment<br />

migration community?<br />

Migration is always going to be a divisive<br />

issue that will elicit a lot of discussion<br />

and various viewpoints, no matter what<br />

category of migrants it is. We need to<br />

raise awareness about the contribution<br />

that investor migrants make in their<br />

communities. Often, their contributions<br />

go well beyond the financial investment<br />

that is required as part of an investment<br />

migration programme. There are many<br />

examples around the world, unfortunately,<br />

the media often ignores those positives<br />

as they are not newsworthy. Take, for<br />

example, the late Thai entrepreneur<br />

Mr Vichai Srivaddhanprabha. He was<br />

predominantly famous for investing in<br />

Leicester Football club – at least that<br />

is what media focused on. However,<br />

he was a lot more than that. He was<br />

an investment migrant in the UK who,<br />

throughout his stay in Leicester city, gave<br />

away £2m in donations towards a new<br />

children’s hospital, and a £1m gift to the<br />

city’s university medical department. I<br />

think as an industry, we have a unique<br />

opportunity to address economic and<br />

societal disparities and bring about<br />

positive and impactful change – and<br />

we need to recognise the importance of<br />

effectively communicating how we are<br />

creating value for all stakeholders.

Brussels Leaks<br />




The <strong>IM</strong> <strong>Yearbook</strong> has brought together insights and analysis from the very heart<br />

of the European Union. We are explaining the EU’s political realities, highlighting<br />

policymakers’ views and opinions of investment migration and pointing out key<br />

policy themes that will likely influence the industry in the years to come.<br />

values are not for<br />

sale.” That’s how Commission<br />

“European<br />

President Ursula von der<br />

Leyen referred to investment migration<br />

programmes in her State of the Union<br />

address in September <strong>2020</strong>. While,<br />

in principle, many in the investment<br />

migration industry agree with her<br />

statement, the European Commission’s<br />

decision to launch infringement procedures<br />

against Malta and Cyprus in October <strong>2020</strong><br />

has left many to wonder how the sector’s<br />

relationship with the European Union<br />

will continue to develop in the future.<br />

The EU has sounded alarm on<br />

various matters related to the investment<br />

migration industry in recent years.<br />

It warned that investment migration<br />

programmes operating in the EU posed<br />

risks of money laundering, security and<br />

corruption, and that they enable the<br />

circumvention of EU rules and lead to<br />

the commodification of citizenship. The<br />

Commission’s latest attempt to crack down<br />

on investor citizenship programmes are<br />

based on two arguments: The first one is<br />

that investor citizenship is incompatible<br />

with the very essence of EU citizenship<br />

and the second one is that they go against<br />

the principle of sincere cooperation.<br />

Both raise important legal questions for<br />

which answers have yet to be found.<br />

Even through it is unlikely that the<br />

EU will govern citizenship and residency<br />

matters directly anytime soon, the work<br />

of the institutions will increasingly<br />

impact the operations of investment<br />

migration programmes. There’s a long list<br />

of themes and topics that the investment<br />

migration industry should follow closely.<br />

Genuine Link and Sincere Cooperation<br />

The question of a genuine link has<br />

definitely risen to the top of the industry’s<br />

watch list following the launch of<br />

infringement procedures against Malta<br />

and Cyprus. The Commission claims<br />

that ‘the granting of EU citizenship for<br />

pre-determined payments or investments<br />

without any genuine link with the<br />

member states concerned, undermines the<br />

essence of EU citizenship’. Legal experts<br />

point out that it is not clear whether<br />

the Commission considers the absence<br />

of genuine links alone as problematic,<br />

or whether granting EU citizenship for<br />

investment combined with the absence of<br />

genuine links justifies its legal challenge.<br />

It is not the first time that the Commission<br />

points to a genuine link. In its 2019 report<br />

28<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

on investment migration, the Commission<br />

already suggested that a genuine link<br />

should be evidenced to claim a citizenship.<br />

Yet, such a view would be at odds with<br />

the fact that numerous member states<br />

regularly grant citizenship to foreigners<br />

in recognition of their exceptional<br />

achievements or their contribution to the<br />

state. Legal experts also point out that<br />

this argument could have far-reaching<br />

consequences, and it may also open<br />

the door to further legal challenges to<br />

national citizenship policies. In addition,<br />

they say it is unclear how citizenshipby-investment<br />

programmes potentially<br />

affect the principle of sincere cooperation,<br />

which the Commission mentions too.<br />

The Commission has yet to explain its<br />

legal arguments in detail; the investment<br />

migration industry is ready to listen.<br />

Transparency and Risk Management<br />

There is little doubt that the industry<br />

will have to step up and strengthen<br />

transparency and risk management<br />

further if it wants to win over critics in<br />

EU circles. In 2019, both the European<br />

Commission and the European<br />

Parliament have released opinions on<br />

money laundering and tax or justice<br />

evasion, which made explicit references<br />

to investment migration programmes<br />

in some member states. It was certainly<br />

a welcome development that the final<br />

EU recommendations called for greater<br />

transparency and better risk mitigation,<br />

not an outright ban on investment<br />

migration. However, in its report on<br />

so-called “golden” visas, the European<br />

Commission announced it will monitor<br />

the steps taken by member states to<br />

ensure transparency and mitigate risks<br />

in investment migration programmes<br />

very closely. Many in the industry believe<br />

that the recent revelations surrounding<br />

the Cypriot citizenship-by-investment<br />

programme have prompted the European<br />

Commission to open infringement<br />

proceedings. The Council of Europe, a<br />

non-EU institution, also urged member<br />

states to find measures preventing<br />

individuals from unlawfully abusing<br />

investment migration programmes.<br />

Rule of Law<br />

Ursula von der Leyen’s reference to the<br />

protection of European values needs<br />

to be viewed in the context of the EU’s<br />

growing ambitions in the field of the rule<br />

of law. The legal basis for its “mandate”<br />

is Article 2 of the Treaty on European<br />

Union (TEU), which lists the founding<br />

values of the Union. Traditionally, the<br />

Commission merely monitored national<br />

institutional setting, for instance to ensure<br />

the effective separation of powers.<br />

Recently, however, the Commission<br />

has also been scrutinising domestic<br />

governance and legal frameworks to<br />

uphold transparency and risk mitigation<br />

against fraud. It refers to those issues as<br />

breaches of the common European values<br />

that it ought to uphold throughout the<br />

bloc. In September <strong>2020</strong>, the Commission<br />

published its first Annual Report<br />

on the Rule of Law. The publication<br />

provides a comprehensive review of<br />

each member state, including on matters<br />

of corruption, tax evasion and money<br />

laundering. Yet, it does not include any<br />

mention of investment migration.<br />

Even though investment migration<br />

programmes were not directly referenced<br />

in the Rule of Law report, the industry<br />

should remain vigilant. Industry experts<br />

find it worrying that investment migration<br />

continues to be looked at through the<br />

lenses of its potential misuse. Many<br />

argue that a proactive engagement with<br />

the European institutions is paramount<br />

to counter this political narrative.<br />

Anti-Money Laundering and Taxation<br />

In 20<strong>21</strong>, the investment migration<br />

industry can also expect to hear more<br />

from the Group of Member State<br />

Experts on Investor Citizenship and<br />

Residence Schemes. This group,<br />

established in 2019 by the European<br />

Commission, aims to identify areas<br />

where the EU legislator could intervene.<br />

The experts already determined that a<br />

standard set of security checks and risk<br />

management measures are essential<br />

for efficiently governing investment<br />

migration programmes across the EU.<br />

The checks the experts referred<br />

to are those the EU put forward in its<br />

recent anti-money laundering (AML)<br />

and combating the financing of terrorism<br />

(CFT) regulations. The AML/CFT<br />

rules establish stringent monitoring<br />

mechanisms and due diligence procedures<br />

on large financial transactions. These rules<br />

thus apply to investment migration, and<br />

the industry should continue to closely<br />

monitor future update as they may affect<br />

the governance of the programmes.<br />

Taxation is another area that<br />

is often brought in connection<br />

with investment migration.<br />

At the European Parliament,<br />

since September <strong>2020</strong> a permanent<br />

subcommittee on tax matters has started<br />

to meet on a regular basis. Among<br />

other issues, the newly established<br />

subcommittee deals with tax evasion<br />

and money laundering. It is too early<br />

to argue whether their legislative<br />

work will be harmful to investment<br />

migration, but the industry should<br />

closely follow how the subcommittee’s<br />

20<strong>21</strong> legislative agenda unfolds.<br />

Supporters and Opponents<br />

There is no clear line between<br />

supporters and opponents of investment<br />

migration among the political groups<br />

in the European Parliament. Across<br />

the political spectrum, each group<br />

includes MEPs supporting investment<br />

migration and other members opposing<br />

it. In fact, geographic origin is more<br />

important than political affiliation.<br />

Representatives from Northern<br />

and Western member states tend to be<br />

more critical of the industry than their<br />

Southern and Eastern counterparts.<br />

There are, of course, some exceptions. For<br />

example, there are a few vocal Southern<br />

MEPs, often from opposition parties,<br />

who also oppose investment migration.<br />

Opponents usually argue that countries<br />

with investment migration programmes<br />

profit from selling access to the EU. This<br />

view overlooks the fact that almost all<br />

member states grant citizenship and<br />

residency to foreigners based on financial<br />

contributions, even if they have no official<br />

investment migration programme in place.<br />

Meanwhile, several MEPs from<br />

Eastern and Southern member states<br />

view investment migration in more<br />

favourable terms. They understand the<br />

threats but also the benefits. In recent<br />

debates, they have helped identify<br />

solutions to mitigate the risks of CBI<br />

and RBI programmes, while preserving<br />

the right of member states to operate<br />

and regulate investment migration.<br />

Comparison with other<br />

International Institutions<br />

The EU is a lot more critical about the<br />

investment migration industry than other<br />

international institutions. The reason<br />

for this is that the remit of the European<br />

Union is much broader and its nature<br />

much more politically dynamic than<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 29

most mandate-specific international<br />

organisations. The EU institutions have<br />

legislative powers on a wide array of issues<br />

and manage a multiannual budget.<br />

At the OECD, the mandate is<br />

focused on gathering data, running<br />

comparative studies and making practical<br />

recommendations on common challenges.<br />

With regard to investment migration,<br />

the OECD is merely concerned about<br />

how the misuse of investment migration<br />

programmes could allow individuals to<br />

circumvent reporting obligations under<br />

the OECD/G20 Common Reporting<br />

Standard (CRS). Thus, the OECD<br />

provides guidance to finance authorities<br />

on how to further strengthen the due<br />

diligence obligations under the CRS.<br />

The <strong>IM</strong>F and the World Bank consider<br />

investment migration programmes from<br />

a public finance perspective as a source<br />

of revenue for national governments. In<br />

its working papers, the <strong>IM</strong>F looks at the<br />

industry from a cost-benefit perspective.<br />

In its 2018 country report on Malta, it<br />

praises the significant contribution <strong>IM</strong><br />

schemes make to the national economy. It<br />

also makes recommendations about how<br />

to sustain the benefits while mitigating<br />

the reputational and financial stability<br />

risks. Along with the World Bank’s<br />

comprehensive data on FDI, the Bretton<br />

Woods institutions help foster a greater<br />

understanding of the size of the industry<br />

and its contribution to the well-being of<br />

developing nations. Whereas the OECD,<br />

the <strong>IM</strong>F and the World Bank provide nonnormative<br />

analyses and credible figures on<br />

<strong>IM</strong>, the EU adopts a much more normative<br />

stance according to industry insiders.<br />

Effect on Non-EU Countries<br />

The European Union is also a prominent<br />

global political actor. Its power and<br />

influence over non-EU countries<br />

should not be underestimated,<br />

although for the moment, European<br />

institutions are focusing their<br />

efforts mainly on the CBI and RBI<br />

programmes of EU member states.<br />

However, the EU already exerts<br />

influence on candidate countries through<br />

its enlargement policy. Investment<br />

migration is likely to be on the agenda of<br />

upcoming accession talks with Albania,<br />

Moldova and Montenegro. In the eyes of<br />

the Commission, investment migration<br />

raises rule of law concerns – an essential<br />

chapter in the EU accession negotiations.<br />

A Look at the Political Landscape<br />

The European election in 2019 has changed the political landscape quite<br />

significantly. There is no more grand coalition leading the debates in the<br />

Parliament. The two main political parties – European People’s Party (EPP)<br />

and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) – no longer hold an absolute majority<br />

in the Parliament. A significant proportion of the electorate expressed a<br />

clear support for more economic liberalism as the clear winner of the 2019<br />

election was the ALDE group (Liberals). The Greens can also be regarded as<br />

an election winner as environmental concerns are gaining in importance<br />

for European citizens. These two political groups are now essential to build<br />

a majority in the European Parliament. In addition, some argue that the<br />

authority of the Commission over the European Parliament is not as strong<br />

as it used to be. The new President, Ursula von der Leyen, was elected with<br />

a mere majority of seven votes. In addition, three Commissioners nominated<br />

by France, Hungary and Romania were rejected after their hearing.<br />

The European Union also cooperates<br />

with almost any third country in the<br />

world. It’s the world largest donor<br />

of international aid. The promotion<br />

of good governance practices and<br />

the fight against international crime<br />

form part of this cooperation. An<br />

example of the EU’s influence on third<br />

countries is the pressure it has put on<br />

the Government of Panama following<br />

the release of the Panama Papers.<br />

Besides, the investment migration<br />

industry needs to consider the EU’s<br />

fight against tax havens. There is the<br />

real but distant possibility that the<br />

European Union might cancel visa waiver<br />

programmes with third countries that<br />

are considered tax havens. Countries<br />

whose citizens have visa-free access to<br />

the European Union and promote this as<br />

a benefit of their investment migration<br />

programmes could potentially be the first<br />

ones to lose their privileged access to the<br />

European Union. Brexit could accelerate<br />

this prospect in those countries that were<br />

former colonies of the British Empire.<br />

Working Hand in Hand<br />

Among industry experts, there is the<br />

opinion that predominantly negative<br />

stereotypes and legal bias fuel the<br />

work of European policymakers, while<br />

EU institutions are mainly tackling<br />

investment migration from a judicial<br />

perspective. They say that this narrow<br />

approach overlooks the economic, fiscal<br />

and social benefits for host countries and<br />

migrants alike. There is consensus in the<br />

industry that it is important to directly<br />

engage with European policymakers<br />

to provide them the information they<br />

need to make informed decision.<br />

The Investment Migration Council<br />

(<strong>IM</strong>C) shares the EU’s concerns on issues<br />

such as transparency, due diligence<br />

and the potential for illegal activities<br />

that can occur in the minority of cases<br />

when investment is abused. The trade<br />

association, however, believes that<br />

the best solution is for industry and<br />

policymakers to collaborate in raising<br />

standards across the board to mitigate<br />

the risks of abuse. The organisation<br />

follows an open, comprehensive and a<br />

fact-based public affairs approach. On<br />

various occasions, the <strong>IM</strong>C has attended<br />

events with policymakers, answered<br />

questions about investment migration<br />

programmes and highlighted the<br />

industry’s self-regulatory practice. The<br />

<strong>IM</strong>C believes that a well-working system is<br />

in the interest of host countries, migrants<br />

and the industry, whereby properly<br />

regulated programmes facilitate the<br />

inevitable flow of migration. In 20<strong>21</strong> and<br />

beyond, the <strong>IM</strong>C will continue to engage<br />

constructively with European institutions<br />

and communicate its efforts to MEPs.<br />

30<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

C0%<br />




Melissa Kelley-Hilton<br />

Worldwide Investigations Expert<br />

Founder & CEO<br />

Peter Vincent<br />

Global Security Expert<br />

Providing Independent Services<br />

to Hilton Global Associates<br />

Timely, Relevant, and Actionable Investigative<br />

Due Diligence for Investment Migration<br />

M0%<br />

Y0%<br />

K0%<br />

Programs Around the World<br />

445 Park Avenue, 9th Floor<br />

New York, NY 10022<br />

(833) HGA-1234<br />

info@hiltonglobalassociates.com<br />

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Naples, FL 34102

Interview with DR ELENA BASHESKA, Legal Researcher and EU/International Affairs Consultant/Advisor<br />

WHY THE EU’S<br />



A legal battle is brewing in the EU as the European Commission<br />

has taken action against Cyprus and Malta over their citizenshipby-investment<br />

programmes. Elena Basheska sheds light on<br />

the Commission’s arguments and explains why it would be<br />

good if the cases end up at the European Court of Justice.<br />

In October <strong>2020</strong>, the European Commission<br />

opened infringement procedures against<br />

Malta and Cyprus over their citizenshipby-investment<br />

programmes, pointing<br />

out that these schemes undermine<br />

the essence of EU citizenship. What<br />

general comments would you like to<br />

make about this development?<br />

It is not a secret that the EU is not happy<br />

with the fact that some member states run<br />

investment migration programmes. This<br />

situation has been dragging on for quite some<br />

time. Investment migration programmes<br />

have been often criticised by the European<br />

Commission and the European Parliament,<br />

and both institutions demanded in the past<br />

that countries phase out the programmes.<br />

The infringement procedures against<br />

Cyprus and Malta come as no surprise. Actually,<br />

the European Commission first reacted to<br />

the launch of the Malta Individual Investor<br />

Programme (IIP) back in 2013 and reportedly<br />

started to plan for an infringement procedure<br />

against Malta due to the lack of the genuine link<br />

requirement and on the basis of the principle<br />

of sincere cooperation enshrined in Article 4(3)<br />

TEU. Instead, however, Malta agreed to amend<br />

its IIP to introduce a residence requirement<br />

for those who wanted to acquire citizenship<br />

through investment. Such compromise by<br />

Malta seemed more like a tactic to prevent<br />

escalation of the issue than being based on facts<br />

and law as there is no such thing as a residence<br />

requirement for the purposes of acquiring<br />

nationality from a member state in EU law.<br />

The investment migration industry has long<br />

argued that the granting of citizenship is<br />

the prerogative of member states. What’s<br />

the EU’s competence in this area?<br />

A simple answer to the question would<br />

be that EU member states have exclusive<br />

competence to determine who their citizens<br />

are. Allow me to elaborate further.<br />

First of all, the limits of EU competences<br />

are governed by the principle of conferral.<br />

This means that the EU acts only within<br />

the limits of the competences that EU<br />

member states have conferred upon it in the<br />

Treaties, and nationality is not among these<br />

competences. Limitations on the principle of<br />

conferral are interpreted strictly and require<br />

close involvement of member states.<br />

Furthermore, EU citizenship is<br />

complementary to, but does not replace,<br />

national citizenship. Put differently, EU<br />

citizenship protects the rights of member states’<br />

nationals which are not granted by their states<br />

but by the Union itself. It is for the EU member<br />

states, however, to regulate who qualifies as<br />

a national, having due regard to EU law.<br />

The EU case law preserves this competence<br />

of member states, with the only exception<br />

of instances where it is necessary to ensure<br />

effective and uniform protection of rights<br />

of EU citizens. Thus, the EU has normally<br />

interfered in nationality matters where<br />

member states have enacted measures that<br />

restrict rights of EU citizens rather than where<br />

such rights are to be enjoyed by new citizens.<br />

What’s the legal basis for the action<br />

against Malta and Cyprus?<br />

Article 258 TFEU is a standard infringement<br />

procedure which empowers the Commission<br />

to act against a member state that fails to<br />

meet its obligations under the Treaties. The<br />

Commission, however, enjoys discretion in its<br />

right to commence infringement procedures<br />

pursuant to that provision. If it finds that a<br />

member state has not applied EU law and<br />

has accordingly failed to meet its obligations,<br />

it will not bring the member state before the<br />

European Court of Justice (ECJ) immediately.<br />

Proceedings under Article 258 TFEU comprise<br />

Acquisition<br />

of citizenship<br />

through<br />

investment is<br />

a legal path of<br />

naturalisation,<br />

likeable or not.<br />

32<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

two stages: administrative and judicial. Under<br />

the first stage, the Commission will make<br />

various attempts to negotiate an agreement<br />

with the member state concerned informally<br />

and usually by exchange of correspondence,<br />

documents, data etc. If no agreement is<br />

achieved in the pre-infringement stage<br />

and the Commission decides to initiate an<br />

infringement procedure, it will send a formal<br />

notice to the member state. The member<br />

state is then given the opportunity to submit<br />

its observations. After the member state’s<br />

submission, the Commission decides whether<br />

to deliver a reasoned opinion explaining<br />

why it considers that the member state has<br />

failed to fulfil its Treaty obligations. Once the<br />

member state has replied to the Commission’s<br />

reasoned opinion or the lack thereof, the<br />

Commission will refer the matter to the<br />

ECJ and thus start the judicial procedure.<br />

The infringement procedures<br />

against Cyprus and Malta have now<br />

been initiated with the formal notices<br />

sent by the Commission. What is less<br />

clear, however, is what arguments the<br />

Commission would use with regard to the<br />

obligations under the Treaties that these<br />

two member states allegedly failed to<br />

fulfil if this case is brought to the court.<br />

The EC’s objections are partially based<br />

on the concept of “genuine links”. What<br />

can you tell us about this notion?<br />

In its Press Release on the matter, the<br />

European Commission stated that it<br />

‘considers that the granting by these member<br />

states of their nationality – and thereby<br />

EU citizenship – in exchange for a predetermined<br />

payment or investment and<br />

without a genuine link with the member<br />

states concerned, is not compatible with the<br />

principle of sincere cooperation enshrined<br />

in Article 4(3) of the Treaty on European<br />

Union. This also undermines the integrity<br />

of the status of EU citizenship provided<br />

for in Article 20 of the Treaty on the<br />

Functioning of the European Union’.<br />

The Commission will most likely argue<br />

that Cyprus and Malta failed to fulfil their<br />

obligations under Article 4(3) TEU and<br />

Article 20 TFEU by granting nationality<br />

in exchange for payment or investment<br />

and without genuine link. This argument<br />

is, however, somewhat problematic.<br />

First of all, the ‘genuine link’ theory<br />

has not developed into obligatory rules<br />

or principles of international law, let<br />

alone in EU law which provides for<br />

non-discrimination on the basis of<br />

nationality. Trying to impose a ‘genuine<br />

link’ requirement on member states with<br />

regard to their criteria for acquisition of<br />

citizenship would not only be incompatible<br />

with EU law but would also almost<br />

certainly spark ethnic nationalism and<br />

undermine the values of the Union itself.<br />

Secondly, it is difficult to imagine that<br />

the principle of sincere cooperation could<br />

be successfully invoked in the context<br />

of these cases. Article 4(3) concerns the<br />

achievement of EU objectives and genuine<br />

compliance with EU law, none of which<br />

seems to be related with the investment<br />

programmes. A possible infringement<br />

of that provision could be imagined in<br />

the case of mass naturalisation, which<br />

may have a significant negative impact<br />

on the internal market. This is where a<br />

member state confers its citizenship to a<br />

large, disproportional numbers of thirdcountry<br />

nationals. However, this doesn’t<br />

seemed to be the case with Cyprus and<br />

Malta because the number of citizenship<br />

granted through their investment<br />

programmes remained low in general<br />

and compared to the number of other<br />

naturalisations in the EU in particular.<br />

Dr Elena Basheska<br />

BIO is an independent<br />

legal researcher<br />

and EU/international<br />

affairs consultant/<br />

advisor. She holds an LLM<br />

in European law and a<br />

PhD in EU law from the<br />

University of Groningen<br />

(The Netherlands). Elena<br />

has extensive experience<br />

as a researcher, working<br />

previously in various<br />

sectors, including<br />

academia, NGOs, law<br />

firms and professional<br />

organisations. Her<br />

research interests focus<br />

on EU enlargement,<br />

EU external relations,<br />

citizenship, and protection<br />

of human rights.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 33

It would<br />

be very<br />

good,<br />

however, if<br />

these cases<br />

reach the court,<br />

and EU law on<br />

this specific<br />

subject matter<br />

is clarified.<br />

The EU has also pointed repeatedly towards<br />

other possible negative side-effects of<br />

investment migration, including money<br />

laundering, tax evasion and corruption.<br />

In your opinion, what measures can the<br />

EU implement to mitigate the risk of<br />

crime related to investment migration?<br />

Money laundering, tax evasion, corruption<br />

and other illegal activities are one thing, and<br />

acquisition of citizenship through investment<br />

quite another. Acquisition of citizenship through<br />

investment is a legal path of naturalisation,<br />

likeable or not. Yet, associating money laundering,<br />

tax evasion, and corruption with investment<br />

migration make the latter look somewhat illegal,<br />

and this is wrong. Similar to other industries that<br />

involve large financial transactions, investment<br />

migration is prone to all sorts of illegal activities<br />

– which may come from both dishonest clients<br />

pursuing illegitimate ends, or corrupt politicians<br />

misusing the programmes for personal gains –<br />

and this is unacceptable. However, these illegal<br />

activities result from the malfunctioning of the<br />

law and are not related to investment programmes<br />

as such. The focus should be, therefore, on the<br />

enforcement of the rule of law in EU member<br />

states. Investment migration should undergo<br />

the same scrutiny as other industries involving<br />

large international financial transactions.<br />

While the EC has also written to<br />

Bulgaria to request further information<br />

about its programme, Austria, which<br />

also grants citizenship to foreign<br />

investors, is not being mentioned. Why<br />

do you believe this is the case?<br />

The fact that the Commission is concerned<br />

about the investment programmes of Bulgaria,<br />

Cyprus and Malta, and has not raised its<br />

concerns about other EU member states that<br />

allow for acquisition of citizenship by investment<br />

through their legislation, suggests that the EU<br />

is more concerned with the form than with<br />

the substance of investment migration. In its<br />

2019 Report, the Commission explained that<br />

the discretionary naturalisation procedures in<br />

countries other than Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta<br />

are highly individualised and used on a limited<br />

basis, and that, therefore, such procedures<br />

were not the object of the Commission’s report.<br />

That explanation, however, is contrary to the<br />

arguments used by the Commission so far. If the<br />

lack of a genuine link is problematic in the view<br />

of the Commission, then all other practices of<br />

member states granting nationality in absence of<br />

a genuine link should be deemed problematic too,<br />

as such practices, according to the Commission,<br />

infringe the principle of sincere cooperation.<br />

If the Commission is genuinely concerned<br />

about the lack of a genuine link, then this issue<br />

would go way beyond investment migration,<br />

affecting other forms of naturalisation too.<br />

Thus far the EC’s action is directed only<br />

towards member states’ citizenshipby-investment<br />

programmes and not<br />

against the more common investor<br />

residence programmes. Do you expect<br />

that the EC will move to take action in<br />

this area too? If so, what competence<br />

does the EU have to adopt legislation<br />

that restricts member states’ rights<br />

to establish RBI programmes?<br />

The EU has voiced its concerns about both<br />

citizenship-by-investment programmes and<br />

residence-by-investment programmes in the<br />

past. Citizenship-by-investment programmes,<br />

however, are of a more immediate concern<br />

for the EU because mobility entitlements<br />

of new EU citizens who have gained their<br />

citizenship through investment are more farreaching<br />

than the entitlements of new EU<br />

residents who have gained their residence<br />

through investment programmes.<br />

Thus, new EU citizens do not have to<br />

reside in the member state that granted their<br />

nationality but have the right to move and<br />

reside freely within the territory of any other<br />

member state and beyond (in the EEA and<br />

Switzerland, albeit with certain limitations in<br />

some instances), to mention the most important<br />

right stemming from EU citizenship. Unlike EU<br />

citizens, new EU residents are entitled to lawful<br />

residence in the member state where they<br />

made their investment. Their residence permit<br />

allows them to travel within the Schengen<br />

area and in other non-Schengen EU countries<br />

(Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania) based<br />

on the unilateral recognition of residence<br />

permits by those states, but their residence<br />

status does not allow for free movement<br />

within the territory of other member states.<br />

However, long-term residence leads often<br />

to citizenship, and this is where the EU may<br />

voice its concerns again and for the same<br />

reasons discussed in the context of citizenship<br />

by investment – absence of genuine link<br />

and in particular, physical presence during<br />

the residence of the investor, which takes<br />

us back to the beginning of this interview.<br />

Whether the EU will take action with regard<br />

to RBI programmes would, in my opinion,<br />

depend pretty much on the outcome of its<br />

current actions against Cyprus and Malta.<br />

How do you believe the situation will<br />

develop in the coming months?<br />

Launching infringement procedures against<br />

Cyprus and Malta does not mean that we will<br />

necessarily see a case on this matter in front<br />

of the court. The European Commission has<br />

discretion on whether or not to bring those<br />

cases to court. It would be very good, however,<br />

if these cases reach the court, and EU law on<br />

this specific subject matter is clarified.<br />

34<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

In conversation with KIERON SHARP, CEO of FACT Group<br />



The EU has pointed repeatedly towards<br />

possible negative side-effects of<br />

investment migration, including money<br />

laundering, tax evasion and corruption.<br />

In your opinion, does investment<br />

migration pose a security risk?<br />

I think it’s worth to take a step back at first and<br />

consider that people have always invested in<br />

other countries as a means to be able to live<br />

there or to improve their freedom of lifestyle.<br />

The only thing that golden citizenship and<br />

golden visa programmes have done is to<br />

formalise the process. Any form of migration<br />

presents a potential security threat and,<br />

therefore, security must be a major factor<br />

for investment migration programmes. No<br />

country wants convicted criminals amongst<br />

their new residents or citizens and increased<br />

measures are being put in place to ensure that<br />

the people who are going to become citizens<br />

or residents are ‘fit and proper’ individuals.<br />

The programmes that we at FACT work with<br />

all have very high standards and processes in<br />

this regard, which are reviewed continuously.<br />

Cyprus has stopped its citizenship-byinvestment<br />

(CBI) programme after a<br />

report by Al Jazeera alleged high-ranking<br />

politicians were willing to issue passports<br />

to convicted criminals. What’s your<br />

reaction to this recent development?<br />

All efforts to screen applicants fall apart if there<br />

are corrupt individuals who are in a position<br />

to influence decision-making so that people<br />

who are clearly unacceptable can become<br />

citizens. That’s why it is important to have<br />

checks and balances built into the programme,<br />

but it’s even more vital to ensure that there<br />

are checks and balances on the influence that<br />

politicians and senior government officials<br />

have on a programme. You would like to think<br />

that governments are always trying to ensure<br />

that their systems prevent undue influence,<br />

but the problem with corruption is that it’s a<br />

secret offence. You can put everything in place<br />

– all the laws, regulations and safeguards – but<br />

it can still happen. A corrupt act is usually<br />

between two people – so it’s very difficult to<br />

spot. All forms of economic crime usually<br />

involve an insider because large scale fraud<br />

rarely happens completely from the outside.<br />

The moment there are corrupt individuals<br />

involved, it presents an opportunity to<br />

destabilise an entire system or government.<br />

What about the money laundering risk?<br />

Money laundering is often thrown into the<br />

discussion because it is a catch-all term for any<br />

economic crime that doesn’t fit in a specific<br />

category. It is a simple fact that people who<br />

are involved in any criminal activity will have<br />

to clean their money at some point. In some<br />

countries it is completely unnecessary because<br />

it doesn’t seem to matter that they got the money<br />

from an illicit source, but in the majority of<br />

countries it does, so they need to find a way to<br />

make that money clean. Money laundering is<br />

actually a big part of a criminal lifestyle. There<br />

are not many people who commit a crime<br />

once and then need to launder money just<br />

once. So, using a CBI programme as a means<br />

of laundering money is not a very effective<br />

way. The main reason is that you don’t get<br />

your money back. Laundering money means<br />

you are taking dirty money and you get clean<br />

money back. When it comes to investment<br />

migration, that’s not the case. Additionally,<br />

you can only do it once as you can’t keep on<br />

investing in different programmes. It doesn’t<br />

really help when you have got criminal profits<br />

coming from your criminal enterprise. It’s not<br />

the most obvious thing that people would<br />

want to use a CBI programme for. The same<br />

can be said about the tax evasion argument.<br />

CBI programmes require one-off payments,<br />

so, you are only tax evading once. It may be<br />

that you become a citizen of a country with a<br />

more attractive tax regime, but that’s not tax<br />

evasion, not even tax avoidance necessarily.<br />

Is there anything that could be brought<br />

in from a European security perspective,<br />

such as another layer of checks and<br />

balances, that would give comfort to<br />

member states and EU institutions that the<br />

new citizens are fit and proper persons?<br />

I recall that some 25 years ago there were<br />

discussions on a variety of security issues,<br />

such as co-operation between national police<br />

forces and the harmonisation of criminal<br />

laws. Very little of it actually happened, and<br />

I think one reason for it is that in areas such<br />

as security, policing and criminal justice,<br />

countries still feel the need to protect themselves<br />

as individual countries first and foremost,<br />

with the intention of maintaining their own<br />

sovereignty in such key areas. This is the<br />

argument that EU-based CBI schemes make.<br />

How do you think the investment<br />

migration industry’s relationship<br />

with the EU will develop?<br />

The sector has definitely recognised that it has<br />

come under scrutiny, but I think nobody is<br />

scared of that. What the industry wants to do is<br />

to make sure that it can withstand the scrutiny.<br />

Based on my experience, I can say that the<br />

programmes we work with are improving their<br />

processes, standards and checks all the time.<br />

Kieron Sharp, former<br />

City of London Police<br />

detective and head of<br />

the economic crime<br />

team at Interpol,<br />

talks about the threat<br />

to EU security that<br />

investment migration<br />

programmes<br />

bring about.<br />

Kieron Sharp has<br />

BIO been in charge at<br />

FACT since 2006,<br />

overseeing the content<br />

protection and antipiracy<br />

response to huge<br />

technological changes in<br />

the audio-visual landscape.<br />

His 30-year career with<br />

the Metropolitan Police<br />

and City of London Police<br />

included a four-year<br />

secondment to Interpol as<br />

Head of the Economic Crime<br />

Department and culminated<br />

in the position of Detective<br />

Chief Superintendent in<br />

charge of Specialist Crime<br />

Operations in the City of<br />

London. Kieron is also a<br />

graduate of the Federal<br />

Bureau of Investigation<br />

(FBI) National Academy<br />

in Quantico, Virginia.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 35

Special Feature: Antigua and Barbuda<br />

From Response to Recovery:<br />

Antigua and Barbuda<br />

Prepares its Post-Pandemic Economy<br />

The outlook for sunny Antigua and Barbuda has become cloudy due to the outbreak<br />

of Covid-19, but the Caribbean island nation is determined to make the most out<br />

of new opportunities. Its citizenship-by-investment programme is going to play a<br />

key role in defining what the country is going to look like in 20<strong>21</strong> and beyond.<br />

Antigua and Barbuda is no stranger to crisis and<br />

knows what it takes to rebound. From the region’s<br />

economic and debt crises in 2013 to Hurricane<br />

Irma in 2017, Antigua has always found a way to rally<br />

back. Its citizenship-by-investment programme (CIP) has<br />

been an important tool to drive the economy forward, and<br />

the expectation is that it will help the twin island nation<br />

recover from the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic<br />

much faster than many other countries in the world.<br />

Like most of its Caribbean neighbours, Antigua and<br />

Barbuda relies heavily on tourism, leaving it particularly<br />

exposed to the side effects of the pandemic. But there’s a<br />

feeling that this crisis creates an opportunity to diversify the<br />

country’s economy – new activities in sectors such as blockchain<br />

and medical cannabis are being encouraged. Meanwhile,<br />

Antigua and Barbuda aims to strengthen its image as a safe<br />

and sophisticated destination to live, work and invest in.<br />

The country managed the coronavirus outbreak well and<br />

appears to have limited its spread. This makes it attractive<br />

for high-net-worth-individuals looking for a base away from<br />

the global, but often crowded, megacities. The Caribbean<br />

country responded quickly to new trends in the RCBI world.<br />

It was among the first countries globally to introduce a<br />

nomad visa and will shortly accept payments for its CIP in<br />

cryptocurrencies. Initiatives such as these are fuelling hope<br />

that the dual island nation can achieve what many other<br />

countries think is impossible: return to growth in 20<strong>21</strong>.<br />

Beauty and Beaches<br />

Positioned where the Atlantic and Caribbean meet, Antigua and<br />

Barbuda consist of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and<br />

Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands. St. John on Antigua is<br />

the capital city. The country is home to close to 100,000 people, with<br />

the majority living on Antigua after Hurricane Irma destroyed most<br />

of Barbuda and forced its residents to relocate. A former British<br />

colony, Antigua and Barbuda gained independence in 1981 and<br />

joined the Commonwealth. Locals often call their country ‘Land of<br />

365 Beaches’ and are quick to point out that there is a different beach<br />

for each day of the year. With beauty and beaches in abundance, it<br />

comes as no surprise that tourism is a key driver of GDP, generating<br />

around 70% of the island’s income, but this over-reliance has also<br />

been the country’s greatest economic weakness for decades.<br />

CIP Introduction<br />

Some ten years ago, Antigua and Barbuda experienced an<br />

unprecedented economic slowdown after its tourism industry<br />

was battling the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis. The country<br />

had no choice but to enter an International Monetary Fund<br />

Programme in 2010 that would keep the economy afloat for the three<br />

years that followed. When it became increasingly challenging to<br />

restructure the country’s debts and access other funding sources,<br />

Antigua and Barbuda looked for alternative revenue streams and<br />

established a citizenship-by-investment programme in late 2013.<br />

36<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

● Codrington<br />

Although initially it was not unanimously supported, the<br />

CIP is today widely seen as beneficial to the country. After the<br />

financial crisis, it helped to restore stability during the economic<br />

slowdown, says Gaston Browne, Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime<br />

Minister who promoted the CIP’s introduction. He adds that<br />

it was also of great importance when Hurricane Irma hit the<br />

country in 2017. The impact on Barbuda was particularly severe.<br />

More than 80% of Barbuda’s buildings were destroyed or<br />

severely damaged, and the island was deemed uninhabitable.<br />

CIP funds were used to re-build critical infrastructure.<br />

Funding in Times of Crisis<br />


Capital: St. John on Antigua<br />

Official Language: English<br />

Size: 170miles 2 (440km 2 )<br />

Population (2017 estimate): 94,731<br />

Currency: East Caribbean Dollar<br />

Head of State: HM Queen Elizabeth II<br />

Governor-General: Sir Rodney Williams<br />

Head of Government:<br />

Prime Minister Gaston Browne (2014)<br />

Form of Government:<br />

Constitutional Monarchy<br />

National Elections:<br />

last March 2018, next 2022<br />

Literacy rate: 99%<br />

● Saint John’s<br />


Since 2013, the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) has<br />

received more than 2,200 applications from more than 80<br />

countries; five percent of applications have been rejected.<br />

It accounts for around 15% of government revenue and<br />

remains a vital source of funding in times of crisis. When tourism<br />

came to a standstill as a result of Covid-19, the CIP “helped us<br />

significantly to fulfil our socio-economic obligations, otherwise<br />

we may have defaulted,” admits Prime Minister Browne.<br />

Besides tourism, construction plays a major role in<br />

Barbuda’s economic mix, accounting for 15% of GDP. Thus<br />

far, the sector is ploughing ahead and has not been affected<br />

particularly by the pandemic. Large infrastructure projects<br />

– the construction of a cargo port facility and a new cruise<br />

terminal – helped to keep people in employment and somewhat<br />

cushion the Covid-19 impact. Nonetheless, the island’s GDP<br />

is expected to contract by around 10% in <strong>2020</strong>, and there is<br />

widespread agreement that the CIP is today more important<br />

than ever for the economic development of the country.<br />

Pandemic Management<br />

Antigua and Barbuda has won praise for its effective response to<br />

the coronavirus pandemic. Until the end of August, Antigua and<br />

Barbuda confirmed a total of 94 cases and three deaths. When<br />

it comes to global pandemic management, it certainly helps<br />

being an island nation in the middle of an ocean. But Antigua<br />

and Barbuda’s success in fighting the virus is so much more than<br />

good geographic fortune. “Our health infrastructure has been so<br />

robust that we have been able to control domestic spread,” says<br />

the Prime Minister, although the country was one of the first in the<br />

Caribbean to re-open its borders, accepting flights from the United<br />

States, Europe and Canada. This was a conscious decision, says<br />

the Prime Minister pointing out that social distancing, contract<br />

tracing, as well as the requirement for all arriving travellers to<br />

produce a negative Covid-19 test were just some of the measures<br />

that the country introduced to prevent a public health crisis.<br />

Equal emphasis has been placed on expanding healthcare<br />

infrastructure. The number of hospital beds per 1,000<br />

population has been increased from two to three during<br />

the pandemic by establishing mini-hospitals in addition to<br />

the main hospital in St. John. An Infectious Disease Centre<br />

has also been established. “We now have in the region of<br />

50 ventilators, which we believe is enough to treat people<br />

who become critically ill from Covid-19,” says Browne.<br />

Prior to Covid-19, healthcare was already one of<br />

government’s top priorities. A bespoke kidney transplant<br />

facility and a new cardiac unit are currently being built, while<br />

the country also has a hospital offering stem cell therapy,<br />

as well as a cancer centre. Given this recent investment,<br />

Browne thinks “Antigua and Barbuda today has one of the<br />

most modern healthcare facilities in the Caribbean”.<br />

Rise in Interest<br />

The island’s effective response<br />

to the pandemic has been<br />

recognised by high-net-worth<br />

individuals from around the<br />

world. Charmaine Donovan,<br />

CEO of the Citizenship by<br />

Investment Unit, says that her<br />

unit has seen a surge in the<br />

number of inquiries from persons<br />

seeking safer, less densely<br />

populated options, and countries<br />

which have demonstrated a<br />

greater ability to manage the<br />

pandemic. “Applications from Charmaine Donovan<br />

the traditional jurisdictions<br />

have been consistent, however, particularly for <strong>2020</strong>, we<br />

have noticed an increase in applications from Southwest<br />

Asia, Africa and the Middle East,” says Donovan.<br />

In the second quarter of <strong>2020</strong>, the CIU experienced a<br />

slight dip in applications as a result of the pandemic. Potential<br />

applicants found it difficult to access agencies and authorities<br />

which generate original documents that are critical to the due<br />

diligence process. However, according to Donovan, interest and<br />

inquiries have seen a sharp increase since the global lockdown.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 37

Meanwhile, the CIU has made best use of its Agent’s<br />

online portal that was launched at the beginning of <strong>2020</strong> to<br />

enhance efficiency and ensure a shorter turn-around time<br />

of applications. The portal enables agents to upload, submit<br />

and track applications on behalf of their clients. Documents<br />

required for the application process were also simplified to<br />

make the whole process smoother. The electronic submission<br />

of application is now a permanent feature of the programme.<br />

Remaining Attractive<br />

The country is doing its utmost to remain attractive for highnet-worth<br />

investors while mobilising capital to be used for<br />

social services, constructing infrastructure and supporting<br />

its private sector. “Our programme has the most diverse<br />

investment options through which individuals can apply<br />

for citizenship. For example, it is the only programme in the<br />

region which offers a business investment option,” explains<br />

Donovan. Through this option, applicants can invest in existing<br />

business opportunities or new ventures. The government has<br />

been encouraging investment in agriculture, agro-processsing,<br />

manufacturing, technology and other economically viable<br />

industries to support the nation’s development goals.<br />

Donovan also points out that Antigua and Barbuda is<br />

currently one of the most attractive choices for large families.<br />

In May <strong>2020</strong>, fees for those contributing to the country’s<br />

University of West Indies Fund (UWIF) have been reduced;<br />

however, only families of at least six members are eligible for<br />

this investment route. Applications under the UWIF option<br />

entitle one member of the main applicant’s family to a oneyear<br />

scholarship at the University of the West Indies.<br />

Shortly, applicants will also be able to pay their CIP<br />

contributions in cryptocurrencies. In the summer of <strong>2020</strong>,<br />

Antigua and Barbuda established a regulatory regime for<br />

digital assets business, which paved the way for the shift to<br />

cryptocurrencies as a payment method for the CIP. Prime<br />

Minister Browne believes that cryptocurrencies will help speed<br />

up the transaction process and lead to a more efficient payment<br />

system. “This in turn will enable us to process applications in a<br />

very efficacious matter. One of the problems that we have in the<br />

Caribbean is that the due diligence on the source of funds is often<br />

extremely slow and could take many months. This frustrates<br />

applicants at times, and we believe that the cryptocurrency<br />

framework will solve this problem.” Besides, it also addresses<br />

correspondent banking issues that plague the Caribbean region.<br />

Caribbean Cooperation<br />

Increased cooperation among Caribbean CIP countries will<br />

likely play a key role in ensuring the industry has a bright<br />

future. The CIP programmes in the region have long been<br />

very price-competitive. Prime Minister Browne stresses<br />

that he does not want to become engaged in a price war<br />

because “it will just reduce the effective yield and it will<br />

undermine the integrity of the CIPs within the respective<br />

countries”. He is in favour of some level of harmonisation,<br />

especially when it comes to due diligence and the sharing of<br />

information. He says he would also support a coordinated<br />

move to raise the prices of the Caribbean programmes.<br />

Greater cooperation among Caribbean CIP nations has<br />

long been on the cards. The Organisation of the Eastern<br />

Caribbean States (OECS) has established a taskforce devising<br />

the way forward two years ago. While a common CIP may<br />

be somewhat of a long shot, Ambassador Colin Murdoch,<br />

Commissioner to the OECS for Antigua and Barbuda, expects<br />

“the implementation of some confidence building measures”<br />

and some direction on future cooperation by the end of <strong>2020</strong>.<br />

Promoting Dialogue<br />

The OECS is also instrumental<br />

in addressing the concerns of<br />

international bodies such as the<br />

EU and the OECD. “We know<br />

that these organisations have<br />

concerns about CIPs. We do not<br />

disregard these concerns, but we<br />

believe many of them are based<br />

on misunderstandings,” Murdoch<br />

says. “Our CIP programme<br />

cannot be used to circumvent the<br />

Common Reporting Standards, it<br />

cannot be used to evade EU taxes.<br />

I think we need further dialogue Colin Murdoch<br />

to clarify some of these matters.”<br />

He believes there is “good prospect for dialogue”, highlighting<br />

that the OECS already had meetings with mid-level EU officials.<br />

For the Caribbean nations it is important that all countries<br />

operating CIPs are on a level playing field. “We do not want that<br />

the CIPs of EU member states are treated differently than ours,”<br />

he says. Murdoch also stresses that there’s a willingness to make<br />

legislative changes in case of ambiguity. Antigua and Barbuda,<br />

for instance, amended its legislation to “make it very clear that<br />

a CIP cannot be used to evade taxes due in another country”.<br />

Caribbean Living<br />

Many in Antigua and Barbuda feel that the pandemic has created<br />

conditions of increased demand and that the time has come<br />

to create genuine interest in the Caribbean nation by offering<br />

multiple opportunities to live and work in the country. Although<br />

it is not as popular and well-known as the island’s citizenship<br />

programme, Antigua and Barbuda’s permanent residency<br />

programme has been in operation for a much longer period<br />

than the country’s CIP. It provides interested persons with the<br />

opportunity in the country requires a pathway to citizenship<br />

and a much lower annual contribution threshold. In addition,<br />

a digital nomad visa has been launched in the summer of <strong>2020</strong>.<br />

This, however, will not provide a pathway to citizenship, but the<br />

expectation is that it will prove attractive to the growing number<br />

of location-independent workers. While many argue that longstay<br />

residents could compensate for the loss in tourism revenue,<br />

interest in, and uptake of, these new visas remains to be seen.<br />

Regional Economic Leader<br />

The big opportunity for Antigua and Barbuda is in truly<br />

diversifying its economy. The country strives to become the<br />

financial capital of the region, especially in the cryptocurrency and<br />

blockchain space, but it is also looking at fostering new ventures in<br />

agriculture, light manufacturing and in the knowledge industries.<br />

Green energy, high-end tourism, medical cannabis and medical<br />

education are also high on the agenda. “The vision is to turn<br />

Antigua and Barbuda into one of the most attractive island nations<br />

for investments in order to increase our GDP rapidly, create jobs<br />

and improve the living standards for the people of Antigua and<br />

Barbuda,” says Prime Minister Browne. It goes without saying that<br />

the CIP will play an important role in facilitating this transition.<br />

38<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

Interview with GASTON BROWNE,<br />

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda<br />


BACK<br />

INTO<br />

GROWTH<br />

Prime Minister Browne, can you tell us why Antigua & Barbuda decided<br />

to establish a citizenship-by-investment programme (CIP)?<br />

In 2009, I promoted the introduction of a CIP while I was an opposition parliamentarian.<br />

After the global crisis of 2008, Antigua and Barbuda suffered economically. Unemployment<br />

increased; people were falling below the poverty line. I recommended to the thenadministration<br />

the introduction of a CIP, however the idea was dismissed. Nevertheless, I<br />

believed in the CIP and the socio-economic benefits it could potentially bring to Antigua<br />

and Barbuda and continued to advocate for its introduction for several years. It was only in<br />

2013 that the then-administration established the programme. The following year, I became<br />

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, and my government is now the beneficiary of the<br />

programme. The programme helped to accelerate the recovery from the crisis and restore<br />

socio-economic stability. It was also of great importance when hurricane Irma hit our country.<br />

Before Covid-19, your country’s growth forecast was positive.<br />

The <strong>IM</strong>F now expects a GDP drop of -10% in <strong>2020</strong>. How do you<br />

see the economy develop in the coming months?<br />

We thought that <strong>2020</strong> would be our best economic year on record, but unfortunately it<br />

turned out to be one of the worst years. In fact, I can tell you that initially we expected a<br />

GDP reduction of 20% due to our heavy dependence on tourism. Government has seen a<br />

significant reduction in revenue, which fell by about 65% during the lockdown period. It is<br />

now inching back up to around 50% of projected revenue for <strong>2020</strong>. However, we expect to<br />

return to growth in 20<strong>21</strong> and have projected that we can recover within 18 months. However,<br />

the recovery for the entire Caribbean region will take longer, probably around four years.<br />

What role does your CIP play in attracting investment in this challenging period?<br />

The<br />

government<br />

is very<br />

entrepreneurial and<br />

open to joint ventures<br />

with prospective<br />

citizens. We believe<br />

public-privatepartnerships<br />

will<br />

play an important<br />

role going forward.<br />

We are trying to attract new capital investments utilising the CIP programme. We<br />

already have a few leads, and once confirmed, we want to expedite these projects<br />

as soon as possible. We witnessed a reduction in CIP investment in recent months,<br />

but I believe that we will rebound and get back to normal revenue generation<br />

within a matter of months. I am convinced that our management of the coronavirus<br />

crisis goes a long way towards showing that Antigua and Barbuda is not only a<br />

beautiful island nation, but also one of the safest places in the world to live.<br />

Recently, we have also introduced a nomad visa. We are seeking to entice knowledge<br />

workers as well as high-net-worth individuals to move to Antigua and work remotely in a safe<br />

environment. A single individual pays a fee of US$300, a couple US$500 and any additional<br />

person pays US$100 – so it’s quite reasonable. We already received several applications.<br />

What message would you like to impart about Antigua & Barbuda’s<br />

attractiveness as a country to live and invest in?<br />

Antigua & Barbuda has one the most diverse populations in the entire Caribbean.<br />

It is a melting pot of people and cultures, and everyone is very open to new citizens.<br />

We have one of the lowest crime rates in the region, enjoy economic stability and<br />

have been classified as a high-income country for many years. We are now doing our<br />

utmost to ensure a quick recovery post Covid-19. I’d also like to point out that the<br />

government is very entrepreneurial and open to joint ventures with prospective citizens.<br />

We believe public-private-partnerships will play an important role going forward.<br />

Antigua and Barbuda also has a history of attracting high-net-worth<br />

individuals to relocate to the island. We have a number of high-end luxury resorts<br />

and residences. Take Jumby Bay Island, a private island. The cheapest property<br />

there costs roughly US$ 15 million. Real estate prices have also remained stable<br />

in recent years, and there has never been a reduction in real estate value.<br />

Besides our record in healthcare, last but not least, I’d like to mention that<br />

we have also made great strides in the field of education. Among the Caribbean<br />

countries that operate CIPs, Antigua & Barbuda is the only country that has its own<br />

university campus. We are home to the fourth landed campus of the University<br />

of the West Indies, with close to 500 entries expected this school year.<br />

For all these reasons, I believe Antigua and Barbuda should definitely be on the<br />

radar of anyone interested in applying for a second citizenship or seeking residency.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 39

Unwrapping our Cover Story<br />

with Andres Solimano<br />

Andrés Solimano says investment migration has the potential to<br />

advance the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.<br />

40<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

What are SDGs?<br />

They are a set of 17 SDGs<br />

and 169 targets that are<br />

applicable to different national<br />

realities, including advanced<br />

nations, middle-income developing<br />

and emerging economies, small<br />

island states, least developed<br />

countries and post-conflict nations.<br />

Can you please give<br />

us a brief introduction<br />

to the United Nations<br />

Sustainable Development<br />

Goals and explain what<br />

they aim to achieve?<br />

The United Nations<br />

Sustainable Development<br />

Goals (SDGs), adopted in<br />

2015, provide an international<br />

framework to create more<br />

sustainable and fair economies<br />

as well as resilient and<br />

prosperous societies by 2030.<br />

They are a set of 17 SDGs and<br />

169 targets that are applicable<br />

to different national realities,<br />

including advanced nations,<br />

middle-income developing and<br />

emerging economies, small<br />

island states, least developed<br />

countries and post-conflict<br />

nations. The SDGs include<br />

initiatives to end poverty,<br />

ensure quality education,<br />

achieve gender equality,<br />

promote decent jobs and<br />

take urgent action to combat<br />

climate change and its impacts.<br />

The SDGs are not the<br />

first initiative of this kind.<br />

They were preceded by the<br />

Millennium Development<br />

Goals (MDGs) that were<br />

agreed upon in 2000. The<br />

SDGs are a second and more<br />

ambitious step in realising a<br />

global development agenda.<br />

The MDGs promoted<br />

economic growth combined<br />

with social equity and<br />

environmental protection.<br />

The SDGs take on a more<br />

comprehensive and holistic<br />

approach to development,<br />

sensitive to our ecological<br />

and planetary boundaries<br />

besides promoting poverty<br />

reduction and lower inequality.<br />

What capital investment<br />

is required to implement<br />

the SDGs?<br />

The United Nations Conference<br />

on Trade and Development<br />

(UNCTAD) in 2015 estimated<br />

global investment needs<br />

between $5 to $7 trillion<br />

per year to achieve the<br />

SDGs. Developing countries<br />

require around $4 trillion<br />

per year, mostly in terms of<br />

infrastructure investment such<br />

as power, transport, water<br />

and sanitation. Clearly, we<br />

cannot meet the SDGs only by<br />

utilizing public funds; private<br />

support is required too. The<br />

issue is more complicated for<br />

low income countries as they<br />

have to achieve the same set of<br />

goals but have fewer internal<br />

financing resources. Botswana,<br />

Ghana or Sri Lanka, for<br />

example, cannot be compared<br />

with Switzerland, Sweden<br />

or Germany in their ability<br />

to meet the SDGs. Besides,<br />

advanced economies have<br />

already achieved some goals,<br />

while developing nations<br />

have a long way to go.<br />

Beyond the country<br />

differences, is the world<br />

on track to achieving the<br />

SDGs and is Covid-19<br />

threatening progress?<br />

The UN Secretary General<br />

appointed the Independent<br />

Group of Scientist to monitor<br />

the progress in achieving<br />

the SDGs. They produced a<br />

report in 2019 and concluded<br />

that the world is still far<br />

away from reaching the<br />

goals. For instance, we have<br />

seen insufficient progress in<br />

terms of reducing poverty in<br />

Africa and low-income Asia.<br />

Furthermore, climate change<br />

is one of the biggest challenges<br />

of our time and stopping or<br />

reversing global warming<br />

is a slow-moving process.<br />

Covid-19 is definitely a setback,<br />

hopefully of a temporary<br />

nature. The world economy<br />

in <strong>2020</strong> will experience the<br />

greatest recession since the<br />

Great Depression in the 1930s.<br />

Estimates by international<br />

organisations are that GDP will<br />

contract by 6% to 7% worldwide<br />

this year with positive<br />

growth in 20<strong>21</strong>. However, the<br />

pandemic presents both an<br />

enormous challenge and also<br />

opportunities for reaching<br />

the SDGs. Gains in economic<br />

and social progress made in<br />

recent years are reversed. The<br />

pandemic has also shown us<br />

how interconnected people<br />

and countries are for good<br />

or bad, for example the virus<br />

spread with utmost speed<br />

across the world through<br />

travel and people mobility<br />

in a few weeks. The crisis is<br />

forcing us to re-look at the<br />

way forward and come up<br />

with new solutions that truly<br />

balance economic, social and<br />

environmental progress. In<br />

this sense, the SDGs provide<br />

good priorities although<br />

we need more in terms of<br />

devising concrete strategies<br />

for effective recovery and for<br />

ensuring health and safety.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 41

What impact can<br />

the investment<br />

migration industry<br />

have on the SDGs?<br />

Investment migration brings<br />

in fresh capital, human<br />

skills and entrepreneurial<br />

capacity for the receiving<br />

nation. Some of this money<br />

contributes, perhaps<br />

unintendedly, towards<br />

meeting the SDGs. It is<br />

estimated that investment<br />

migration programmes<br />

worldwide have raised<br />

around $60 to $70 billion<br />

between 2008 and 2019. This<br />

represents a rather small<br />

proportion of the total $5<br />

trillion to $ 7 trillion that are<br />

at the very least required<br />

to achieve the SDGs.<br />

Nevertheless, for small states<br />

citizenship-by-investment<br />

(CBI) programmes have been<br />

an important source of fiscal<br />

revenue. For instance, the<br />

CBI programmes in Antigua<br />

and Barbuda, St. Kitts<br />

and Nevis, Dominica and<br />

Vanuatu represent over 30%<br />

of fiscal revenue. In other<br />

countries, such as Malta<br />

and Cyprus, CBI revenue<br />

accounts for 4% to 5% of<br />

GDP, and this percentage<br />

goes up to anything between<br />

15% and 25% for Caribbean<br />

CBI countries. So, for small<br />

economies, this money can<br />

make a large contribution<br />

in terms of providing<br />

both fiscal revenue and<br />

foreign exchange. For<br />

larger economies – the UK,<br />

Spain, Portugal, Greece and<br />

others – RBI income is not<br />

as important as a share of<br />

GDP or total public revenue<br />

although it still plays a role<br />

in strengthening certain<br />

economic sectors and<br />

creates value in distressed<br />

regions. However, in macroeconomic<br />

terms, investment<br />

migration has the largest<br />

impact on small states.<br />

Can you share a few<br />

concrete examples of<br />

how investment migration<br />

programmes have already<br />

contributed to the SDGs?<br />

CBI resources have made<br />

important contributions to the<br />

funding of physical and social<br />

infrastructure, particularly<br />

to finance the reconstruction<br />

of infrastructure damaged by<br />

hurricanes that have hit the<br />

Caribbean. In 2017, Dominica<br />

was severely affected by<br />

Hurricane Maria and Antigua<br />

and Barbuda was hit by<br />

Hurricane Irma. CBI resources<br />

helped rebuild nearly 60%<br />

of all infrastructure that was<br />

being damaged by these<br />

climate events. These are two<br />

examples of how investment<br />

migration has contributed<br />

through the inflows of foreign<br />

resources that were mobilised<br />

by domestic authorities, to<br />

restoring living standards<br />

after main natural disasters.<br />

In terms of the SDGs they<br />

broadly contribute to “Good<br />

health and wellbeing”<br />

(SDG3), “Clean water and<br />

sanitation” (SDG6) and<br />

“Industry, innovation and<br />

infrastructure” (SDG9).<br />

Residence-by-investment<br />

(RBI) programmes can have a<br />

potential impact on SDG8 –<br />

Decent Work and Economic<br />

Growth and SDG1 – Poverty<br />

Reduction. Take the EB-5 in<br />

the US that requires investors<br />

to create at least ten jobs<br />

per year. This is a source of<br />

extra income for workers and<br />

owners, although we have<br />

relatively little information<br />

on the extent the jobs created<br />

have been accompanied by<br />

effective social protection<br />

of workers (decent jobs). In<br />

Portugal, Spain, Greece and<br />

other countries, investment<br />

migration is directed<br />

to business investment<br />

that create jobs mainly<br />

in the services sector.<br />

Some investment<br />

migration programmes<br />

appear to have a broader<br />

impact on the receiving<br />

nations than others, while<br />

critics are highlighting<br />

even negative effects<br />

of some programmes,<br />

including overheated<br />

real estate markets and<br />

the overreliance on<br />

investment migration<br />

funds. With the SDGs<br />

in mind, how should<br />

government’s make<br />

best use of investment<br />

migration funds?<br />

Today, we are seeing<br />

two types of investment.<br />

One modality is ‘passive<br />

investment’, for instance<br />

in government bonds or<br />

in the real estate market;<br />

another modality is ‘active<br />

investment’ through which<br />

the migrant may be directly<br />

engaged in the creation of<br />

new businesses and the<br />

process of job creation.<br />

Governments in the recipient<br />

countries should encourage<br />

more active investments,<br />

although passive investments<br />

also play a role.<br />

A consequence of passive<br />

investments in real estate<br />

is the tendency to push up<br />

property prices, especially<br />

in big cities such as London,<br />

New York, Paris, Sydney and<br />

others. As a consequence of<br />

price spirals in the property<br />

market, housing becomes<br />

unaffordable for the local<br />

population with modest<br />

and middle-income levels<br />

who have to move to live<br />

in locations away from<br />

their jobs and schools of<br />

their children. This shows<br />

that investment migration<br />

can feed into already<br />

existing social inequality<br />

mechanisms in the area<br />

of access to housing. This<br />

is a side effect that has to<br />

be seriously considered.<br />

Andrés<br />

BIO Solimano holds<br />

a Ph. D. in<br />

Economics from<br />

the Massachusetts<br />

Institute of Technology<br />

(MIT) and is founder<br />

and Chairman of the<br />

International Center<br />

for Globalization<br />

and Development<br />

(CIGLOB) based in<br />

Santiago, Chile.<br />

It is estimated that investment migration programmes worldwide have raised around<br />

$60 to $70 billion<br />

between 2008 and 2019.<br />

42<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

Another feature of<br />

investment migration is the<br />

channelling of capital into the<br />

tourism and entertainment<br />

sectors such as hotels and<br />

residential developments. At<br />

the same time, a case can be<br />

made for boosting investment<br />

into the manufacturing sector<br />

and higher value-added<br />

products. The promotion<br />

of green and clean-energy<br />

activities and organic<br />

agriculture are important<br />

priorities in a sustainable<br />

development strategy.<br />

Funds from investment<br />

migration programmes<br />

could be geared to these<br />

socially and environmentally<br />

desirable destinations.<br />

Service providers, however,<br />

report that most of their<br />

clients considering the<br />

investment migration route<br />

prefer passive investments.<br />

How can governments<br />

strike the right balance?<br />

That’s true, although it<br />

depends on the demographic<br />

profile of people who are<br />

moving across national<br />

borders. There is a study<br />

of foreign investment and<br />

investment migration to<br />

Canada which found out<br />

that a proportion of foreign<br />

immigrants aged over 60 yearsold<br />

prefer passive investments.<br />

They feel they have more or<br />

less completed their active<br />

working life and want a more<br />

relaxed lifestyle in their<br />

new country of destination.<br />

However, there is also a<br />

proportion of immigrants who<br />

enjoy a direct entrepreneurial<br />

role and want to in create<br />

new productive ventures in<br />

Canada and other nations.<br />

We have to keep in<br />

mind that most investment<br />

migration programmes were<br />

put in place after the global<br />

financial crisis in 2008, and<br />

governments were not making<br />

very stringent requirements<br />

because they wanted to attract<br />

foreign investors. But with<br />

these programmes coming<br />

to maturity new priorities<br />

are needed. Unfortunately,<br />

we are being hit by a new<br />

crisis, that of Covid-19,<br />

and probably investment<br />

migration will be needed<br />

to support recoveries<br />

and long-term growth.<br />

How do you envision the<br />

investment migration<br />

industry will develop<br />

in the coming years?<br />

The industry has to learn<br />

from the experience of past<br />

years and be aware of the<br />

new realities and challenges<br />

emerging with Covid-19<br />

as we are entering into a<br />

new global age that will be<br />

probably more uncertain,<br />

fragmentary and risky. In<br />

the past ten years after the<br />

global financial crisis of<br />

2008-09, globalisation has<br />

been strained by several<br />

factors: sluggish recoveries,<br />

rising inequality, job<br />

fragility, protectionism<br />

and new waves of debt<br />

creation. At the same time,<br />

we have seen a political and<br />

cultural backlash against<br />

globalisation accompanied<br />

by populism, nationalism<br />

and xenophobia.<br />

Global problems require<br />

global responses and more<br />

international cooperation<br />

rather than inter-country<br />

competition in critical areas<br />

such as vaccine development<br />

and new technologies.<br />

The investment migration<br />

programmes should<br />

be an integral part of a<br />

globalised world that<br />

keeps the principle of free<br />

international mobility of<br />

people. Still this industry<br />

would benefit from aligning<br />

investment migration<br />

more with the concept of<br />

sustainable development<br />

and gearing investments<br />

towards high quality<br />

jobs, more social equity,<br />

green production and<br />

ecosystem protection.<br />

The<br />

17<br />

Sustainable<br />

Development<br />

Goals<br />

GOAL<br />

3<br />

Good Health<br />

& Well-being<br />

GOAL<br />

6<br />

Clean Water<br />

& Sanitation<br />

GOAL<br />

9<br />

Industry,<br />

Innovation &<br />

Infrastructure<br />

GOAL<br />

12<br />

Responsible<br />

Consumption<br />

& Production<br />

GOAL<br />

15<br />

Life on<br />

Land<br />

GOAL<br />

1<br />

No<br />

Poverty<br />

GOAL<br />

4<br />

Quality<br />

Education<br />

GOAL<br />

7<br />

Affordable &<br />

Clean Energy<br />

GOAL<br />

10<br />

Reduced<br />

Inequality<br />

GOAL<br />

13<br />

Climate<br />

Action<br />

GOAL<br />

16<br />

Peace &<br />

Justice Strong<br />

Institutions<br />

GOAL<br />

2<br />

Zero<br />

Hunger<br />

GOAL<br />

5<br />

Gender<br />

Equality<br />

GOAL<br />

8<br />

Decent Work<br />

& Economic<br />

Growth<br />

GOAL<br />

11<br />

Sustainable<br />

Cities &<br />

Communities<br />

GOAL<br />

14<br />

Life<br />

Below Water<br />

GOAL<br />

17<br />

Partnerships<br />

to achieve<br />

the Goal<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 43


TOWARDS A NEW <strong>IM</strong>PACT AGENDA<br />

The world of impact investing is expanded rapidly and could soon<br />

break into the investment migration market. The <strong>IM</strong> <strong>Yearbook</strong> spoke<br />

with two experts who are working on new concepts that could<br />

revolutionise the way investor migrant funds are being utilised.<br />

The impact investing industry has grown<br />

and matured in recent years, but the Covid-<br />

19 pandemic has firmly pushed it into<br />

the mainstream. Governments, companies and<br />

investors are joining the market in ever increasing<br />

numbers. The concept is now expanding into the<br />

investment migration industry as researchers and<br />

academics are exploring ways of how to better<br />

address the challenges of the <strong>21</strong> st century and<br />

finance projects that aim to tackle global issues<br />

such as climate change and poverty reduction.<br />

The Background<br />

There is a growing consensus in international<br />

policy circles on the need to rethink the<br />

United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable<br />

Development, at the heart of which are 17<br />

individual Sustainable Development Goals<br />

(SDGs). John Crowley, Chief of Section for<br />

Research, Policy and Foresight in the UNESCO<br />

Sector for Social and Human Sciences, is one<br />

expert who is currently floating the idea of a new<br />

framework for sustainable development. “One of<br />

the big problems is how to achieve all the SDGs<br />

by 2030. It’s a massive agenda, with design flaws<br />

which were well known from the beginning.<br />

However, the current pandemic has created<br />

conditions in which we can no longer ignore these<br />

shortcomings,” he says. “The idea of a new push<br />

to achieve the 2030 Agenda in the next decade<br />

is no longer credible. The push will be needed<br />

just to recover the ground lost in <strong>2020</strong>, notably<br />

in terms of extreme poverty and inequalities.”<br />

Poorly Defined Goals<br />

More importantly, Crowley says it’s now much<br />

harder to claim that there is a solid framework<br />

within which international development<br />

objectives can be achieved. “Arguably, that<br />

wasn’t the case even in 2019. But <strong>2020</strong> has shown<br />

how fragile the framework actually is. On the<br />

other hand, what’s positive about all of this<br />

is that it opens space to think differently.”<br />

The core issue, he says, is that we don’t have a<br />

clear picture of what is needed in order to achieve<br />

sustainability. “We have some ideas in specific<br />

areas, for instance when it comes to climate change.<br />

It’s well recognised that an energy transition, which<br />

replaces fossil fuels with alternative energy sources,<br />

is required.” However, says Crowley, other SDGs<br />

are very poorly defined. SDG 11 which refers to<br />

Sustainable cities and communities is one such<br />

example. “There are lots of ideas of what makes<br />

a city sustainable but no technical consensus on<br />

how to measure it and how to achieve it. While<br />

there are some blueprints, I doubt anyone would<br />

claim that there is a model that merely needs to be<br />

rolled out.” This is just one example, says Crowley.<br />

The other issue, Crowley highlights, is one<br />

of territory. “The international system is based<br />

on sovereignty, which means that every state has<br />

exclusive jurisdiction over its territory, but this<br />

notion is constantly challenged by issues such<br />

as environmental pollution or transnational<br />

capital flows.” Today’s understanding of territory<br />

and state sovereignty is becoming increasingly<br />

incompatible with our interdependent world.<br />

After all, modern ideas of sovereignty emerged<br />

as a result of the Treaties of Westphalia, which<br />

were concluded to end the Thirty Years’ War<br />

in 1648-49. “It’s a very narrow and unsolid basis<br />

on which to build our future,” says Crowley.<br />

Philippe Forêt, an expert in environmental<br />

research and ecology, could not agree more<br />

with Crowley. “We need to think about the<br />

Westphalian system and ask if it is the best<br />

possible system to confront the challenges<br />

of today. I think the answer is no.”<br />

Concept Development<br />

Both Crowley and Forêt believe that there is<br />

a need to strengthen the connection between<br />

various forms of private finance and the global<br />

public good. You can’t manage what you don’t<br />

measure – this old management rule also applies<br />

to sustainable development. A key priority for<br />

Crowley is therefore to come up with metrics<br />

that can better measure the effect of sustainable<br />

initiatives. He points to methods such as natural<br />

capital accounting, which can provide data related<br />

to the management of natural resources that<br />

contribute to economic development. “These<br />

tools have been developed over the past 20 years<br />

and are today very sophisticated.” Metrics such<br />

as these could become key decision-making<br />

tools in the new era of impact investment.<br />

Forêt believes that they can become the<br />

foundation for a new product offered by the<br />

investment migration industry. “A new type of<br />

asset class could be created, whereby investor<br />

migrants can invest in projects that will leave<br />

a measurable impact on the environment and<br />

on communities.” Any project open to investor<br />

migrants would be evaluated and certified in order<br />

to prevent greenwashing, he explains. In return<br />

for their investment, migrants would receive<br />

citizenship or residency rights. “While for many<br />

investors the return on investment is important,”<br />

Forêt says, “there is also a growing number of<br />

philanthropic high-net-worth individuals who<br />

might find this concept very appealing.”<br />

His task for the coming months is to convince<br />

a reasonable number of countries to buy into<br />

the idea and participate in a programme, which<br />

would direct certain financial flows – such as<br />

income from investment migration – towards<br />

projects that create a lasting and measurable<br />

impact in terms of sustainability and move<br />

well beyond the limitations of the SDGs.<br />

“Globally, this would contribute to a whole new<br />

understanding of investment migration. It will<br />

ultimately become an industry that is working<br />

for the common good and promoting social<br />

justice and sustainable development.”<br />

John Crowley is<br />

BIO Chief of Section for<br />

Research, Policy<br />

and Foresight in the<br />

UNESCO Sector for Social<br />

and Human Sciences.<br />

Since joining UNESCO in<br />

2003, he has also been a<br />

programme specialist in<br />

social science and head<br />

of the communication,<br />

information and<br />

publications unit, chief<br />

of section for ethics of<br />

science and technology,<br />

and team leader for global<br />

environmental change.<br />

Before joining UNESCO, he<br />

worked as an economist<br />

in the oil industry and as<br />

a research fellow at the<br />

French National Political<br />

Science Foundation.<br />

Philippe Forêt is<br />

BIO Professor and<br />

Dean of the<br />

School of Humanities and<br />

Social Sciences at Brac<br />

University in Bangladesh.<br />

Since 2013, he has<br />

led the Environmental<br />

Humanities Working<br />

Group at the Swiss<br />

Academic Society for<br />

Environmental Research<br />

and Ecology (University<br />

of Basel). The Institute<br />

of Advanced Studies<br />

of Nantes, the Swedish<br />

Collegium in Uppsala,<br />

and the Rachel Carson<br />

Center in Munich have<br />

elected him Fellow.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 45


VCA boasts a specialized immigration and<br />

private wealth department that handles all<br />

kinds of requests with a greater focus on<br />

immigration by investment. Our multilingual<br />

team of lawyers has unrivalled experience,<br />

outstanding technical knowledge and a proven<br />

track record on immigration, private wealth,<br />

family offices, real estate and tax advice.<br />

“Immigration and Private Wealth are the fastest growing<br />

areas of practice in VCA. We have been fortunate that<br />

clients and peers got us to be recognized in Chambers<br />

and Partners and Legal 500. We assembled a wonderful<br />

team of young lawyers and paralegals focused on<br />

delivering bespoke solutions to our clients. Despite the<br />

global pandemic, we have been navigating <strong>2020</strong> almost<br />

unscathed. Compare Portugal with any other destination.<br />

You will be amazed with what this country has to offer.”<br />

João Valadas Coriel, Managing Partner of VCA<br />

“From my 30 years of practicing in different positions and<br />

areas of activity, being Head of VCA Immigration Department<br />

is the most fulfilling of all. The whole team is highly committed<br />

and knowledgeable. An efficient communication with clients,<br />

responding to all their queries on a daily basis, is definitely<br />

one of the key factors of our success. Immigration, no<br />

matter the route taken by the clients, requires a very special<br />

attention to their needs and a level of proximity like no other<br />

area in law practice. Therefore, nothing like the testimonials<br />

of clients and partners to convey the magnificent work<br />

that has been carried out by this very special team.”<br />

Sandra Fernandes, Head of the Immigration Department at VCA<br />

Mitchell Kriegman, USA:<br />

“Upon arriving in Lisbon, (…), I<br />

consulted five lawyers at different<br />

firms before I settled on Sandra<br />

Fernandes and her team at VCA.<br />

Many of these other solicitors were<br />

more than willing to charge me<br />

a significant retainer before even<br />

discussing my issues. (…) Instead<br />

Ms. Fernandes laid out the straight<br />

facts from the start and earned from<br />

me the utmost respect and trust.<br />

She’s experienced in every aspect<br />

of the Immigration and Real Estate<br />

landscape in Portugal and the EU,<br />

whether you are pursuing a D7<br />

Visa or a Golden Visa. (...) It’s a rare<br />

lawyer, especially in these difficult<br />

times, who sees their trade as doing<br />

good and finding solutions that<br />

allow their clients to live better and<br />

be happier. (…) I have recommended<br />

her joyfully to my friends (…)”.<br />

Daniel Twomey,<br />

La Vida Golden Visas:<br />

“The immigration team at<br />

VCA Advogados are the most<br />

knowledgable, friendly and helpful<br />

team of lawyers specialising in<br />

Portuguese immigration law!<br />

Sandra, Patricia, Vanda and<br />

Cláudia, especially, go above<br />

and beyond to ensure that both<br />

clients and partners alike are<br />

kept up to date on changes to the<br />

programmes and that professional<br />

advice and comprehensive<br />

assistance is always available.”<br />

H. Wang, Germany: “(…) Due<br />

to her strong legal technical skills<br />

and excellent experience, Sandra<br />

is a very competent legal advisor<br />

for Golden visa applications. She<br />

is resilient and authentic (…).”<br />

Vernondo Boshoff and Louis<br />

Douglas, South Africa:<br />

“(…) Without a doubt, we will<br />

recommend Mrs Sandra to assist<br />

our family and our closest friends<br />

should the need arise, the reason<br />

is complete and utter trust.”<br />

Richard Weedn, USA: “Sandra<br />

and the team at VCA were<br />

among the finest legal counsel<br />

I have ever experienced. (…)<br />

Highly recommended!!!”<br />

Taimur Jawed, Global<br />

Migrate: “(…) We are glad that<br />

we chose to work with Patrícia<br />

Coriel and her team. (…) She<br />

thinks outside the box and always<br />

tries to make sure that we work<br />

together to get positive results (…)”.<br />

James Chan, Hong Kong:<br />

“When my wife and I came<br />

to the decision to move to<br />

Portugal in 2019, we met in<br />

person a couple of immigration<br />

lawyers in Lisbon. (…) It was<br />

my lawyer Ms. Patricia Coriel<br />

(and her team) from VCA who<br />

stood out and impressed us. (…)<br />

With her patience and practical<br />

help, we managed to overcome<br />

obstacles which seem ‘mission<br />

impossible’ to us. I recommended<br />

her firm to two of my friends<br />

in Hong Kong and would be<br />

glad to do so in the future”.<br />

Rajan Nazran, NazranRoth:<br />

“At NazranRoth we have a<br />

strict code of conduct and only<br />

work with key individuals who<br />

have repeatedly demonstrated<br />

integrity, ability and local knowhow.<br />

(…) Portugal has many firms,<br />

however despite the large names in<br />

country, we found that we needed<br />

an individual that could deliver a<br />

personal service. We selected to bring<br />

Patricia Coriel and her firm VCA on<br />

board for the NazranRoth alliance as<br />

her qualifications and ability speak<br />

volumes about the attention to detail<br />

she provides. (…) I have no doubt<br />

that she is the best at what she does<br />

in the country and I look forward<br />

to our long working relationship”.<br />

Mian Ali: “(…) The ONE person<br />

that stands out the most in my<br />

immigration experience is Patricia<br />

Coriel. (…) Highly professional,<br />

clearly knows and understands<br />

her work and she showed her<br />

experience through close attention<br />

to detail to get everything done<br />

right. Her best quality is that<br />

whenever you need her she is<br />

always there and quick to respond.<br />

Most important of all she makes<br />

you feel safe. (…) My immigration<br />

experience has been top notch all<br />

thanks to her and her team (…)”.

Expand Your Business With Latitude<br />

– Your Trusted B2B Partner<br />

As we reflect on <strong>2020</strong> and look ahead to 20<strong>21</strong>, it is safe to say that the<br />

world and the investment migration industry has been changed forever.<br />

Never before in the short history of our industry has it ever been more<br />

apparent why an individual and family should have a second residence<br />

or citizenship as a viable “Plan B”; it’s no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity.<br />

This shift in mindset is bringing even more demand to our<br />

respective doors, and now more than ever, forging positive B2B<br />

relationships with industry leaders will enable your firm to maximize<br />

the opportunity before you.<br />

We at Latitude invite you to consider us as your<br />

B2B partner for the following reasons:<br />

1. We Pay Quickly & Generously<br />

Due to the high volume of case submissions that Latitude and our partners<br />

command, we simply get better pricing from real estate developers and we<br />

are more than happy to share this with our partners. We also make it a<br />

practice to always pay commissions promptly.<br />

Also, our team is fluent in 15 different languages, so we can help you if<br />

English isn’t your or your client’s first language. While many firms are<br />

slashing staff or cutting salaries, we are growing in all our offices. In<br />

fact, our UAE office recently doubled their headcount making it the<br />

largest investment migration office in the Middle East!<br />

But why should I partner with you? What do I get<br />

out of it?<br />

2. More RCBI Programmes On Your Shelf Without<br />

More Investment<br />

For any business, it’s impossible to be good at everything, so collaboration<br />

with an industry peer can often be an attractive option to enable you to<br />

offer your clients a more suitable RCBI solution without the upfront setup<br />

costs and challenging learning curve involved with taking on a new<br />

programme. We offer over 20 RCBI programmes in the Caribbean, Europe,<br />

South Pacific and North America.<br />

3. We Work With Different Sized Firms<br />

Working collaboratively is in our DNA as we have partnered with a wide<br />

range of companies from some of the largest immigration firms in the<br />

world to single person operations. No matter the size of the partner, they all<br />

receive our full attention and service.<br />

4.We Customize For You<br />

We offer a wide variety of options for our B2B partners that range from<br />

hand-holding your clients throughout the entire application process to<br />

staying in the background and providing white-labeled marketing materials<br />

for you to use. We customize solutions that are best suited for you, your<br />

firm and most importantly your clients. We even created a dedicated B2B<br />

team who is approachable and available 24/7 to better support our<br />

partners.<br />

Okay you got my attention! What sets Latitude apart from<br />

hundreds of other investment migration firms?<br />

We have offices in over 13 different countries around the world including<br />

the UAE, Lebanon, Malta, Cyprus, Montenegro, UK, Brazil, USA, Canada,<br />

South Korea and Malaysia, thereby allowing us to offer 24/7 support<br />

through our global network of offices.<br />

Latitude’s B2B Team<br />

It all about trust. Our partners entrust us to deliver on their behalf and<br />

we do our best to deliver each time. As long-time industry practitioners,<br />

we are more interested in building bridges than throwing<br />

sticks at our competitors.<br />

Latitude is fully licensed under all of the citizenship-by-investment<br />

programmes and we proudly display the certificates on our walls. We<br />

are also the Regional Representative Office in the Caribbean for the<br />

Investment Migration Council (<strong>IM</strong>C) and actively promote best practices<br />

and integrity for the industry.<br />

In additional to competitive client pricing, higher commissions,<br />

white-labeled marketing material and multilingual team support, we<br />

can also provide you with new digital tools that make your lives easier,<br />

including the Country Access Tool (latitudeworld.com/cat) and<br />

Programme Estimate Tool (latitudeworld.com/pet).<br />

I’m convinced, but I already have a B2B agreement in<br />

place?<br />

We have found many of our new B2B partners came to us because<br />

they were not satisfied with the quality of service being provided to<br />

them and their clients by other service providers. Please give us the<br />

opportunity to prove ourselves and you won’t be disappointed. We’d<br />

like to earn your business.<br />

Email us at partnerships@latitudeworld.com and we’ll discuss how to<br />

best move forward together.<br />

Latitude – Welcome to Your World<br />

www.latitudeworld.com<br />

Eric G. Major<br />

Group Chairman<br />

and CEO<br />

Mimoun A. Assraoui<br />

Group Vice-Chairman<br />

and CEO Dubai<br />

David Requeiro<br />

Santalla<br />

Group COO<br />

Ranny A. Muasher<br />

B2B Regional Director<br />

Jon Green<br />

Director,<br />

Intermediary &<br />

B2B Sales<br />

Christopher Willis<br />

Managing Partner and<br />

Government Advisory<br />

Ryan Darmanin<br />

Managing Director,<br />

Malta<br />

Mohammad Motavasel<br />

B2B Regional Director

WHAT’S<br />

GOING<br />

ON IN…<br />

Programme Updates<br />

A snapshot of key<br />

developments in the world’s<br />

most important investment<br />

migration markets<br />

<strong>2020</strong> has not turned out how many of us expected but the<br />

investment migration industry has not been as affected by<br />

Covid-19 as many other sectors. Most golden visa and golden<br />

passport programmes have in fact reported a surge in interest.<br />

We picked out a selection of the biggest market winners and<br />

losers for the past year. It isn’t an exhaustive list, but it will<br />

hopefully give you a flavour of how different countries and<br />

programmes are being affected by the current conditions.<br />

48<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

The Caribbean<br />

At the end of 2019, many Caribbean countries<br />

were on course to record economic performance<br />

or, at the very least, were expected to turn in<br />

respectable results. However, the coronavirus<br />

pandemic has dealt the vulnerable, tourismdependent<br />

economies of the Caribbean a heavy<br />

blow. In the five Caribbean countries that operate<br />

citizenship-by-investment programmes –<br />

Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint<br />

Lucia and Saint Kitts and Nevis – hopes are high<br />

that investor funds will help their economies<br />

to recover. In an effort to remain attractive and<br />

ensure a steady stream of fresh applications,<br />

some nations have introduced discounts, mostly<br />

in the form of accepting a greater number<br />

of dependents. Applications are still flowing<br />

in, although the industry is not yet sure how<br />

attractive these programmes will remain in the<br />

future. While some point to the Caribbean’s new<br />

status as “Covid safe haven” given that the<br />

region has handled the Covid-19 relatively well,<br />

others believe investors will be more attracted<br />

towards larger countries in the post Covid-19 era.<br />

As things stand, there are several differences<br />

separating the Caribbean programmes, with<br />

the price being the most prominent one.<br />

The minimum investment required for one<br />

applicant in Saint Lucia, Antigua and Dominica<br />

is $100,000, while in Grenada and St. Kitts,<br />

it’s $150,000. Under the real estate option,<br />

Antigua’s minimum investment is $400,000;<br />

Grenada, $350,000; Saint Lucia, $300,000;<br />

Dominica and St. Kitts, $200,000. The future of<br />

the Caribbean CBI industry will most likely be<br />

defined by greater cooperation and collaboration.<br />

Although many in the industry doubt that the<br />

islands will agree on a set price, the expectation<br />

is that a joint approach can be achieved in areas<br />

such as the exchange of information and the<br />

harmonisation of application forms. Meanwhile,<br />

some Caribbean nations started offering remote<br />

work programmes in an effort to attract highflying<br />

digital nomads. The Cayman Islands,<br />

Barbados, and Antigua and Barbuda are among<br />

the nations that have launched a new type of<br />

visa for professionals who can work digitally and<br />

are seeking a safe, attractive workplace option.<br />

3 Questions with Nestor Alfred, CEO of the<br />

St. Lucia Citizenship-by-Investment Unit<br />

What can you tell us about your operations and the<br />

1 challenges presented by Covid-19 in <strong>2020</strong>?<br />

Covid-19 did not impact negatively on our operations and presented<br />

the first opportunity to put into action our Business Continuity Plan.<br />

Our processing platform was so created to allow us to work remotely,<br />

and by the 24 th March <strong>2020</strong>, the CIP staff was working remotely.<br />

Initially, there were some challenges being expressed by the due<br />

diligence firms, but this did not last a very long time. Additionally,<br />

some applicants had issues obtaining supporting documentation due<br />

to lockdowns in certain jurisdictions. We held many consultations<br />

with various stakeholders in the industry. We wanted all to be on<br />

board with the new way of conducting the process. Where applicants<br />

could not source supporting documents for their applications, we<br />

agreed to accept the application and still undertake the verification<br />

process and the due diligence. However, the decision on the application<br />

would only be made once the necessary documents are submitted.<br />

How do you believe investment migration will develop<br />

2 in the Caribbean over the next few years?<br />

I expect there will be a major shift in collaboration and<br />

consolidation amongst the five islands operating citizenshipby-investment<br />

programmes – a joint approach that will cover<br />

application forms and the due diligence process. I believe there<br />

will be discussions on the creation of a processing and decisionmaking<br />

structure that would be accommodating for all islands.<br />

Do you have a final message about the key<br />

3 benefits of St. Lucia’s programme?<br />

Citizenship-by-investment programmes should create significant<br />

long-term yields for investors - but this can only occur when there<br />

is an uncompromising commitment to impeccable standards<br />

of compliance, rigorous due diligence and accountability. By<br />

pursuing this agenda, we ensure a lifelong return on investment<br />

to our investors and visa-free access to 146 countries.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 49

Europe<br />

Europe’s attractiveness as a residency migration destination<br />

is rising, according to many service providers. They note<br />

that particularly applicants from Asia who traditionally<br />

preferred English-speaking countries such as the US,<br />

Canada or Australia are enquiring in ever greater numbers<br />

about European residency and citizenship programmes.<br />

However, we are seeing stark differences in the <strong>2020</strong><br />

performance among European programmes. Greece, for<br />

example, has reported that it has only issued 368 Golden<br />

Visas since the beginning of this year, while in 2019 more<br />

than 3,400 visas were issued. The coronavirus pandemic,<br />

and associated financial difficulties and travel restrictions,<br />

are cited as the main reasons for the sharp decrease.<br />

Portugal’s golden visa programme held up better against<br />

the Covid-19 impact. According to Portugal’s Borders<br />

and Immigration Service (SEF), the programme granted<br />

915 residence permits to main applicants. It generated<br />

almost half a billion euro in the first eight months of<br />

<strong>2020</strong> and is expected to exceed its 2019 performance.<br />

Revenue could reach €745 million. Of particular interest<br />

to applicants is the country’s venture capital fund option,<br />

which allows investors to direct €350,000 into investment<br />

funds across a range of sectors such as technology,<br />

energy and real estate. From 20<strong>21</strong> onwards, however,<br />

investors cannot purchase properties in the country’s<br />

two major cities – Lisbon and Porto – to qualify for the<br />

golden visa. To mitigate the impact foreign buyers can<br />

have on real estate prices, applicants choosing the real<br />

estate option will need to buy in lower density zones.<br />

Never ending Brexit woes and the fact that the UK drew<br />

global criticism for its weak coronavirus response have<br />

affected applications for the UK’s Tier 1 (investor) visa. In<br />

June <strong>2020</strong>, the UK registered a 42% decrease in Tier 1<br />

visas, with close to 3,400 visas granted. While the Home<br />

Office says much of this decline is a result of the Covid-19<br />

pandemic, interest in so-called high-value visa had been<br />

declining since the UK changed its migration policy and<br />

discontinued the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa. But there are also<br />

some good news for investor migrants interested in the UK:<br />

no changes to the Tier 1 (investor) visa were announced<br />

in the post-Brexit immigration rules. In addition, the UK’s<br />

innovator visa is becoming an increasingly attractive option.<br />

Meanwhile, EU countries with a citizenship-byinvestment<br />

programme are in for a bumpy ride ahead.<br />

The recent revelations by TV station Al Jazeera, which<br />

implicated high-level politicians in corruption related<br />

to Cyprus’ investor citizenship scheme, have had wideranging<br />

repercussions. Not only did it force Cyprus to<br />

terminate its programme, industry insiders also believe<br />

the scandal accelerated the European Commission’s<br />

decision to launch infringement procedures against<br />

Malta and Cyprus, while requesting further information<br />

from Bulgaria about the country’s programme.<br />

The expectation is that Cyprus will modify and re-launch<br />

its programme, although this has not been officially<br />

confirmed. Malta, for its part, had been working on a new<br />

programme long before the European Commission’s<br />

most recent action. Malta’s successful Individual Investor<br />

Programme, which was introduced in 2014, has reached<br />

its cap of 1,800 applicants and will be replaced by a<br />

new programme under which the minimum investment<br />

requirement has been increased and the residency<br />

clause tightened. Although it is too early to assess the<br />

full impact of the European Commission’s action, it has<br />

created a high level of uncertainty, which will continue<br />

to weigh on the industry in the coming months.<br />

Outside of the European Union, but in Europe, Moldova and<br />

Montenegro are of industry interest. Moldova scrapped<br />

its citizenship-by-investment programme shortly after its<br />

launch. According to media reports, the closure was one<br />

of the EU’s conditions for providing financial assistance to<br />

the country. In spite of growing EU pressure, Montenegro<br />

launched its citizenship-by-investment programme in 2019.<br />

Although the country is not an EU member yet, accession<br />

to the Union is considered possible by 2025. Already an<br />

Adriatic yachting hotspot with stunning natural beauty,<br />

Montenegro is emerging as a luxury destination offering<br />

interesting investment opportunities, with some calling<br />

it ‘the next French Riviera’. Demand for the programme<br />

was expected to be high; however, amid Covid-19 travel<br />

restrictions, it generated only moderate interest, with only<br />

40 applications submitted at the end of October <strong>2020</strong>.<br />

The programme is planned to close at the end of 20<strong>21</strong>,<br />

and applications might multiply in the coming months.<br />

50<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

Interview with<br />


Head of the Secretariat for<br />

Development Projects of the<br />

Government of Montenegro<br />

Montenegro<br />

Seeks to<br />

Accelerate<br />

Economic<br />

Development<br />

Dejan Medojevic gives an<br />

overview of Montenegro’s<br />

citizenship-by-investment<br />

programme, which was<br />

launched in 2019 in an<br />

effort to raise capital for<br />

economic development.<br />

Can you give us a brief introduction to Montenegro’s CIP?<br />

The programme is designed as a development programme and, among other<br />

things, involves the payment of a grant of €100,000 for the development of underdeveloped<br />

municipalities, and an investment between €250,000 and €450,000 in<br />

a project selected by the government in sectors such as tourism, agriculture and<br />

manufacturing. There are also certain administrative costs and due diligence<br />

assessment fees, which applicants have to pay. Once applicants satisfy the investment<br />

requirements and pass the due diligence assessment, they are checked by our national<br />

institutions, including the Ministry of the Interior and national security agencies.<br />

The implementation of the project is overseen by the Montenegro Investment<br />

Agency, while the final decision is being made by the Government – the Prime<br />

Minister and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. For the promotion of the programme,<br />

we have contracted three licensed intermediary agents: the Arton Group, Apex<br />

Capital Partners and Henley & Partners Government Services. The Government<br />

has issued licenses to S-RM Intelligence and Exiger as due diligence providers.<br />

What would you highlight as the main challenges that<br />

you experienced in your first few months of operation and<br />

how has the programme performed thus far?<br />

The greatest challenges at the beginning were related to the definition of the main<br />

criteria. Once we got this sorted, the hardest part of the job was done. Designing<br />

suitable administrative procedures and selecting intermediaries and due diligence<br />

agents also took some time. But these are important elements of the programme, so<br />

I think that’s only natural. Keeping in mind the global economic situation caused by<br />

the Covid-19 pandemic during <strong>2020</strong> and the fact that the programme started only in<br />

the second half of 2019, we are satisfied with the performance to date. We experienced<br />

some delays due to the travel restrictions at the height of the global lockdown, but<br />

now everything goes smoothly, and we have received more than 40 applications so far.<br />

What are the key benefits of Montenegro’s programme and<br />

what sets your programme apart from its competitors?<br />

This is not a cash for passport programme. Our programme has been designed<br />

with a strong focus on economic development, and the projects that are eligible<br />

for investment will create long-term economic benefits. In addition, the fact<br />

that investors’ will have to contribute to our special development fund for less<br />

developed municipalities – mostly in the northern part of the country – means<br />

we direct investment into areas where it’s needed the most. Our CBI programme<br />

is considered to be pretty demanding in terms of the criteria applicants need to<br />

fulfil. However, we only want to attract serious and reputable applicants. The<br />

implementation of the programme is also regularly monitored by the<br />

European Commission, and so far, we have received no objections.<br />

How do you believe the programme will<br />

develop over the next few years?<br />

The programme is planned to expire by the end of 20<strong>21</strong>. Thus far, we<br />

don’t know whether it will be extended or not. It’s simply too early<br />

to plan. However, as I already said, we are quite pleased<br />

with the programme’s performance to date, especially<br />

given the global situation. If interest remains at the<br />

same level, it would be completely satisfactory.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 51

Southeast Asia<br />

Southeast Asia is the rising star of the<br />

investment migration world. Thailand<br />

continues to attract growing numbers of<br />

expat residents. The Thailand Elite visa is a<br />

residence programme allowing visa holders<br />

to stay in Thailand from five to 20 years, at a<br />

one-time cost of approximately $16,000 or<br />

$68,000, depending on the option chosen.<br />

While the main target markets are business<br />

travellers needing fast entry and exit in and<br />

out of the country, thus far most demand is<br />

stemming from retirees who, if they stay in<br />

Thailand for more than 180 days per year,<br />

stand to benefit from an attractive tax regime.<br />

In addition to a residence permit, the Thailand<br />

Elite visa comes with various privileges,<br />

including access to airport pick-up services,<br />

privilege passport lanes, airport lounges,<br />

visa assistance, golf club memberships, and<br />

discounts on various services in Thailand.<br />

3 Questions with Somchai Soongswan,<br />

President Thailand Privilege Card Company<br />

How has the Thailand Elite visa programme<br />

1 performed in 2019 and <strong>2020</strong>?<br />

In September <strong>2020</strong> our membership has grown by 32% when compared<br />

to the same month last year. Especially during the past two months, we<br />

have seen a strong increase in submitted applications. Looking at the<br />

development over the past 12 months, so from October 2019 to September<br />

<strong>2020</strong>, the figures are even better, and the number of applications has<br />

increased by 68%. Given the challenging phase the world is going<br />

through, we are quite satisfied with the programme’s performance.<br />

How did Covid-19 affect your operations and how did you<br />

2 respond to the challenges presented by the pandemic?<br />

Thailand went into lockdown in late March <strong>2020</strong>. This means our<br />

members couldn’t come to Thailand, and we also had to delay decisions<br />

about new members. However, we launched a Thailand Elite member<br />

quarantine programme (TemQ) that has been approved by Thailand’s<br />

Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). This means our<br />

members can now enter Thailand. To keep the momentum going, we are<br />

looking at an extensive marketing campaign, which includes elements<br />

such as extended visa periods as well as early bird offers for new members<br />

who can pay and register now but activate their membership later.<br />

Do you have a final message about the key<br />

3 benefits of your programme?<br />

Thailand is often called the “Land of Smiles”. Thus, “Thailand Elite” is<br />

the privilege visa that does not only offer a long stay visa but also exclusive<br />

services, which differentiates our offering from other residency programmes.<br />

These benefits and privileges are firmly reserved for friends of Thailand.<br />

As one of the most thriving economies in Southeast Asia, Malaysia<br />

is also increasingly on the radar of high-net-worth migrants. Already<br />

a popular tourist destination, the country’s beautiful landscape and<br />

cultural and ethnic diversity appeal to a greater number of foreign<br />

investors. However, in August <strong>2020</strong>, the Government of Malaysia has<br />

decided to temporarily suspend the country’s successful “Malaysia<br />

My Second Home” (MM2H) programme. The government offered<br />

no explanation for its decision, other than saying it would halt<br />

the processing of new visa applications and renewals of existing<br />

visas to “comprehensively review and re-evaluate the MM2H<br />

programme”. It said it would resume the programme next year.<br />

Singapore has risen from a post-colonial backwater to one of<br />

the most respected and admired countries in the world, and it is<br />

attracting an ever-greater number of foreign residents. The Global<br />

Investor Programme grants Singapore Permanent Resident status<br />

to eligible global investors who intend to drive their businesses<br />

from Singapore. While traditionally only established business<br />

people with a strong and successful track record could qualify for<br />

the programme, in March <strong>2020</strong>, the programme has been opened<br />

to next-generation business owners, founders of fast-growing<br />

companies from certain industries and family office principals.<br />

52<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

The Middle East<br />

Turkey’s citizenship-by-investment<br />

programme continues to attract<br />

applicants. According to media reports,<br />

the country has granted more than<br />

9,000 citizenship through real estate<br />

investment since 2016. However, the<br />

lion’s share of applications was received<br />

after the country reduced the investment<br />

threshold in 2018. Since then foreigners<br />

who purchase real estate in Turkey<br />

worth a minimum of $250,000, instead<br />

of the previous limit of $1 million, qualify<br />

for Turkish citizenship. In addition to its<br />

attraction as a regional economic hub,<br />

many investors chose to first invest<br />

in a Turkish passport and then apply<br />

for the USA’s E2 entrepreneur visa<br />

through their new Turkish citizenship.<br />

Jordan aims to attract more investors to<br />

its citizenship-by-investment programme<br />

and reduced its minimum investment<br />

requirements by 25-50% depending<br />

on the investment option in <strong>2020</strong>. The<br />

programme, which started in 2018, has<br />

reportedly raised some $1.38 billion and<br />

created some 7,400 jobs from just 200<br />

investors. Meanwhile, Egypt’s cabinet<br />

also signed off on granting citizenship<br />

to foreigners who either buy property<br />

or invest in the country. Under the new<br />

law, foreigners have three ways to obtain<br />

Egypt passport: They can either donate<br />

$250,000 to the state treasury, purchase<br />

real estate of at least $500,000, or<br />

deposit at least $750,000 into a local bank<br />

account, which is returned after five years.<br />

Australia & New Zealand<br />

Australia and New Zealand have closed their borders to almost all<br />

foreigners as part of their Covid-19 response, and it looks like borders<br />

may remain closed until late 20<strong>21</strong>. However, there is the general feeling<br />

that the current restrictions will not affect their positioning as top<br />

destinations for migrating high-net-worth individuals, although both<br />

countries require a relatively large investment. New Zealand has two<br />

investor visas, which either require an investment of NZ$3 million or of<br />

NZ$10 million, whereby a combined total of around 2,200 applications<br />

were approved since 2009. Australia’s Significant Investor Visa (SIV)<br />

continues to appeal to Chinese nationals, with the visa number for the<br />

permanent residence visa being subclass 888 – meaning triple fortune<br />

in Chinese numerology. With 88% of applicants in Australia originating<br />

from China, it becomes clear that the Australian government is<br />

prepared to further encourage growth of this market. Some 2,400<br />

SIV have been granted since the start of the programme in 2012.<br />

America & Canada<br />

Demand for the USA’s EB-5 Investor Visa dropped when the minimum<br />

investment was raised from $500,000 to $900,000 in November<br />

2019. EB-5 practitioners believe the market will stabilise again.<br />

However, for others it is not yet clear whether, or to what extent,<br />

the US will remain its status as the world’s leading immigration<br />

nation, highlighting that the country’s image suffered on the back<br />

of social and political unrest, while the Covid-19 pandemic did not<br />

help either. Interest in EB-5 increased in the summer of <strong>2020</strong> when<br />

the US paused green card applications and visa processing, with<br />

the exception of EB-5. The White House said the freeze, in place<br />

till the end of <strong>2020</strong>, is aimed at protecting the US labour market.<br />

Neighbouring Canada meanwhile has built a reputation of welcoming<br />

immigrants and valuing multiculturalism. There is huge interest in<br />

Canada’s Start-Up Visa on the back of Canada’s expanding tech sector.<br />

Some commentators say the programme has become increasingly<br />

popular after the USA’s temporary visa ban. Quebec’s Immigrant<br />

Investor Program meanwhile has been suspended until March 20<strong>21</strong>.<br />

To participate in the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program, individuals<br />

were required to invest $1.2 million. According to government<br />

officials, the main reason for the suspension is a huge backlog of<br />

applications have yet to be processed; however, Quebec also wants<br />

to use the suspension period to review the programme’s criteria.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 53

Interview with ALEX MUSCAT, Malta’s Parliamentary<br />

Secretary for Citizenship and Communities<br />



Alex Muscat, Malta’s Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Communities,<br />

provides insights into the country’s decision to revamp its Individual<br />

Investor Programme and shares his thoughts on the European Commission’s<br />

decision to launch infringement procedures against the country.<br />

54<br />

Malta’s CBI programme has been<br />

reworked. What changes should<br />

the industry be aware of?<br />

Malta’s Individual Investor Programme<br />

(MIIP) is soon coming to an end,<br />

having reached the pre-determined<br />

capping of 1,800 families who have<br />

successfully invested in the Maltese<br />

Islands. The Agency has stopped<br />

receiving new applications.<br />

We shall continue giving the<br />

opportunity to a number of exceptionally<br />

talented people to invest in the Maltese<br />

Islands. We will do this by completing<br />

the existing programme, closing the<br />

Malta Individual Investor Programme<br />

Agency (MIIPA) and establish a new<br />

agency that will administer all paths<br />

leading to Maltese citizenship, and revise<br />

and reform all residence regulations.<br />

The new regulations will be in the<br />

form of a residency plan that has the<br />

potential for eventual nationality. Under<br />

the new regulations, an applicant must be<br />

a resident in Malta for three years before<br />

applying for citizenship. Exceptionally,<br />

through a higher investment in Malta, this<br />

can be done after one year of residence.<br />

Interested residents who want to<br />

apply for citizenship will be required<br />

to apply for an eligibility assessment<br />

before applying for naturalisation. At this<br />

stage, they will be subject to thorough<br />

due diligence. The new agency will be<br />

implementing the toughest criteria for<br />

due diligence and background verification<br />

reporting around the world. It will<br />

cooperate more with local and foreign<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong><br />

investigative and law enforcement<br />

and tax authorities. An independent<br />

regulator will continue to scrutinise<br />

the application process executed by the<br />

Agency and all resultant decisions.<br />

What are the main drivers behind your<br />

decision to change the programme?<br />

One major driver is certainly a<br />

willingness to innovate and to improve<br />

our practices. The sustainability of<br />

our economic success depends on our<br />

constant readiness to innovate, together<br />

with the diligent manner in which we<br />

do business. Another major driver is<br />

our readiness to distinguish ourselves<br />

from programmes and initiatives that<br />

are offered in Europe and around<br />

the world. The Maltese Government<br />

values a strict policy of due diligence in<br />

order to make sure that only reputable<br />

applicants are admitted to its initiatives.<br />

The EU has long been critical of<br />

Malta’s programme. In what ways<br />

has this criticism influenced your<br />

decision to redesign the programme?<br />

EU legislation is clear in stating that<br />

EU intervention as far as citizenship<br />

goes is outside its legal authority.<br />

However, the Commission and the<br />

other institutions take legitimate steps<br />

to underline the potential risks of<br />

residence- and citizenship-by-investment<br />

programmes, mentioning security<br />

and money laundering concerns in<br />

various reports and statements.<br />

We believe in a spirit of dialogue,<br />

and we have paid special attention<br />

to the criticism that the original<br />

programme received and availed<br />

ourselves of constructive opinions. In fact,<br />

stakeholder consultations were carried<br />

out over the past two years, including<br />

with the European Commission.<br />

Malta has continued to strengthen<br />

the already stringent due diligence<br />

processes in order to make sure that only<br />

reputable applicants are admitted to its<br />

programmes. It is worth noting that when<br />

analysing the previous programme, the<br />

IIP regulator had already stated that it<br />

was miles ahead of similar programmes<br />

operated by other countries. The new<br />

initiative is even more highly vetted than<br />

the previous programme, and every<br />

applicant goes through a detailed process<br />

where their identity and source of funds<br />

are verified by multiple parties, including<br />

police and law enforcement agencies.<br />

In view of the fact that the majority<br />

of the EU members states have<br />

such initiatives in place, we feel it is<br />

important to understand the benefits<br />

as well as the risks that are being<br />

highlighted by EU institutions.<br />

The European Parliament has called<br />

on member states to phase out all<br />

existing citizenship- and residenceby-investment<br />

schemes. What<br />

thoughts would you like to share about<br />

the EP’s opinion on the matter?<br />

The attribution of nationality is an<br />

exclusive competence of individual

EU member states. It is in the national<br />

interest of every member state to<br />

protect its sovereignty, a principle<br />

that is also enshrined in EU law.<br />

The original programme was a highly<br />

responsible one, where applicants undergo<br />

stringent due diligence. Over the years,<br />

a total of 368 applications for citizenship<br />

were refused, and a further 35 were not<br />

allowed to apply for citizenship following<br />

initial KYC checks conducted through<br />

local police authorities. In addition, 95<br />

applications were withdrawn by the<br />

applicants, most of which were following<br />

questions raised by the Agency during<br />

the due diligence process. The rejection<br />

rate has varied throughout the years.<br />

In <strong>2020</strong>, the Minister has refused more<br />

than 30% of the applications following<br />

due diligence conducted by MIIPA. The<br />

Agency has also spontaneously reported<br />

numerous cases to Malta’s Financial<br />

Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) when it<br />

identified suspicion of money laundering.<br />

To top it off, EU member states<br />

grant more than 600,000 citizenships<br />

a year, of which only up to 1,000 are by<br />

investment. In other words, this branch<br />

of naturalisation represents a very small<br />

percentage of the total new EU citizenry per<br />

year, and those are thoroughly screened.<br />

What can you tell us about the MIIP’s<br />

role in cushioning the economic<br />

impact of the covid-19 crisis in<br />

Malta? What economic impact<br />

do you envision the programme<br />

will have in the coming years?<br />

By welcoming just under 200 new families<br />

a year, we have generated a total €1.5 billion<br />

in seven years. The funds have been a<br />

tremendous boost to the Maltese economy,<br />

building Malta’s ‘war chest’ in these<br />

times of global pandemic, and will prove<br />

to be even more useful as the economy<br />

recovers from the hit. The new regulations<br />

will continue generating revenue for<br />

areas of economic need in the future.<br />

Although this is a new initiative which<br />

is completely distinct, the benefits of<br />

Malta’s policy for attracting international<br />

investment are noticeable across the<br />

country, especially through the €600<br />

million allocated to the National<br />

Development & Social Fund (NDSF) for<br />

social and economic development of the<br />

Maltese Islands. In this way, the Maltese<br />

Islands have sought to strike a rational<br />

balance, between opening their doors<br />

for people who have distinct attributes<br />

in their field and maintaining exclusivity<br />

when it comes to the new Maltese.<br />

In October <strong>2020</strong>, the European<br />

Commission opened infringement<br />

procedures against Malta over<br />

its citizenship-by-investment<br />

programme. What comments would<br />

you like to make about this issue?<br />

The Government of Malta had already<br />

announced that the Malta Individual<br />

Investor Programme will be coming to an<br />

end. We have taken note of the concerns<br />

raised by the European Commission<br />

and by the expert group established by<br />

the Commission on citizenship- and<br />

residence-by-investment legislations<br />

found in most European member states.<br />

Subsequently, Malta will be implementing<br />

new residence regulations, which may<br />

lead to citizenship and which take into<br />

consideration the European Commission’s<br />

concerns and recommendations.<br />

The Government reiterates that<br />

citizenship is a member state competence,<br />

whereby every European country decides<br />

on its own who are the individuals which<br />

it believes should receive citizenship.<br />

There are over 600,000 individuals<br />

who become European citizens each<br />

year with very minimal screening.<br />

Malta is implementing regulations<br />

which go way beyond what many<br />

other European member states do to<br />

scrutinise citizenship applicants.<br />

The Government will formally reply<br />

to the letter of formal notice in due course.<br />

It is the intention of the Government to<br />

use all possible legal measures to defend<br />

the national interest and sovereignty.<br />

We believe<br />

in a spirit of<br />

dialogue,<br />

and we have paid<br />

special attention to<br />

the criticism that the<br />

original programme<br />

received and<br />

availed ourselves of<br />

constructive opinions.<br />

Alex Muscat is Malta’s<br />

BIO Parliamentary Secretary<br />

for Citizenship and<br />

Communities within the Ministry<br />

for Home Affairs, National<br />

Security & Law Enforcement.<br />

An economist by profession,<br />

Alex has extensive political<br />

experience. He has played a<br />

central role in government for<br />

the past seven years within the<br />

Private Secretariat team of the<br />

Prime Minister, where he rose to<br />

the position of Deputy Head.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 55

Simplicity. Safety.<br />

Sophistication.<br />

That is the essence of what attracts people to live and work in tax-neutral Cayman Islands.<br />

Recognised as the friendliest country in the world,<br />

The Cayman Islands has earned this accolade<br />

as a reflection of its welcoming population long<br />

accustomed to the presence of international<br />

residents and visitors.<br />

A breezy island lifestyle, no direct taxes, a low<br />

crime rate and a high standard of living have<br />

all contributed to making this British Overseas<br />

Territory the jurisdiction of choice for globally<br />

mobile high-net-worth individuals.<br />

Located 475 miles southwest of Miami, this<br />

tropical archipelago is renowned for its modern<br />

infrastructure, luxury residential properties, rich<br />

marine environment and world-class culinary<br />

scene. From a modern airport, excellent schools,<br />

three hospitals and over 1,000 health care<br />

professionals, to quality telecommunications and<br />

utilities, it’s small wonder that new residents are<br />

often surprised by the livability of Grand Cayman<br />

given its Caribbean address.<br />

The impact of the global pandemic has prompted<br />

increasing interest in tax-neutral Cayman Islands<br />

as a safe place of refuge and a locale offering<br />

straightforward residency by investment through<br />

real estate programmes. Two options are available.<br />

25-year Residency Certificate<br />

This option entitles the holder to reside in Cayman for 25 years without the<br />

right to work.<br />

• Invest a minimum of US$1.2 million, of which at least half must be in<br />

developed residential real estate.<br />

• Demonstrate an annual income of US$145,000 or open a local bank<br />

account and maintain a minimum deposit of at least US$500,000.<br />

• Spend a minimum 30 days annually in the Cayman Islands.<br />

Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of<br />

Independent Means<br />

This provides a lifetime right to reside in Cayman, with the opportunity to work.<br />

• Invest a minimum of US$2.4 million in developed real estate in the<br />

Cayman Islands.<br />

• Demonstrate sufficient financial resources<br />

• Spend at least one day a year in the Cayman Islands.<br />

• This option offers a path to naturalisation as a British Overseas Territories<br />

Citizen (after a minimum five years) and then a British passport. In taking<br />

this up, there is no obligation to surrender any existing citizenships.

Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, and The Residences at Seafire<br />

OLEA, a residential community in Camana Bay<br />

Camana Bay<br />

RBI applicants also choose the Cayman Islands<br />

for residency due to the ease of acquiring<br />

property; there are no restrictions on foreign<br />

ownership of land, no alien landholding<br />

licences, no recurring property taxes and title<br />

insurance is generally not needed due to the<br />

Islands’ Torren title system of land registration.<br />

When it comes to property development, the<br />

Islands’ largest developer, Dart Real Estate,<br />

has made significant contributions, investing<br />

over US $1.5 billion in luxury resorts and<br />

residential properties, Class A commercial office<br />

buildings, infrastructure projects and most<br />

notably its flagship development, Camana Bay.<br />

Camana Bay is a 685-acre waterfront town<br />

centre founded on the principles of New<br />

Urbanism and home to global firms, retail<br />

boutiques, restaurants, an international school<br />

with an IB programme, and OLEA, a residential<br />

community offering condos, townhomes and<br />

villas for sale.<br />

A short drive from Camana Bay is another<br />

Dart development, Kimpton Seafire Resort +<br />

Spa, and The Residences at Seafire. The AAA<br />

Five Diamond award winning resort shares a<br />

12-acre property on Seven Mile Beach with The<br />

Residences at Seafire, a luxury condominium<br />

development. The 62-unit property offers<br />

contemporary one-to-five-bedroom residences<br />

that are suited for part- and full-time residents.<br />

An optional rental program managed by the<br />

Kimpton is available to owners interested in<br />

renting their property when not on island.<br />

Properties for sale at The Residences at Seafire<br />

and OLEA, as well as other luxury real estate,<br />

are represented by Provenance Properties, Dart<br />

Real Estate’s brokerage and the official Christie’s<br />

International Real Estate affiliate in the Cayman<br />

Islands. Clients benefit from one-stop service<br />

for all commercial, residential and relocation<br />

service needs, in-depth and proprietary market<br />

analyses, and access to the privileged Christie’s<br />

Real Estate marketing programmes and network<br />

of like-minded individuals.<br />

Beyond the role of real estate developer, Dart<br />

is committed to the Cayman Islands. The Dart<br />

Real Estate team helps business owners and<br />

individuals learn about the benefits of living and<br />

working in the Cayman Islands, and assists with<br />

making the relocation process an efficient and<br />

positive experience.<br />

Learn more about Dart Real Estate at<br />

whycayman.dartrealestate.com<br />

and Provenance Properties at<br />

provenanceproperties.com<br />

1<br />

HSBC Expat Explorer Survey, 2012<br />

RBI applicants also<br />

choose the Cayman<br />

Islands due to the ease<br />

of acquiring property.<br />

• no restrictions on<br />

foreign ownership<br />

of land<br />

• no alien landholding<br />

licenses<br />

• no recurring<br />

property taxes<br />

• title insurance is<br />

generally not needed<br />

due to the Islands’<br />

Torren title system of<br />

land registration






Address: Cnr. Brazil & Mongiraud Streets, Castries, St. Lucia<br />

Email: info@stluciacitizenship.capital<br />

www.stluciacitizenship.capital / www.floissaclawyers.com<br />

T: +1 758 452 2887 M: + 1 758 714 7373



The Caribbean CBI industry will experience a surge in demand, but it will also become<br />

more competitive as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, write Brenda Floissac<br />

Fleming and Keith Isaac of Polaris Citizenship & Investment Consultancy Services.<br />

One may argue that Citizenship by<br />

Investment is intrinsically Caribbean.<br />

This once micro-industry kickstarted<br />

by St. Kitts & Nevis in 1984 is now established<br />

in 13 countries worldwide; five of which<br />

are Caribbean. St. Lucia is the latest isle in<br />

the region to have made that metaphoric<br />

plunge, having established its citizenship-byinvestment<br />

programme in 2016. Unlike most<br />

regional CIPs, Parliament’s clear intention<br />

was to offer a niche programme to the world’s<br />

billionaire club, with starting investments<br />

double that of the most competitively priced<br />

programmes in the region. This proved<br />

unpopular, and the island had limited success<br />

in attracting economic citizens to its shores.<br />

Emphasis Change<br />

By 2017, St. Lucia aligned its approach with<br />

that of its regional counterparts. Starting<br />

investments were reviewed to create parity with<br />

the region’s most competitive programmes, while<br />

net worth requirements and other arbitrary<br />

hindrances to citizenship were removed. This<br />

shift was vindicated with an almost 1,000%<br />

increase in applications for the year 2017.<br />

Legislation has been complimented<br />

by a focused marketing mix. This has<br />

involved strategic partnerships with<br />

global stakeholders in key markets in an<br />

attempt to boost the programme’s visibility.<br />

The selling point of St Lucia’s CIP has<br />

transcended the cliché visa-free rhetoric<br />

and has been multifaceted; incorporating<br />

the island’s culture, a focus on foreign direct<br />

investment and ease of doing business. This<br />

has allowed St. Lucia, unlike similar thirdworld<br />

CBI destinations, to be viewed by<br />

many HNWIs as a viable second home.<br />

These shifts, along with streamlining of<br />

the application process and a focus on top-tier<br />

due diligence, helped the programme gain<br />

the investment migration industry’s respect.<br />

Covid-19 Emergence<br />

St. Lucia, like most Caribbean CBI offerings,<br />

has been acutely affected by Covid-19. As a<br />

nation largely dependent on tourism, shortterm<br />

economic loss due to the pandemic<br />

has been reported in several industries.<br />

Quite uniquely, whilst causing ruin to<br />

global economies, the coronavirus pandemic<br />

has simultaneously accelerated growth in the<br />

investment migration industry. The expected<br />

long-term recession and the likeliness of tax<br />

hikes in several first-world jurisdictions, coupled<br />

with nationalist and protectionist policy trends,<br />

have seen interest in Caribbean citizenship<br />

surge from both traditional and non-traditional<br />

markets such as South Africa and Europe.<br />

Response to Date<br />

Eager to make best use of this incidental<br />

opportunity, Caribbean governments<br />

have taken swift action to attract HNWIs<br />

to their programmes. This has included<br />

price reductions and fee waivers from<br />

the likes of St. Kitts and Dominica.<br />

Refusing to be outdone, St. Lucia’s<br />

Parliament has approved amendments to the<br />

country’s CIP. Those included a reduction of<br />

the qualifying donation from US$190,000.00<br />

to US$150,000.00 for a family of four and the<br />

introduction of a limited time Covid-19 noninterest-bearing<br />

bond starting at US$250,000.00<br />

with a five-year maturity period. Most notably,<br />

the definition of ‘qualifying dependent’ has<br />

widened significantly to include children aged<br />

30 and parents aged 55, provided that they are<br />

fully supported by the primary applicant.<br />

Whilst critics may argue that such actions<br />

diminish an offering’s value and contribute<br />

to a philosophical ‘race to the bottom’ by<br />

third-world CIPs, these shifts are signs of<br />

the times – nations with limited resources<br />

are waging war against each other in a<br />

competitive CBI industry. The opportunity to<br />

earn foreign exchange amidst global financial<br />

crises simply cannot be disregarded by newly<br />

independent states still attempting to secure<br />

post-independence economic utopia.<br />

Meanwhile, improvements to the scope of<br />

‘qualifying dependent’ should be welcomed as<br />

it points towards greater opportunity for nontraditional<br />

family structures to benefit from CBI.<br />

We anticipate the legislative acceptance of nonheterosexual<br />

family structures by regional CIPs.<br />

Future Outlook<br />

Whilst the verdict is still out on these initiatives,<br />

one should expect sustained incentivising of<br />

HNWIs in a post-Covid-19 St. Lucia, which will<br />

likely continue to rely heavily on its CIP in the<br />

wake of an impacted tourism sector. Externally,<br />

demand for RCBI should continue to intensify<br />

with prolonged economic, social and political<br />

uncertainty forecasted in major markets. The<br />

challenge for St. Lucia’s, and other regional<br />

CIPs, post Covid-19 will be balancing the need to<br />

attract economic citizens with the requirement to<br />

maintain ‘programme integrity’ in an increasingly<br />

regulated RCBI sector, shadow governed by global<br />

superpowers, often far removed from, and with<br />

little understanding of, Caribbean realities.<br />

BIO<br />

Brenda Floissac<br />

Fleming is a Senior<br />

Partner at the<br />

firm Floissac Fleming &<br />

Associates and Managing<br />

Director of Polaris<br />

Citizenship & Investment<br />

Consultancy Services in<br />

St. Lucia. Brenda has over<br />

30 years experience as<br />

an attorney and advises<br />

primarily on commercial<br />

and transactional matters.<br />

She is St. Lucia’s Honorary<br />

Counsel to Chile and a<br />

Director of the island’s<br />

largest indigenous bank.<br />

Keith Isaac is an attorneyat-law<br />

at the firm Floissac<br />

Fleming & Associates and<br />

General Manager of Polaris<br />

Citizenship & Investment<br />

Consultancy Services in<br />

St. Lucia. Keith holds a<br />

master’s degree in Law and<br />

Certification in Investment<br />

Migration. He is a five time<br />

former St. Lucia National<br />

Youth Parliamentarian and<br />

a former St. Lucia Junior<br />

Minister for Tourism.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 59


BOB KRAFT, Chairman, President, and CEO of FirstPathway Partners and President of IIUSA’s Board of Directors<br />



Robert Kraft spent 40 years running companies before he<br />

started working in the EB-5 industry. Through his regional centre,<br />

he has raised investor money for projects as diverse as aircraft<br />

engines, student dorms, specialised business centres and<br />

hotels. He talked to the <strong>IM</strong> <strong>Yearbook</strong> about his EB-5 journey, the<br />

current situation in the US and future investment opportunities.<br />

Robert Kraft is a shining example<br />

of American entrepreneurship.<br />

He has more than four decades<br />

of international business experience<br />

and sat on the boards of over a dozen<br />

companies. Robert – who usually goes by<br />

his American nickname Bob – was a serial<br />

entrepreneur long before the term became<br />

closely associated with multi-venture<br />

technology mavericks like Elon Musk and<br />

Steve Jobs. In 1993, he founded his first of<br />

nine companies. Three years later, in 1996,<br />

he set up a software company that he grew<br />

from a one-man start-up into a business<br />

with 600 employees in just 10 years.<br />

It was around the year 2004 when he<br />

got interested in the EB-5 regional centre<br />

programme, but he didn’t jump right into<br />

it. With decades of boardroom experience,<br />

he knows that knowing the market and<br />

competition is crucial when starting up. “I<br />

spent three years investigating the industry.<br />

I came to believe that EB-5 had great<br />

potential and that this is something I’d like<br />

to be involved in.” Shortly after, he sold the<br />

software business and set up FirstPathway<br />

Partners (FPP), with the mission to<br />

become the leading EB-5 regional centre<br />

practitioner in the United States.<br />

Careful Project Selection<br />

From the hundreds of thousands of<br />

business ventures that entrepreneurs<br />

launch every year, many never get off the<br />

ground. Others struggle after spectacular<br />

rocket starts. Kraft knows that and<br />

has made careful project selection his<br />

number one business mantra. One of<br />

FPP’s first projects for which it raised<br />

EB-5 investor capital was Delta Hawk<br />

Engines, an aerospace company which<br />

manufactured lightweight and fuelefficient<br />

aircraft engines. Delta Hawk’s<br />

engines are unique in the market as they<br />

are powered by diesel, which means<br />

they can be used in areas where it is<br />

harder to get access to 100LL fuel, which<br />

is typically used in similar sized aircraft<br />

engines. “This was a very exciting project<br />

that did very well, and the investors<br />

have long been paid back,” says Kraft.<br />

Other projects, Kraft says, were<br />

perhaps less unusual and innovative<br />

but all offered investors a very good<br />

investment. Examples include student<br />

dormitories at the University of Wisconsin,<br />

specialised business parks and research<br />

labs, hotels and restaurants. “We have<br />

been very conservative in the projects<br />

that we got involved in. They are not the<br />

huge monster projects that we have seen<br />

in some of the big cities, but all are very<br />

successful. I think smaller projects are<br />

beneficial for the investor because they<br />

can easily get their arms around them.”<br />

Hotels and Hospitality<br />

Some 65% of FPP’s projects fall in the hotel<br />

and hospitality category, a sector that is facing<br />

some serious challenges at the moment due<br />

to Covid-19 travel restrictions. “I am convinced<br />

the industry will bounce back. I actually feel<br />

pretty good about our projects. They are in<br />

strong markets and have strong names behind<br />

them as we usually work with big brands<br />

such as Marriot, IHG and Hilton,” says Kraft.<br />

FPP’s hottest project at the moment is<br />

a restaurant franchise: Teriyaki Madness.<br />

“The model yields the investor true business<br />

ownership and continued potential for<br />

income even after immigration goals are<br />

achieved. Best of all, we have a management<br />

company that expertly runs the restaurants<br />

and day-to-day operations, jumpstarting<br />

the business with their years of experience<br />

and repeatable framework for success,”<br />

60<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

I think smaller<br />

projects are<br />

beneficial<br />

for the investor<br />

because they can<br />

easily get their arms<br />

around them.”<br />

explains Kraft. This offering, he says, “is<br />

very attractive to Indian EB-5 investors<br />

who – more than many other nationalities<br />

– like the value of entrepreneurship”.<br />

FPP today works in 40 different<br />

countries and expanded its footprint<br />

years ago. “We kind of anticipated the<br />

retrogression issue with Chinese nationals,<br />

and we are active around the world,” says<br />

Kraft. Last year, his firm also started offering<br />

services for E-2 treaty country investors and<br />

investors born in non-treaty countries who<br />

can apply for this type of visa after obtaining<br />

citizenship in the Caribbean country of<br />

Grenada. “This year, due to Covid-19, we<br />

spent a lot of time on rethinking projects<br />

and also upgrading our sales process. We<br />

are scaling up, bringing in people with<br />

industry experience, to better serve our<br />

investors. In 20<strong>21</strong>, things will start going back<br />

to normal, and we will hit the road running<br />

with a really good track record and some<br />

very exciting projects to present globally.”<br />

Driving EB-5 Forward<br />

Part of Kraft’s mission throughout the<br />

years has been to continuously improve<br />

EB-5. For the past four years, he has<br />

been serving as President of Invest in the<br />

USA (IIUSA), the global industry trade<br />

association of the EB-5 Regional Centre<br />

Programme, which has been suffering<br />

from a series of short-term extensions and<br />

a constantly growing quota backlog. “The<br />

programme has just been extended right<br />

through to December <strong>2020</strong>. I think that’s<br />

the 18 th extension over the past four to five<br />

years,” says Kraft. EB-5, he mentions, is<br />

supported by Democrats and Republicans.<br />

“This means there isn’t much of a problem<br />

to get both parties to re-authorise a<br />

programme, but to get them to agree to<br />

a new programme is a different story.”<br />

Although America’s EB-5 programme<br />

has been the most successful immigrant<br />

investor programme in the world, its overall<br />

economic impact on the US economy is<br />

still small, he admits. EB-5 could be of<br />

tremendous benefit to the US economy in<br />

the post-Covid-19 recovery; however, two<br />

things are important for EB-5 to realise<br />

its true potential, he says. The first is to<br />

distinguish between main investors and<br />

family members, as currently the cap of<br />

10,000 visas is still interpreted in a way<br />

that family members are counted toward<br />

the annual visa allocation. “A proper<br />

interpretation of investor visa units would<br />

increase the programme by two-thirds,<br />

which then can bring in $9 billion per<br />

year and create at least 288,000 jobs per<br />

year, so over the course of five years, we are<br />

talking some very significant numbers.”<br />

The second is a long-term authorisation<br />

for about six years. “The extensions aren’t<br />

much of a problem because everybody<br />

understands that the programme just<br />

gets rolled over, but it would still be nice<br />

to have the regional centre programme<br />

in place for a longer period of time.”<br />

Drop in Demand<br />

Rather than a general overhaul, EB-5<br />

has seen incremental change, with some<br />

new regulations coming into effect at the<br />

end of 2019. The definition and selection<br />

of “targeted employment areas,” also<br />

known by its acronym TEA, has been<br />

tightened to ensure that investment is truly<br />

being channelled into areas with high<br />

unemployment. In addition, the investment<br />

threshold for the TEA option has been<br />

raised from $500,000 to $900,000. Has<br />

this affected demand? Yes, says Kraft. “It<br />

had a negative effect. And just when the<br />

market would have adjusted to the higher<br />

number, Covid-19 hit. We all know that<br />

it’s difficult over zoom and phone calls to<br />

really move the programme forward.”<br />

However, he’s convinced that there will<br />

be a return to normality in 20<strong>21</strong>, although<br />

he admits that the US is in crisis mode –<br />

the presidential election, racial turmoil<br />

and the impact of the coronavirus on the<br />

country’s health all add up. “Right now,<br />

politics is as aggressive as I’ve ever seen<br />

it in my life time. There is certainly a lot<br />

going on, but I am not sure whether this<br />

has diminished immigration interest in<br />

the US because interest in our projects is<br />

still very high from around the world.” He<br />

believes the US is still the top destination<br />

for migrants and will emerge stronger<br />

from the current pandemic crisis.<br />

EB-5 can be a powerful tool to help<br />

stimulate economic development and<br />

job creation. “EB-5 has already proven<br />

effective during an economic recession.<br />

The programme has generated $20.6<br />

billion in investment and created or<br />

saved 730,000 jobs between the fiscal<br />

years 2008 and 2015 when the US was<br />

recovering from the financial crisis.”<br />

New Opportunities<br />

Kraft has extensive experience in running<br />

manufacturing operations, but does he<br />

believe manufacturing could play a greater<br />

role in the EB-5 programme? “I think<br />

manufacturing is getting stronger in the<br />

US, but the problem with manufacturing<br />

is that it is more subjected to global<br />

disruptions and tougher to manage. A<br />

hotel project, for instance, is fairly static<br />

and predictable, and even if the business<br />

fails, you still have the tangible real estate<br />

asset to sell. In the case of manufacturing<br />

operations, many times you are dealing<br />

with lease facilities, so if the product<br />

is out of favour, management makes a<br />

mistake or there is a global interruption<br />

in terms of trade, there is not much left.”<br />

He believes hotels will always be a great<br />

option for EB-5 due to their high potential<br />

for job creation. But they may also be<br />

opportunities in distribution centres on<br />

the back of increased e-commerce activity.<br />

Infrastructure investment is also high on<br />

his agenda. IIUSA is currently working<br />

with US policymakers on defining what<br />

qualifies as infrastructure in terms of EB-5<br />

investment. “The issue with infrastructure<br />

is if it’s just road and bridges – how do you<br />

repay investors? There is really no revenue,<br />

so it would require a government bond or<br />

similar. I think infrastructure investment<br />

is really a big need and a good opportunity<br />

in the US. We are not quite there yet<br />

but it’s definitely an area to watch.”<br />

Kraft is optimistic about the future as<br />

the recent changes to the EB-5 programme<br />

had brought it back to the original idea<br />

of driving economic development in<br />

areas that needed it most. “That’s a very<br />

good change for the long-term, and it<br />

will pave the way for EB-5 to play a key<br />

role in the post-Covid-19 recovery.”<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 61




Charles Mizzi, Chief Executive Officer of the Malta Residency<br />

Visa Agency (MRVA), explains how the Agency operated<br />

during the Covid-19 outbreak. He says rather than paralysing<br />

productivity, the MRVA processed a record number of<br />

applications while reducing a backlog of pending files.<br />

62<br />

The coronavirus outbreak was fast<br />

and unprecedented. As Malta’s<br />

authorities worked relentlessly<br />

to put into place a series of mitigation<br />

measures to strictly control the pandemic,<br />

the MRVA rapidly set in motion a<br />

business continuity plan. This had two<br />

aims: firstly, to protect employees and<br />

their families, and secondly, to ensure<br />

that the quality service we gave agents<br />

and clients remained constant, of a<br />

high standard, and uninterrupted.<br />

Swift Change to Remote Working<br />

With secure technology readily at<br />

hand, the majority of employees<br />

worked remotely, with skeleton staff<br />

remaining physically in the office. Like<br />

with many other workplaces, this was<br />

a first for us. But I must say it was a<br />

positive experience, as not only was<br />

performance maintained, but in some<br />

cases, it even superseded expectations,<br />

mitigating the potential impact on<br />

our operations while safeguarding the<br />

team. Even the momentum of staff<br />

training – which I strongly believe<br />

in and push – was maintained as<br />

courses and seminars went online.<br />

With this comfort, the Agency<br />

went ahead with its file processing<br />

and its four-tier due diligence work as<br />

usual, revising operational procedures<br />

where necessary to adapt to remote<br />

working and re-distributing work flows<br />

accordingly, without compromising on<br />

our standards and quality benchmarks.<br />

Submission of applications via our<br />

accredited agents continued, and<br />

letters of approvals as well as residence<br />

certificates were issued normally.<br />

The only area where Covid-19 had<br />

an impact on the Malta Residence and<br />

Visa Programme - the MRVP - is where<br />

agents had difficulties in reaching<br />

out to applicants in order to prepare<br />

applications and documentation or<br />

to seek clarifications. We understood<br />

this challenge and supported<br />

applicants coming from affected<br />

regions by suspending deadlines<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong><br />

on response times. We understand<br />

this was greatly appreciated.<br />

Appointments for the taking of<br />

biometrics were also stalled because<br />

potential beneficiaries of Maltese second<br />

residency could not fly into the country<br />

for the taking of biometric data.<br />

Productivity Rise<br />

In the meantime, we processed more<br />

applications than ever, successfully<br />

addressing a backlog of pending<br />

files and significantly bringing down<br />

waiting time. Indeed, our output this<br />

year has already surpassed that of 2019.<br />

We achieved this by investing heavily<br />

in an operational rehaul involving<br />

recruitment, training and outsourcing.<br />

This figure is set to increase further<br />

as we continue putting into place<br />

measures that improve our efficiencies.<br />

Our turnaround time for applications<br />

has also hit the five-month mark, from<br />

submission of a complete and correct file.<br />

We also worked against all odds and<br />

moved into new offices. We overcame<br />

issues of disrupted supply chains<br />

and delivery dates flying out of the<br />

window, to move in and immediately<br />

start giving a superior service to<br />

agents from brand new premises.<br />

I must say we are proud of the<br />

fact that, unlike other competitor<br />

programmes, some of which even closed<br />

their doors completely, the MRVA<br />

maintained its quality service offering,<br />

while making sure all health measures<br />

were taken to safeguard the team.<br />

New Modes of Working<br />

Our aim at MRVA is to sustain a<br />

competitive programme in terms of<br />

benefits offered to applicants as well<br />

as to increase efficiencies without<br />

compromising the rigorous due diligence<br />

that applications undergo. Our swift<br />

adaptation to new modes of working<br />

meant we could continue meeting<br />

our targets. We are now continuing<br />

investing in IT in order to facilitate online<br />

application submission, which will<br />

further contribute to us going digital and<br />

help maintain our productivity gains.<br />

As we still contend with the effects<br />

of Covid-19, we are optimistic that, like<br />

most businesses in Malta, the MRVP<br />

will rise to the current challenges<br />

and continue to be the popular<br />

programme it is, attracting important<br />

foreign direct investment to Malta.<br />

While offering families from third<br />

countries a chance at a second residency<br />

and another world of possibilities in<br />

a safe and stable country, the ultimate<br />

aim is that funds generated by the Malta<br />

Residence and Visa Programme are<br />

channelled towards Malta’s consolidated<br />

fund with direct benefits to our citizens.<br />

Charles Mizzi was<br />

BIO appointed Chief Executive<br />

Officer of the Malta<br />

Residency Visa Agency in February<br />

2019. He began his career in the<br />

banking sector and worked with<br />

a number of local banks, where<br />

he occupied several roles in the<br />

marketing department. In October<br />

2014, he became Executive<br />

Director Media and Marketing<br />

of the Maltese Presidency for<br />

the European Council. In 2017,<br />

he joined the Individual Investor<br />

Programme Agency as Chief<br />

Officer for Communications and<br />

Business Development, garnering<br />

important experience in the sector.



Many Americans never thought of leaving the US. But <strong>2020</strong> has<br />

changed all that, and it’s a topic that is on the minds of a growing<br />

number of people, writes Rogelio Caceres of RCG Global.<br />

Since the end of World War II, the global<br />

ultra and high-net-worth (U/HNW)<br />

community has viewed the United States as<br />

one of the most dynamic business environments<br />

in the world. Whether as an ideal launching<br />

pad to commence a rewarding professional<br />

career, realise entrepreneurial ambitions or to<br />

pursue university and postgraduate studies at<br />

many of the best educational institutions in the<br />

world, the US has long been perceived as the<br />

ideal location. It is not surprising, therefore, that<br />

residency and citizenship by investment (RCBI),<br />

colloquially known as “Plan B” investments,<br />

have largely been perceived by American HNW<br />

investors as assets needed by European jetsetters,<br />

Middle Eastern oil magnates or soon-to-bedeposed<br />

Latin American and African dictators.<br />

Based on the US market’s lack of perceived<br />

need, the global RCBI industry understandably<br />

focused on serving much more fertile markets<br />

in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Russia,<br />

while the United States, the world’s largest<br />

and most dynamic HNW investor segment,<br />

remained largely “out of sight, out of mind.”<br />

Rising Concerns<br />

As a result of the United States government’s<br />

calamitous response to the Covid-19 pandemic,<br />

however, elite American households began<br />

to become increasingly concerned about<br />

the short- and long-term outlooks facing<br />

their US-based families. At my firm, RCG<br />

Global, we asked ourselves a simple question:<br />

Why should American citizens ensconced<br />

in their homes in Miami, New York City,<br />

San Francisco, and Chicago, to name just<br />

four of the Top 10 wealthiest cities in the<br />

world, not benefit from the same level of<br />

unfettered access, freedom, stability and<br />

security enjoyed by their international peers<br />

in Shanghai, Mumbai, Moscow, and Lagos?<br />

Doubling in Size<br />

Based on our proven track record promoting<br />

the US EB-5 programme, the world’s largest<br />

RCBI programme in highly promising (yet<br />

overlooked) EB-5 markets such as India, Brazil<br />

and South Africa, RCG Global firmly believes<br />

that the American HNW market is poised to<br />

rapidly adopt RCBI solutions. It possesses<br />

several of the most important demand drivers,<br />

which, from a market attractiveness perspective,<br />

are critical to the successful adoption of new<br />

investment migration solutions. No other<br />

country on the planet has the sheer number of<br />

millionaire households than the United States.<br />

If American HNW families begin to adopt RCBI<br />

solutions at a rate anywhere similar to their<br />

peers in China, India and the Middle East, the<br />

entire $25 billion RCBI industry could easily<br />

double in size within 10 years’ time. According<br />

to a Wealth-X/Economist 2015 study, American<br />

households overwhelmingly cite “Quality of<br />

Life” as their number one driver to pursue a<br />

second passport or alternative residencies.<br />

Demand Drivers<br />

Given the spectre of continued social unrest, the<br />

ravaging effects of climate change (particularly<br />

in California and New York City), combined<br />

with the probability of new tax regimes taken<br />

place under a new Biden Administration,<br />

the US HNW market exhibits all of the key<br />

demand drivers to propel a rapid growth curve<br />

going forward. The global pandemic of <strong>2020</strong><br />

fundamentally weakened investor confidence,<br />

both at home and abroad, in the United<br />

States’ capability to effectively manage future<br />

global disruptions and crises. As the situation<br />

worsened over the summer, I personally began<br />

to explore potential RCBI solutions for my<br />

own family. When speaking to friends and<br />

colleagues here in Miami, or in New York and<br />

the Bay Area, for example, I was intrigued by<br />

how many of my peers were open to pursuing<br />

well-structured RCBI solutions as an effective<br />

hedge, an insurance policy of sorts, to sustained<br />

political and economic instability. Their<br />

primary reasons varied from a desire to preserve<br />

their enhanced standard of living, to ensure<br />

uninterrupted access to the best healthcare<br />

providers, to eliminating the personal and<br />

professional drawbacks caused by extremely<br />

limited global mobility resulting from the US<br />

passport’s lack of visa-free travel privileges.<br />

Drop in Passport Power<br />

At the top of my list of “things I never thought<br />

would ever happen…” I would likely have<br />

placed witnessing the rapidly escalating<br />

deterioration in the power of the once allmighty<br />

blue American passport. For as long as<br />

I can remember and as recently as 2015, the US<br />

passport was ranked as the #1 passport in the<br />

world. However, a never before seen drop in<br />

the passport’s global standing this year and the<br />

sudden and unexpected lack of international<br />

mobility in terms of visa-free international<br />

business and leisure travel has encouraged<br />

many to look for alternative solutions. For<br />

example, at the beginning of <strong>2020</strong>, an American<br />

passport holder could travel to 185 countries<br />

without the need to secure a visa in advance.<br />

As of September <strong>2020</strong>, this number shrunk to<br />

fewer than 75 countries, a global ranking placing<br />

the US slightly behind Botswana (no offense<br />

to my Tswana-speaking friends.) When future<br />

pandemics and other global disruptions strike,<br />

those with the foresight to invest in RCBI assets<br />

will be best placed to weather the storm.<br />

Rogelio Caceres<br />

BIO is the Founder and<br />

CEO of RCG Global,<br />

the first US-headquartered<br />

investment firm solely<br />

focused on the development<br />

of the US-outbound RCBI<br />

business. Prior to RCG,<br />

Rogelio was the co-founder<br />

of LCR Capital Partners<br />

where he led the pursuit of<br />

an audaciously contrarian<br />

strategy focused on<br />

greenfield development<br />

of new investor markets<br />

(e.g. India, Brazil and South<br />

Africa) and ultimately<br />

raising $200 million from<br />

sophisticated U HNW<br />

investors residing in 30<br />

countries around the<br />

world. Rogelio earned<br />

an MBA from Harvard<br />

Business School and a<br />

BSE from the University<br />

of Michigan, Ann Arbor.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 63

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The Many Faces of<br />

Business Migration<br />

Entrepreneurs, start-up founders and digital nomads:<br />

Here’s how they are shaping business migration today<br />

As an alternative or an addition to the residency-by-investment route, a new generation of<br />

visa programmes is increasingly leaving their mark on immigration systems worldwide.<br />

Alexander<br />

Varnavas<br />

Chad<br />

Ellsworth<br />

Stéphane<br />

Tajick<br />

Savvas<br />

Poyiadjis<br />

Juerg<br />

Steffen<br />

The words ‘Silicon Valley’ can evoke<br />

many things – innovation, growth<br />

and unicorn start-ups certainly<br />

come first to mind – but more than<br />

anything else Silicon Valley is a showcase<br />

of immigrant success. No one illustrates<br />

this better than Tesla and SpaceX CEO<br />

Elon Musk who was born in South<br />

Africa and became a US citizen in 2002.<br />

Musk is the prime example of a category<br />

of immigrants that many countries are<br />

currently seeking to attract: talented<br />

entrepreneurs and start-up founders.<br />

While traditional entrepreneur visas<br />

have been around for a long time, and<br />

it’s also not the first time that start-up<br />

visa initiatives are popular, many in the<br />

investment migration industry believe<br />

that these types of programmes will not<br />

only increase in numbers but become<br />

more economically important in the<br />

coming years. They are widely seen as<br />

more politically acceptable than the<br />

conventional residency-by-investment<br />

programmes and offer countries the<br />

opportunity to promote themselves as a<br />

globally competitive player and innovation<br />

nation. Meanwhile, some governments are<br />

seeking to attract a completely new breed<br />

of professionals by introducing digital<br />

nomad visas. Pioneer Estonia is being<br />

followed by others, including traditional<br />

CBI countries such as Antigua & Barbuda.<br />

Anti-Immigration Trend<br />

In most advanced economies, immigration<br />

is a highly debated issue politically and<br />

across society. When politicians discuss<br />

migration, they usually talk about threats<br />

rather than opportunities. The arguments<br />

against it are similar everywhere: migrants<br />

take jobs from locals, lower wages, don’t<br />

integrate with society, strain public<br />

resources and bring crime to the country.<br />

Khalid Koser, Executive Director of the<br />

Global Community Engagement and<br />

Resilience Fund points out that there is<br />

a polarisation of views between those<br />

who champion migrants and those<br />

who believe all migrants, and especially<br />

wealthy migrants, are criminals.<br />

In fact, immigration worries drove some<br />

of the biggest upheavals of the past decade<br />

– the election of Donald Trump, the rise of<br />

populism in Europe and Britain’s decision<br />

to break away from the EU. In this climate, it<br />

comes as no surprise that entrepreneur and<br />

start-up programmes are an easier sell for<br />

governments as they attempt to transform<br />

immigration from being a potential or<br />

perceived economic burden to society<br />

into a tool for economic development,<br />

argues Fragomen’s Chad Ellsworth.<br />

The Dying Entrepreneurs<br />

Meanwhile, there is the general feeling that<br />

the West’s golden age of entrepreneurship<br />

and innovation is behind it. Various studies<br />

show that no matter what measure or<br />

definition of entrepreneurship is being<br />

used, the underlying trend is downward.<br />

“The Western world has been looking<br />

at a demographic problem for decades<br />

now. We have brought immigrants to<br />

replace the ageing labour force, but there<br />

is a large deficit in the replacement of the<br />

entrepreneur class,” says Stéphane Tajick,<br />

President and Head Advisor of Stéphane<br />

Tajick Consulting. Many businesses owned<br />

by the babyboomers are facing succession<br />

issues with not enough buyers to keep those<br />

assets alive, especially outside large cities.<br />

“In Canada, we estimated that billions of<br />

dollars are disappearing from our economy<br />

because businesses are left to die. This<br />

is a problem that Western Europe is also<br />

facing and that immigrant entrepreneurs<br />

could help solve,” he points out.<br />

Politicians and economists are<br />

increasingly interested in the question<br />

of how migrants shape the economy<br />

and how they influence national<br />

innovation, economic growth and sector<br />

competitiveness. Various studies show that<br />

immigrants are more likely to establish their<br />

own businesses, and there is plenty of data<br />

that can be mined proving that immigration<br />

is actually boosting economic growth. In<br />

the US, migrants set up about 30% of all<br />

businesses, even though they account for<br />

just 14% of the population. Studies from<br />

the UK show that immigrants were roughly<br />

twice as likely as British-born individuals<br />

to establish their own companies.<br />

Start-up Mania<br />

Most advanced economies today have a<br />

complex system of immigration programmes<br />

designed to maximise a county’s economic<br />

competitiveness, including business visa for<br />

professionals not sponsored by a destinationcountry<br />

employer as well as channels for<br />

the highly skilled. Start-ups, however, were<br />

long excluded from the business migration<br />

world as their business ideas and projects<br />

were too unconventional and early-stage<br />

for entrepreneur visa. In addition, many<br />

start-up founders have eschewed degrees in<br />

favour of entrepreneurship, which means<br />

they do not qualify for programmes seeking<br />

to attract highly skilled professionals<br />

as these are often tied to a degree.<br />

Start-up visas have attempted to fill<br />

this gap. They have become increasingly<br />

popular in recent years as they allow a<br />

country to market itself specifically to young,<br />

high-potential and innovative founders.<br />

Traditional immigration nations such as<br />

Canada, Australia and New Zealand have<br />

introduced them, but so have a number<br />

of European countries, including Ireland,<br />

Spain, Denmark, the Netherland, Estonia,<br />

Latvia, Portugal and Finland. In Asia,<br />

countries such as Japan, South Korea,<br />

Singapore and Thailand, all offer startup<br />

visas in one form or another, while<br />

in South America nations such as Chile<br />

and Brazil launched them too. It is no<br />

coincidence that many countries added<br />

a tech focus – which country would not<br />

want to attract the next Elon Musk?<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 65

Impact on the <strong>IM</strong> Industry<br />

Countries are responding in different ways<br />

to this trend, either by inviting foreign<br />

entrepreneurs to establish or relocate their<br />

own businesses or by asking investors to<br />

fund existing companies. Savvas Poyiadjis,<br />

Managing Director of Fides Corp, believes<br />

that for governments entrepreneur<br />

and start-up programmes are more<br />

important economically than traditional<br />

investment migration programmes.<br />

“They focus on entrepreneurship,<br />

innovation and job creation by default<br />

while traditional investment migration<br />

programmes focus mainly on real estate<br />

investments which, although the real<br />

estate sector is crucial to every economy,<br />

lead to one-sided economic growth.”<br />

Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley &<br />

Partners, points out that countries are<br />

constantly competing for scarce talent and<br />

crucial FDI to diversify their economies<br />

and introduce new opportunities to<br />

their societies. He states that sovereign<br />

states require a competitive edge. “This<br />

is what both entrepreneurship-linked<br />

investment migration programmes and<br />

entrepreneur programmes can provide.”<br />

Hybrid Options<br />

The struggle though is that very few<br />

entrepreneur programmes are attractive<br />

to the traditional RCBI applicant and<br />

high-net-worth investor. “People who<br />

invest for immigration purposes still<br />

prefer real estate programmes,” says<br />

Alexander Varnavas, Partner at Varnavas<br />

Law Firm 1978, a boutique law firm<br />

based in Athens with special expertise in<br />

investment migration. The passive nature<br />

of the investment is a key attraction of<br />

many investment migration programmes.<br />

In addition to real estate, intangible<br />

financial investments, similar to those<br />

Greece has recently introduced, such as<br />

time deposits and bonds, are of interest to<br />

RCBI applicants according to Varnavas.<br />

Many in the industry point towards<br />

the creation of hybrid programmes,<br />

which allow high-net-worth individuals<br />

to invest in start-ups and even more<br />

established businesses requiring<br />

funding. The investment route can be<br />

a direct investment into a company,<br />

regulated loan funds or a national angel<br />

investor platform. There are some good<br />

examples that this model can work.<br />

The USA’s EB-5 programme, which<br />

matches foreign investors with local<br />

projects, is one. The French Tech Visa<br />

programme that offers a visa not only<br />

to start-up founders, but also to start-up<br />

employees and investors, is another.<br />

Nomad Visas<br />

Amid Covid-19, some nations have<br />

been quick to seize a new opportunity,<br />

launching special visas for the growing<br />

pool of location-independent workers.<br />

Thus far, the term digital nomad has<br />

often been associated with gig workers,<br />

millennials and young globetrotters<br />

eager to spend a couple of years working<br />

remotely, changing country whenever<br />

they feel like. The reality though has long<br />

been a different one, with the majority<br />

of digital nomads being high-value<br />

freelancers and consultants, mobile<br />

entrepreneurs and company employees<br />

that decide to embrace mobility and work<br />

from outside the office. This lifestyle<br />

suddenly entered the mainstream<br />

in <strong>2020</strong> as at the height of the global<br />

lockdown, millions of people, along<br />

with their bosses, discovered practically<br />

overnight that they can work remotely.<br />

While since then many have returned<br />

to their office desk, the expectation is<br />

that WFA (work from anywhere) will<br />

become much more common in the<br />

future. Companies that were resistant to<br />

remote work before the pandemic have<br />

become more willing to offer flexible<br />

working arrangements in the post-Covid<br />

‘new normal’ – saving a handsome sum<br />

on rent. In a global poll by research and<br />

advisory firm Gartner, more than 80% of<br />

company leaders surveyed said they plan<br />

to allow remote work at least part time<br />

even after it becomes safe to return to the<br />

office. PwC’s Remote Work Survey asked<br />

US financial services companies about the<br />

topic in June <strong>2020</strong>. It found 69% expect<br />

almost two-thirds of their workforce to be<br />

working from home once a week in future.<br />

Legal Basis<br />

Thus far though, remote workers faced<br />

problems because they lacked the legal<br />

basis for their work, leaving them with no<br />

option but to enter on tourists visas and<br />

work illegally. Little Estonia, which already<br />

made global headlines with its e-residency<br />

programme, was one of the first countries<br />

to address this problem. Estonia’s plans<br />

were in the public domain for quite a while,<br />

and the launch of the Estonian Digital<br />

Nomad Visa in the summer of <strong>2020</strong> only<br />

coincided with the coronavirus pandemic.<br />

Nearly 1,800 persons per year could be<br />

eligible to apply for a digital nomad visa,<br />

according to preliminary estimates.<br />

Others followed: Barbados introduced<br />

the 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp,<br />

while applications for the new ‘Work from<br />

Bermuda’ visa were opened in August<br />

<strong>2020</strong>, which also offers a 1-year pass to live<br />

and work on the island. One of the biggest<br />

differences between the two programmes<br />

is the price. The Barbados Welcome Stamp<br />

comes with a whopping $2000 price tag,<br />

while the Bermuda visa only costs $263.<br />

Antigua and Barbuda has also launched<br />

a long stay visa programme for persons<br />

who can work remotely. Prime Minister<br />

Gaston Browne said the country has<br />

already received several applications. Many<br />

more countries are currently looking into<br />

establishing similar visa programmes.<br />

Smooth Transition<br />

The idea is that these semi-permanent<br />

residence programmes attract an entirely<br />

new segment of the workforce that never<br />

considered working from and temporarily<br />

living abroad. There are big hopes that if<br />

the new nomad residents like the lifestyle<br />

and environment in their chosen country,<br />

they might consider becoming long-term<br />

residence or even citizens, especially if they<br />

are able to smoothly transition between<br />

the different business migration routes.<br />

The same is true for the growing<br />

field of entrepreneur- and start-up visas.<br />

Start-up visas are often seen as a stepping<br />

stone, rather than an alternative to<br />

entrepreneur visas. Many start-up visas<br />

have been introduced very recently, and<br />

a few are still in the pilot phase, such as<br />

Israel’s Innovation Visa and Australia’s<br />

SISA programme. Governments all<br />

over the world are currently testing<br />

and adjusting their business migration<br />

programmes and are surely keeping an<br />

eye on their competitors. It’s a fast-moving<br />

space that may soon enter a more mature<br />

stage, with the coming years possibly<br />

seeing a closer convergence of talent,<br />

business and investment migration.<br />

66<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

Interview with CHAD ELLSWORTH, Partner at Fragomen<br />




GROWTH<br />

Fragomen’s Chad Ellsworth believes that<br />

governments will implement a greater number of<br />

entrepreneur visa programmes to attract foreign<br />

innovators who can help with economic recovery<br />

and job creation in the post-Covid-19 era.<br />

We are seeing an increasing<br />

number of entrepreneurial visa<br />

programmes being launched.<br />

What’s driving this trend?<br />

In my opinion it’s a result of a growing<br />

global restrictionist immigration<br />

environment driven by populism and<br />

economic nationalism. It has been a<br />

fairly recent phenomenon, and it’s hard<br />

to pinpoint when it started. However,<br />

we have already noticed that after the<br />

2008 financial crisis and the economic<br />

downturn, many governments began to reorient<br />

their immigration systems towards<br />

attracting the “best and brightest” global<br />

talent and away from more traditional<br />

family or employer-based systems.<br />

Well-known receiving or in-bound<br />

immigration nations such as Canada,<br />

Australia, the UK and the US attempted<br />

to move away from traditional paths of<br />

immigration, to pivot towards a more<br />

merit-based system that seeks to attract<br />

the best and brightest talent including<br />

entrepreneurs. The big question that’s<br />

driving all of this is: how can governments<br />

transform immigration from being a<br />

potential economic burden to society in<br />

some instances into a tool for economic<br />

development? So, paradoxically, political<br />

pressure and nationalism are making<br />

programmes that have a demonstrated<br />

impact on the economy very popular, in<br />

particular in the current situation. For<br />

instance, in the US President Trump<br />

temporarily suspended the approval of<br />

certain green cards until end of <strong>2020</strong> to<br />

protect the American job market affected<br />

by the coronavirus. The EB-5 programme,<br />

however, was exempted from this order,<br />

likely because of its job-creating nature.<br />

The US, UK, Australia, New Zealand,<br />

France, Singapore, Portugal,<br />

Germany and many more countries<br />

offer entrepreneur programmes<br />

today. Which programmes are<br />

standing out to you and why?<br />

The French Talent Passport Programme<br />

has recently been popular with an average<br />

of more than 100 applicants per year,<br />

although not in the same volume that<br />

EB-5 has been popular, where there are<br />

thousands of applicants per year and<br />

major backlogs as a result given the 10,000-<br />

annual limit. Still, it has gained traction.<br />

The UK also runs the Start-up<br />

and Innovator programmes geared<br />

towards highly skilled graduates and<br />

established entrepreneurs respectively.<br />

The programmes are aimed at those<br />

with new and innovative business<br />

ideas and a relatively modest level<br />

of capital investment is required.<br />

There is also an attractive incubatorbased<br />

programme in Canada, although<br />

to my knowledge it has not been used as<br />

widely as some of the European ones. I<br />

think we are going to see a lot more of<br />

these programmes in the near future.<br />

Take the UK’s Tier 1 (Investor) Visa,<br />

which requires a passive investment of £2<br />

million in UK companies. Now, if there are<br />

approximately 300-400 applicants a year,<br />

that’s really a drop in the bucket if you<br />

look at the total size of the UK economy.<br />

It doesn’t make a huge difference into<br />

the overall budget of the UK. So, I think<br />

programmes that are tied towards job<br />

creation, business formation as well as<br />

attracting and retaining highly skilled<br />

professionals are easier programmes<br />

to support, and the UK government<br />

is considering further changes in this<br />

area post Brexit, in addition to recent<br />

changes expanding the scope of its Global<br />

Talent visa programme. We clearly see<br />

that programmes that are tied to real<br />

economic activity and job creation tend<br />

to have support on both sides of the<br />

political spectrum despite an overall<br />

global restrictionist environment.<br />

While from a policy perspective<br />

these programmes might be very<br />

attractive for governments, why<br />

should they be on the radar of startup<br />

founders and young graduates?<br />

It really comes down to price point. These<br />

programmes have a lower investment<br />

threshold than the more traditional<br />

investment migration programmes.<br />

For instance, in France the investment<br />

can be as low as €30,000. Therefore, it’s<br />

attractive to recent graduates who might<br />

have a great business plan and some seed<br />

money or investors within their family<br />

but might not have the $2 million, $1<br />

million or even $500,000 required for<br />

the citizenship or other residency routes.<br />

So, these new programmes are really<br />

geared towards younger immigrants<br />

and recent university graduates.<br />

Do you believe that entrepreneur<br />

programmes will eventually overtake<br />

the importance of traditional<br />

investment migration programmes<br />

and perhaps replace them?<br />

I don’t think we are trending that way yet.<br />

Unfortunately, the application process<br />

around a lot of these start-up visas has<br />

yet to align to today’s business practices.<br />

68<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

These<br />

programmes<br />

are not<br />

going to be for<br />

everyone. Yes, they<br />

are attractive for<br />

younger immigrants<br />

with a good<br />

business idea and<br />

a corresponding<br />

risk appetite.<br />

Some are very specific in terms of their<br />

sponsor and venture capital requirements,<br />

while applicants also often have to<br />

guarantee a certain level of job creation.<br />

These programmes are not going to<br />

be for everyone. Yes, they are attractive<br />

for younger immigrants with a good<br />

business idea and a corresponding risk<br />

appetite. But I think there is still a lot of<br />

risk associated with these programmes.<br />

The traditional private client who already<br />

has businesses and is looking to expand<br />

globally is in many instances not willing to<br />

take the risk associated with some of these<br />

entrepreneurial programmes. Traditional<br />

citizenship or residency programmes<br />

that offer immediate status are more<br />

established in many instances and have a<br />

less complex application process. They will<br />

remain the more popular choice among<br />

more established high-net-worth investors<br />

given the immediate status granted in<br />

many instances although at a higher cost.<br />

There is a lot of talk about hybrid<br />

programmes, whereby applicants<br />

can invest in start-ups or businesses.<br />

Will this be the next incarnation?<br />

Governments are currently experimenting<br />

with different programme designs.<br />

We are seeing different investment<br />

and employment thresholds, while<br />

investments are sometimes more on the<br />

active and sometimes more on the passive<br />

side. I think it all leads towards more<br />

hybrid programmes and systems because<br />

the trend is clear: more scrutiny will be<br />

applied to immigration systems and there<br />

will be more pressure on governments<br />

to only admit the best and the brightest<br />

global talent for the foreseeable future.<br />

One of the big questions with the<br />

new type of programmes is what<br />

happens when the business fails. How<br />

do programmes address this issue?<br />

It really depends on the programme.<br />

Each programme treats project failure<br />

very differently with very different<br />

consequences. So, the EB-5 programme<br />

has historically not been very generous<br />

with project failure. Investors and<br />

entrepreneurs essentially lost their spot in<br />

the US green card line, had to reapply and<br />

most likely also lost their initial investment<br />

money. Recently, there have been some<br />

regulatory changes that allow investors<br />

to keep at least their spot in line, but they<br />

still have to re-file an application and can<br />

still lose their investment funds in many<br />

instances. So, in my opinion the US system<br />

has not been very favourable to project<br />

failure. In other countries project failure<br />

is not necessarily fatal, and the investor<br />

doesn’t need to immediately leave the<br />

country. The visa can be revived or at least<br />

proceed on a conditional status. There are<br />

a whole host of approaches to that issue,<br />

and the countries that are the most lenient<br />

usually attract the greatest numbers of<br />

entrepreneurs to their programmes.<br />

Most traditional citizenship and<br />

residence schemes have the objective<br />

of convincing highly skilled people to<br />

relocate to their adopted countries.<br />

However, many programmes report<br />

cases of entrants who drop off<br />

the radar and – beyond their initial<br />

investment – are not engaged<br />

with the local community. How<br />

could programmes be improved<br />

to better achieve this objective?<br />

Physical residence requirements are<br />

helpful to governments when seeking to<br />

ensure people spend time in the country.<br />

In order to receive residence in most<br />

of the traditional receiving countries –<br />

the US, UK and Australia – one must<br />

permanently reside in the country or at<br />

least have an intention to permanently<br />

reside in the country. However, it’s all<br />

about governments striking the right<br />

balance. In the US for instance, there is<br />

no fixed number of days needed to spend<br />

here, but we generally advise clients to<br />

spend the majority of their time in the<br />

US. There is discretion for international<br />

business people and people that are<br />

studying abroad, and there are things a<br />

person can do to protect his or her status<br />

if temporarily living aboard. Nonetheless,<br />

the government really looks into whether<br />

the applicant has ties to the host country<br />

– so they do not only check whether the<br />

applicant pays taxes in the US and has<br />

a residence, but they might even check<br />

whether the applicant’s doctor visits are<br />

in the US, where they attend religious<br />

institutions if applicable, if there are<br />

local accounts, gym memberships etc.<br />

What’s your future outlook for<br />

the entrepreneur visa market?<br />

I think we are going to see a real explosion<br />

in this area globally. What happens<br />

to US programmes will really depend<br />

on the November election results.<br />

Generally speaking, though I believe<br />

entrepreneurial visa programmes will<br />

become ever more popular, particularly<br />

to cushion the impact of the Covid-19<br />

economic crisis. A lot of the arguments<br />

that were made after the financial crisis<br />

with regard to immigration will be even<br />

more pronounced in the current crisis.<br />

That’s why I expect to see a greater<br />

number of job-creation programmes.<br />

Chad Ellsworth is a<br />

BIO Partner at Fragomen’s<br />

New York office, and has<br />

been with the firm for more than<br />

15 years. His practice focuses<br />

on representing individual and<br />

business clients in a wide variety<br />

of corporate immigration, private<br />

client and related employment<br />

matters. Chad advises many<br />

high-net-worth individuals<br />

in their immigration related<br />

investments. As investors<br />

from Asia are the largest users<br />

of global investor migration<br />

programmes, including the<br />

US EB-5 investor visa, Chad<br />

regularly liaises with Asian<br />

private clients to address<br />

their global entrepreneurial<br />

or investor citizenship or<br />

residency immigration needs.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 69

5 Questions with MARIE’ LOU CUTAJAR, Education and Training Administrator of the Investment Migration Council<br />

From Experienced Experts to Young Professionals:<br />



More than 160 students have enrolled for the Certification in Investment Migration course, rendering the<br />

first year of the <strong>IM</strong>C Education and Training division a success, says Marie’ Lou Cutajar, Education and<br />

Training Administrator of the Investment Migration Council (<strong>IM</strong>C). Plans for the future include a greater<br />

focus on micro-learning opportunities to allow time-poor executives gain new skills and qualifications.<br />

Can you provide a brief overview of the<br />

<strong>IM</strong>C Education and Training (<strong>IM</strong>CET)<br />

division and outline its mission?<br />

The <strong>IM</strong>C Education and Training is a<br />

specialised division within the Investment<br />

Migration Council. It is the only provider<br />

of certificated professional education<br />

and training courses for advisors, agents,<br />

lawyers, programme staff and others working<br />

in or associated with the industry.<br />

The <strong>IM</strong>CET was established to formalise<br />

the sector by introducing global standard<br />

qualifications and training which will help<br />

the industry obtain external credibility and<br />

trustworthiness. This initiative was designed to<br />

enhance the participants’ technical knowledge,<br />

competencies and expertise, and prepare<br />

them for this vibrant industry where high<br />

professional standards and values are required.<br />

How many students are currently<br />

following <strong>IM</strong>CET’s programme?<br />

Over the past year, more than 160 students<br />

globally enrolled for the Certification in<br />

Investment Migration course. This is the<br />

first course of its type – which was specially<br />

designed for those working in the industry.<br />

It is delivered online through our custom<br />

Learning Management System and includes<br />

five compulsory modules. The success rate<br />

is very high. At the end of September, almost<br />

100 participants completed the course and are<br />

now <strong>IM</strong>C certified practitioners Cert (<strong>IM</strong>).<br />

How would you describe your first year of<br />

operation and what would you highlight<br />

as <strong>IM</strong>CET’s main achievement to date?<br />

The <strong>IM</strong>CET’s first year was a very busy one. We<br />

have focused on the growth of the Certification<br />

in Investment Migration course by reaching out<br />

to practitioners from all over the world, through<br />

social media, conferences and the like, with the<br />

aim to explain the rationale for taking such a<br />

course and the benefits of getting qualified.<br />

A global pandemic outbreak was certainly<br />

something we had to adjust to. We have in<br />

fact made the course more accessible by<br />

introducing discounts for those who wished<br />

to get qualified. However, at the same time,<br />

we have seen that online learning proved to be<br />

beneficial to the many practitioners who had<br />

to adjust their way of working and experienced<br />

a downtime which they used to get certified.<br />

One of our biggest achievements is<br />

probably managing to successfully get the<br />

message across that the professionalisation of<br />

our industry through education and training<br />

is very important. The number of students<br />

who enrolled for this course already show<br />

that many have indeed understood that global<br />

standards, education and qualifications will<br />

contribute to a well-respected industry.<br />

Positive feedback from experienced<br />

practitioners who acknowledge the value of<br />

the Certification and appreciate the additional<br />

knowledge they are getting from this course has<br />

certainly been of great satisfaction for us as well.<br />

What are <strong>IM</strong>CET’s plans and priorities<br />

for the next 12 to 24 months?<br />

Our focus for the coming months is to grow<br />

our education and training portfolio. To this<br />

end we have been working over the summer<br />

months on some new and exciting projects. We<br />

are in fact planning on launching some new<br />

modules, with subjects that will be of extreme<br />

interest for those working in the industry. We<br />

are also looking into re-inventing the current<br />

course into ‘bite-sized’ learning options, which<br />

should be well received by practitioners who<br />

wish to upskill, but their busy schedules do<br />

not allow them to sit for longer courses.<br />

What personal message would you like<br />

to share with the investment migration<br />

community about <strong>IM</strong>CET and the further<br />

professionalisation of the industry?<br />

The <strong>IM</strong>CET has been mandated with<br />

the task of creating an Education and<br />

Training Framework for the industry, with<br />

the aim to build a solid ground for further<br />

professionalisation of the sector. This past year,<br />

with the introduction of the Certification in<br />

Investment Migration, showed our commitment<br />

towards enhancing the industry’s standards.<br />

We are very excited for what is coming<br />

next, as we keep creating courses aimed at<br />

developing professional competency and<br />

standards amongst those working in our<br />

industry. All training content will keep the <strong>IM</strong><br />

community abreast of developments in the<br />

industry and at the same time attract new talent,<br />

which will sustain the sector’s growth.<br />

Marie’<br />

BIO Lou Cutajar has<br />

joined the <strong>IM</strong>C<br />

as the Education and<br />

Training Administrator.<br />

She acts as the point<br />

of contact within the<br />

<strong>IM</strong>C for all training<br />

related enquires. She is<br />

responsible for the dayto-day<br />

co-ordination<br />

and administration of<br />

the training programme,<br />

making sure that all those<br />

who enrol for the course<br />

have the assistance<br />

they require. Marie’ Lou<br />

is also leading several<br />

projects within the <strong>IM</strong>CET<br />

with the intention to<br />

enhance professionalism<br />

and to set standards<br />

of best practice in<br />

the <strong>IM</strong> industry.<br />

70<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>


“I decided to follow an <strong>IM</strong>CET training<br />

programme because I am aware that<br />

the investment migration industry is a<br />

relatively new industry, and therefore<br />

it is really improtant to acquire<br />

professional competencies that will<br />

give more credibility and reliability to<br />

the professionals in the sector. This<br />

course has provided me with an advantage when I interact<br />

with potential clients in terms of professianal trust.”<br />

Matteo Cicero<br />

Attorney - PKF China<br />

“Obtaining the Certification in<br />

Investment Migration allowed me to<br />

quickly adapt my financial background<br />

and transition smoothly into the<br />

investment migration industry. I consider<br />

it to be an essential tool for those looking<br />

to better understand the fundamentals<br />

and gain a practical approach to due<br />

diligence, anti-money laundering risks, privacy regulations<br />

and ethical standards. Being a certified professional<br />

provides me with an additional layer of trust when dealing<br />

with clients, stakeholders and other practitioners.”<br />

Michel Soler<br />

Associate Director LATAM - Henley & Partners Canada<br />

“<strong>IM</strong>CET is the leading professional<br />

entity within our industry, and I<br />

wanted to learn from the most<br />

reputable organisation. Completing the<br />

course gave me definetly a much<br />

stronger confidence when dealing<br />

with different areas of our industry. I m<br />

proud to hold an <strong>IM</strong>CET certificate.”<br />

Nóra Gömöri<br />

Business Development Manager - BEYOND, United Kingdom<br />

“I have been involved in the<br />

immigration and relocation industry<br />

for 23 years. I decided to enroll in the<br />

<strong>IM</strong>C course to continuously update<br />

my knowledge and skills. With great<br />

surprise, I realised that the tools<br />

the course presented were more<br />

comprehensive than I had expected. It<br />

did not only assist me in enhancing training for my team,<br />

but it also helped me in future-proofing our company.”<br />

Maria Kouri<br />

Managing Director - Corporate Relocations Greece<br />

“I attended my first International<br />

Residency & Investment Conference<br />

in 2019 as I was concerned about<br />

going beyond my professional<br />

boundaries as an expert lawyer<br />

in Immigration Law and Spanish<br />

citizenship. This is where I<br />

discovered the <strong>IM</strong>C and its training.<br />

The training provided me with a deeper knowledge of<br />

the history and functioning of the industry and gave<br />

me the right tools to position my company at the<br />

highest international level. The curriculum exceeded<br />

my expectations. The areas studied gave us a complete<br />

picture, and I consider it an essential training for those<br />

who want to join and form part of the industry.”<br />

Viviana Echeverria<br />

Lawyer - Echeverria Abogados Spain<br />

“My primary motivation for earning<br />

the Cert(<strong>IM</strong>) was to further my<br />

understanding of the CBI industry.<br />

The evolution of technology has<br />

completely transformed the<br />

way people communicate and<br />

conduct business within any<br />

given society, but even more<br />

so between various societies. To me, the continued<br />

popularity of RBI and CBI programmes is a natural<br />

outgrowth of this global evolution. Having the Cert(<strong>IM</strong>)<br />

designation is credible evidence to my clients that I<br />

have an understanding of this important industry.”<br />

Ted Prillaman<br />

Principal - Equinow USA<br />

“The <strong>IM</strong>CET training programme<br />

was a great step at the stage I was<br />

in my professional development.<br />

I had been looking after due<br />

diligence work for actors in this<br />

space for a few months, and I<br />

felt it was the perfect time for<br />

me to advance my knowledge<br />

of the industry. The training programme helped me<br />

understand my clients’ mission far better, helped me<br />

understand the current challenges facing the industry,<br />

which in turn improved the quality of my work and<br />

enhanced my skillset as a professional in compliance. I<br />

particularly appreciated the high-level overview of the<br />

CBI and RBI programmes and the discussion around<br />

moral considerations around the programmes.”<br />

Anca Patrascu<br />

Case Manager, Enhanced Due Diligence - Refinitiv, UK<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 71

“When we study together, we<br />

learn together, we work together,<br />

and we prosper together.”<br />

Barack Obama<br />



We are delighted with the number of students who successfully<br />

completed the Certification in Investment Migration and are now<br />

officially certified <strong>IM</strong> practitioners. Well done for your achievement.<br />

Andres Gutierrez<br />

Andrew Hesner<br />

Alan Huether<br />

Aimee Lisle<br />

Aleksandra Smolen<br />

Alexander Zvarkovskiy<br />

Analida Vallarino<br />

Anca Patrascu<br />

Andria Petrou<br />

Bobbi Jo Kutch<br />

Eliot Brendon Mc Gillivary<br />

Christina Georgaki<br />

Caterina Assunta Passini<br />

Cedric Leblanc<br />

Cheryl Francis<br />

Clare Monique Aquilina<br />

Dmitry Shishkin<br />

Dalia Akl<br />

David Paillé<br />

Dmitry Dudarev<br />

Dom Barnes<br />

Elizabeth Davison<br />

Gabriele Avellino<br />

Tessy Ekpunobi<br />

Hangama Wanner<br />

Hassan Sattar<br />

Irene Davidson<br />

Valentina Alekseyevna<br />

Sammut<br />

Viviana Echeverria Pascual<br />

Irina Walsh<br />

Jaynelle Lake<br />

Jessica Debono<br />

John Richardson<br />

Joshua Lake<br />

James Swenson<br />

Jusztina Rebeka Juhasz<br />

Katarzyna Aldycka<br />

Kathy Rivera<br />

Keith Isaac<br />

Kenny Arevalo-Lebrun<br />

Lilla Krifaton<br />

Jennifer-Lynn Kent<br />

Maria Kouri<br />

Marie Lou Cutajar<br />

Matteo Cicero<br />

Michael Martin<br />

Michel Soler<br />

Madalena Monteiro<br />

Nikkita Nair<br />

Nora Gomori<br />

Pablo Ostrick<br />

Patrick Ansah<br />

Philip Paschalides<br />

Pierre-Étienne<br />

Balthazar-Lacasse<br />

Shane Qu<br />

Rachel Micallef<br />

Rohit Kapur<br />

Roleece Brookes<br />

Sara Rebolo<br />

Sasha L’ecuyer<br />

Chris Siwei Chen<br />

Stefanie Fetzer<br />

Sue Nickason<br />

Sylwia Wolos<br />

Trafford Busuttil<br />

Theodore Prillaman<br />

Vadym Shevchenko<br />

Valeriano Anibarro<br />

Varun Singh<br />

Victoria Atanasova<br />

Vanessa Lima<br />

Christian Wayne<br />

Yanica Woods<br />

Zachary Busuttil<br />

Zain Ahmad Butt<br />

Natalia Zakharova<br />

Malta Individual Investor<br />

Programme staff<br />

members (MIIP)<br />

Malta Residency<br />

Visa Agency staff<br />

members (MRVA)<br />

72<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

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THE <strong>IM</strong>PORTANCE OF EXPERIENCED<br />


Insurance is an often overlooked and underaddressed<br />

topic in the investment migration industry, and there<br />

are compelling reasons to work with a knowledgable<br />

insurance provider, write Mark Jr and Keith Laferla.<br />

As the world continues to fight<br />

a global pandemic, amidst<br />

economic and environmental<br />

issues, the importance of mobility<br />

has never been felt more strongly.<br />

With thousands of flights cancelled<br />

daily and airlines struggling to keep<br />

afloat, the question arises as to the<br />

importance of safeguarding both one’s<br />

personal accomplishments as well as<br />

those that are business-related. The<br />

need for dual or multiple citizenship<br />

has become more evident, and highnet-worth<br />

individuals (HNWIs) are<br />

looking into long term solutions<br />

arising for imminent issues they are<br />

facing as a result of the pandemic<br />

and its impact on related markets.<br />

Complex Requirements<br />

The complexity and the number of<br />

requirements required by wealthy<br />

individuals to apply for programmes<br />

that enable them to expand their<br />

citizenship or residency, such as<br />

CBI and RBI, mean that they cannot<br />

proceed with applications without<br />

the assistance of family offices<br />

or migration specialists who are<br />

very experienced in dealing with<br />

similar requests, applications and<br />

demands. Such providers must also<br />

have the technical know-how to do<br />

so, especially with more complex<br />

and technical requirements such<br />

as insurance, which requires both<br />

expertise and adequate licensing.<br />

As may have become more<br />

evident through the pandemic,<br />

each industry is intertwined with<br />

a network of conjoined markets,<br />

and when dealing with CBI &<br />

RBI applicants, amongst other<br />

clients, it is important for those<br />

industries to have the same level<br />

of understanding and dedication,<br />

especially when dealing with<br />

HNWI who may have demanding<br />

requirements or/and schedules.<br />

Here are the top 4 reasons to work<br />

with a reliable, experienced and proven<br />

partner within the CBI industry.<br />

1. The Fine Print<br />

The details specific to insurance covers<br />

for such clients consist of a whole list of<br />

requirements that necessitate policy providers<br />

to have experience in order to comply<br />

correctly due to the programme’s particular<br />

requirements as well as very fine print.<br />

Failing to have an insurance partner who<br />

understands these requirements may mean<br />

having applications held up at a later stage.<br />

2. Ahead of the Game<br />

It’s also important that partners chosen are<br />

involved within the CBI & RBI industry<br />

and are aware of the updates and changes<br />

in the industry especially with regards to<br />

regulation. Those providers who are not<br />

fully equipped or knowledgeable about the<br />

industry may decline assistance with such<br />

applications due to the misconception that<br />

clients coming through these programmes<br />

are automatically considered high risk.<br />

3. Lost in Translation<br />

Similarly, providers whose work is not regular<br />

within the CBI & RBI industry may not be<br />

as fast or reliable as clients would expect<br />

the process to be due to their inexperience<br />

of working with clients in the industry.<br />

For example, such providers may not have<br />

staff who can accommodate their clients<br />

by providing services in that client’s own<br />

language, or they may not be accustomed to<br />

going out of their way to meet with partners<br />

or clients outside of normal business hours<br />

to present the required documentation.<br />

4. At your Service<br />

Existing providers in the industry understand<br />

the importance of issuing legal documents or<br />

policies within a short period of time as well as<br />

settling any pending issues or insurance claims<br />

at the earliest. This is simply the level of service<br />

that high-net-worth individuals expect, and<br />

providers in tune with these expectations should<br />

have the setup available to satisfy them.<br />

About Laferla<br />

Laferla and its related services<br />

have joined the CBI & RBI<br />

industry upon the introduction<br />

of the IIP programme in Malta<br />

in 2014 and have worked with a<br />

number of HNWIs and families<br />

throughout the years. Their<br />

expertise and qualifications in<br />

the industry mean that each<br />

member of the Laferla team is<br />

well-versed with the specific<br />

requirements of the clients that<br />

come through such programmes,<br />

and are thus able to provide<br />

professional risk assessment<br />

services. The majority of<br />

accredited agents have already<br />

chosen to work with Laferla and<br />

subsequently earn a fair referral<br />

fee, and in turn, have allowed<br />

the firm to assist over 2,000 IIP<br />

and MRVP applicants to date.<br />

Laferla’s in-house HNWI experts<br />

and second-generation owners,<br />

Mark Jr and Keith Laferla, also<br />

provide advisory services to<br />

HNWIs, their family offices and<br />

service providers on insurance<br />

matters outside of Malta. Both<br />

members of the Investment<br />

Migration Council and qualified<br />

by the Chartered status from the<br />

Chartered Insurance Institute<br />

of London, Mark and Keith are<br />

able to bring their experience to<br />

the table and suggest methods<br />

that governments offering<br />

RBI and CBI programmes may<br />

use to reduce any potential<br />

exposure to state care systems,<br />

for example healthcare and<br />

pension systems, by introducing<br />

insurance requirements<br />

within their programmes.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 75


NEVER<br />

MISS<br />

A RED<br />

FLAG<br />

Is the Standardisation<br />

of Due Diligence the<br />

Way Forward?<br />

Four due diligence experts review the state of play of due diligence in<br />

the investment migration industry and outline how the standardisation<br />

and harmonisation of processes might lead to better outcomes<br />

for the sector in a world of increasing regulation and scrutiny.<br />

James Swenson<br />

Senior Vice President,<br />

Diligence, and Head<br />

of EMEA & APAC at<br />

Exiger Diligence<br />

Sylwia Wolos<br />

Risk Solutions Consultant<br />

Enhanced Due<br />

Diligence at Refinitv<br />

Laura Austin<br />

Head of Investment<br />

Migration Due<br />

Diligence at BDO<br />

Eddy Leviten<br />

Chief Operating<br />

Officer at FACT<br />

76<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

Due diligence has long been a thorny issue<br />

for the investment migration industry,<br />

with scandals reported in the media<br />

repeatedly suggesting that the depth and<br />

breadth of checks on applicants, their family<br />

members and the origin of their funds vary<br />

significantly. In 2019, the Investment Migration<br />

Council, in coordination with BDO, Exiger and<br />

Refinitiv, formed a Due Diligence Working<br />

Group to examine to explore the potential for<br />

minimum standards across the industry. The<br />

working group published two reports which<br />

aim to address the issues that arise from a<br />

lack of harmonised standardised and can<br />

be downloaded from the <strong>IM</strong>C website. The<br />

experts agree: The best due diligence is not<br />

only about gathering information and data, it is<br />

also about harmonising the system of checks<br />

and balances that different stakeholders in the<br />

investment migration industry have in place.<br />

How would you describe the current state of<br />

play of due diligence in the investment migration<br />

industry? And what would you highlight as<br />

the most important recommendations of the<br />

due diligence reports published by the <strong>IM</strong>C?<br />

JS: There is a dire need for more uniform application of due diligence across<br />

the industry. We all know there are certain programmes that are doing a lot in<br />

terms of vetting; but there are also numerous ones that do little to nothing. In<br />

my personal view, these issues are exasperated by the sheer lack of transparency<br />

amongst many programmes, especially residency-by-investment programmes.<br />

All programmes should be transparent about the level of due diligence they<br />

undertake and how the results are used to make informed decisions. Until<br />

this happens, critics will continue to assume no due diligence is done.<br />

For the first time, the two reports started to define the roles and<br />

responsibilities of agents, government programmes, and third party due<br />

diligence providers in safeguarding the integrity of our industry. This is<br />

critical because we have traditionally assumed the responsibility of due<br />

diligence sits only with the government programmes, but there are other<br />

gatekeepers along the way, like agents, who can weed out bad actors from<br />

the very beginning through standard know-your-customer (KYC) checks.<br />

SW: To me, the most important takeaways from this project and resulting<br />

publications are the need for increased transparency, the need for clarity<br />

of roles and the need for practical solutions. It’s important that data and<br />

facts-based information is provided to external stakeholders so that they<br />

can comprehensively understand what the due diligence processes within<br />

some CIUs are. In terms of the clarification of roles, we need to understand<br />

that while the application approval responsibility lies with the governments,<br />

each of the stakeholders engaged in the process carries responsibility for<br />

managing financial crime risk exposure. It’s the first time these various roles<br />

have been clarified in the sector. The second report provides a very tangible,<br />

practical set of tools and recommendations, making it much easier to build<br />

the risk management process or review and improve an existing one.<br />

LA: The central theme of the two reports is the necessity of uniform<br />

minimum due diligence standards for both government programmes<br />

and agents. Uniform standards, coupled with strong governance and<br />

transparency into the measures being taken, will lead to a more secure<br />

industry, a more even playing field for industry participants, and will<br />

significantly contribute to the industry’s perception and reputation issues.<br />

The reports provide detailed guidance for minimum due diligence<br />

standards, including five-step processes for both government programmes<br />

and agents. While government programmes are the ultimate decisionmakers,<br />

the suggested added level of responsibility and involvement<br />

for agents is a further sign of the industry’s desire to implement strong<br />

governance and oversight. Although implementation and regulation of<br />

the standards outlined in the two reports remain the subject of further<br />

debate, the reports are a significant and cohesive step in the right direction,<br />

and the first of its kind within our industry and across providers.<br />

We have traditionally assumed<br />

the responsibility of due diligence<br />

sits only with the government<br />

programmes, but there are other<br />

gatekeepers along the way, like agents,<br />

who can weed out bad actors from<br />

the very beginning through standard<br />

know-your-customer (KYC) checks.<br />

James Swenson<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 77

The reports argue that both RBI and CBI programmes<br />

should implement the same due diligence standards<br />

based on a five-step process. However, there is<br />

no supranational body regulating the investment<br />

migration industry, and it falls on governments to<br />

ensure that minimum standards are met. What are<br />

your thoughts and opinions on this matter? Will we<br />

see greater harmonisation in the years ahead?<br />

JS: While there may not be a supranational body regulating the industry, there have<br />

been some significant developments regulating how “golden visa” applicants should<br />

be treated. The 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive stipulates “Golden Visa”<br />

applicants should be classified as “high risk” which in turn, requires enhanced due<br />

diligence. This is an important step in institutionalising the level of due diligence<br />

that needs to be applied. But ultimately, what would really move the needle is<br />

industry self-regulation. We should use the recent scrutiny on the industry to selfpromote<br />

the importance of uniform application of due diligence across agents and<br />

governments. We will only address the criticism through standardization, otherwise<br />

lax controls in certain programmes will adversely affect the whole industry.<br />

SW: The agents and banks processing the application payments and opening<br />

applicants’ accounts in many jurisdictions already need to follow Anti-Bribery and<br />

Corruption (ABC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations and apply the<br />

verification procedures under their Know-Your-Customer (KYC) policies. These,<br />

however, vary from one jurisdiction to another and so cannot be fully relied upon<br />

by the investment migration sector. Because of the legal implications of citizenship<br />

or residency status as independent state matters, the industry needs to rely on<br />

standards driven by associations such as <strong>IM</strong>C. The lack of supra-national oversight<br />

is somehow replaced in the sector by the scrutiny and attention that the press, NGOs<br />

and civil society give. This, in turn, drives an increased reputational and political<br />

risk for those governments who do not adhere to risk management best practices.<br />

EL: The programmes with which we work all demand a high level of documentation<br />

and substantial paperwork to support the application process. We apply the same<br />

degree of due diligence to all CIUs and pride ourselves in our professionalism and high<br />

standards. There is scope to introduce a minimum standard across the board, but the<br />

responsibility also lies with the due diligence provider to highlight any areas lacking that<br />

will result in ineffective due diligence, on a case by case basis. Technology could offer<br />

some effective solutions to harmonise some areas, including standardising forms and<br />

templates and allowing for digital IDs and security features to be built in at an early stage.<br />

The lack<br />

of supranational<br />

oversight is<br />

somehow<br />

replaced in the<br />

sector by the<br />

scrutiny and<br />

attention that the<br />

press, NGOs and<br />

civil society give.<br />

Silvia Wolos<br />

LA: Regulation of minimum due diligence standards, both at the agent and<br />

government levels, remains a challenge and topic for further discussion. At the<br />

agent level, similar to the banking industry, there is the possibility of implementing<br />

measures such as fines and/or bans, but without an industry-specific regulatory agency,<br />

infractions are difficult to investigate, and enforcement is seemingly impossible.<br />

The question of enforcement and regulation becomes significantly more difficult<br />

at the government level, as the autonomy and decision-making ability of the nation<br />

states is an undeniable factor. Industry regulation and compliance is ultimately<br />

possible, but it is going to take further exploration and solution-seeking.<br />

Ultimately though, the agents and government programmes that choose to<br />

subscribe to the minimum standards outlined in the reports will also hopefully follow<br />

guidance from the reports around increased levels of transparency, which serves to<br />

better the security and reputation of the industry. Regardless of the regulation in<br />

place, all stakeholders in this industry have a vetted interest in its continuation and<br />

success, and it is our desire that these reports serve as a catalyst for industry progress.<br />

78<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

There is scope to introduce a minimum standard<br />

across the board, but the responsibility<br />

also lies with the due diligence provider<br />

to highlight any areas lacking that will result in<br />

ineffective due diligence, on a case by case basis.<br />

Eddy Leviten<br />

How has the covid-19 pandemic affected<br />

due diligence operations and particularly<br />

your ability to verify information?<br />

EL: We had planned ahead to ensure our business was resilient and we<br />

migrated our staff to home working with no disruption to our clients.<br />

In respect of our verification processes we did encounter some delays to<br />

checks in-country, where government offices were closed and where travel<br />

restrictions impacted on checks made on properties and locations in certain<br />

territories. However, we have not had to curtail nor change the way we verify<br />

information and have been able to continue to deliver reports to clients<br />

within acceptable timescales. Inevitably, also, given the political and social<br />

instability within some of the territories in which we conduct verification<br />

we are constantly adapting our processes to ensure we can deliver the most<br />

effective results for clients without compromising the accuracy of reports.<br />

SW: Early on Refinitiv decided to move the entire company to a<br />

virtual office environment before lockdowns were mandated by many<br />

governments. We’re also fortunate to have robust and flexible technology.<br />

We had upgraded our suite of collaboration and communication<br />

tools recently, meaning we had access to teamwork applications,<br />

and the transition to virtual office was relatively easy for us. As for<br />

data retrieval and verification of information, of course, we observed<br />

some delays in the retrieval of information from official sources in<br />

countries with lockdown measures, especially those with less advanced<br />

digitised databases. When it comes to local human intelligence, since<br />

most of the industry source queries are within our existing network,<br />

it has been possible to maintain a high rate of on-time delivery, as<br />

telephone interviews replaced face-to-face meetings partially.<br />

LA: Covid-19 has had an impact on industry operations around the world,<br />

and the due diligence industry is no exception. Proper due diligence is<br />

comprised of information garnered from public and proprietary data<br />

sources, as well as local, in-country intelligence, comprised of human<br />

source information, manual records searches, and in-person access to<br />

official government ministries. In this way, much of our most valuable<br />

intelligence was at the mercy of jurisdictional regulations and restrictions.<br />

As Covid-19 intensified, most jurisdictions closed nonessential<br />

businesses, implemented lockdown mandates and<br />

banned public gatherings. These initial measures undoubtedly<br />

impacted, and in certain cases temporarily halted, aspects of our<br />

due diligence process, most significantly in the verification of<br />

documents and credentials, reputational inquiries and site visits;<br />

all of the areas requiring in-person interaction and contact.<br />

Fortunately for due diligence operations, most countries experienced<br />

some degree of lockdown measures at the same time, and only for a short<br />

period of time, during which we all—providers and clients alike—took a<br />

bit of a step back, got our new at-home worlds in order, and then resumed<br />

operations at a time when most of the essential aspects of our due diligence<br />

were able to proceed with some semblance of normalcy and without delay.<br />

JS: When the pandemic intensified, we internally transitioned to 100%<br />

remote work overnight across all of our locations. While working from<br />

home was a relatively new concept for most of our researchers, the transition<br />

has been remarkably seamless. Most digital sources have remained<br />

unaffected during the pandemic though some in-person and telephone<br />

verifications have been impacted by remote work. At the beginning of the<br />

pandemic, there were some delays due to government shutdowns, but we<br />

have recently seen a normalisation of lead times on most verifications.<br />

The coronavirus<br />

accelerated the adoption<br />

of digital technologies<br />

by most Citizenship by<br />

Investment Units (CIUs),<br />

which started to accept<br />

online applications and<br />

are requiring fewer<br />

documents to lodge<br />

applications and start the<br />

due diligence process.<br />

While this has made the<br />

application process easier<br />

for investors, do you have<br />

concerns from a due<br />

diligence perspective?<br />

JS: The due diligence process relies<br />

heavily on the review and verification<br />

of documentation provided by the<br />

applicants. As long as these are<br />

transmitted to the due diligence providers<br />

in a secure environment, there should<br />

be no concerns. In fact, if the pandemic<br />

has taught us anything, is that virtual<br />

environments can facilitate the process<br />

and potentially reduce the turnaround<br />

times without compromising<br />

the quality of the due diligence.<br />

SW: This pandemic indeed unlocked so<br />

many new opportunities people didn’t<br />

think of or were not bold enough to<br />

implement. We see a lot of innovation<br />

happening in the client onboarding<br />

processes—within the investment<br />

migration sector but also in the banking<br />

sector. The lower level of document<br />

requirements should, however, be<br />

balanced with a robust verification<br />

process and with independent opensource<br />

information collection. While<br />

some documents may not be critical,<br />

others—like those proving the legitimate<br />

origin of the applicant’s sources of<br />

wealth (SoW) and Sources of funds<br />

(SoF)—remain critical to ensure that<br />

CIUs do not accept illegitimate funds.<br />

Common sense and a risk-based approach<br />

need to be applied and adhered to<br />

in the application-vetting process.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 79

As enhanced data privacy<br />

restrictions are enacted<br />

in jurisdictions around the<br />

world, due diligence processes will<br />

have to adapt accordingly, and, in<br />

some jurisdictions, it will be necessary<br />

to find alternate legal methods of<br />

obtaining meaningful intelligence.<br />

Laura Austin<br />

LA: The changes implemented in light of Covid-<br />

19 showcase the adaptability of the CIUs, and<br />

in many ways are another great example of<br />

positive progress emerging from the pandemic.<br />

From a due diligence perspective, the more<br />

comprehensive information and documentation<br />

we have at the start of an investigation, the<br />

better and more comprehensive the output<br />

will be. However, this is in no way positing<br />

that comprehensive and high-quality due<br />

diligence cannot be conducted without the<br />

comprehensive set of required documents<br />

in hand. In reality, due diligence, when<br />

conducted properly, only partially relies on<br />

the documents and information reported,<br />

while equally relying on intelligence and<br />

information that was not disclosed.<br />

Additionally, it is worth noting that to<br />

date, we have not seen a significant number of<br />

files submitted to us with missing documents.<br />

Certain of the documents we have received<br />

have not been notarized, as notaries in many<br />

countries were not available during lockdown<br />

periods, but with the exception of a few<br />

jurisdictions, the lack of a notary stamp does<br />

not typically impact our ability to confirm the<br />

document with official in-country sources.<br />

There is rightfully a concern on some<br />

level about an impact to the due diligence<br />

process if, for example, a significant number of<br />

documents are absent at the time the diligence<br />

is initiated, but this has not been our experience<br />

to date, and we are confident that the CIUs<br />

will continue to apply adequate standards<br />

when it comes to the documents received and<br />

the initiation of the due diligence process.<br />

EL: We support the adoption of technology<br />

to assist both applicants and the CIUs.<br />

Whilst supplied documentation is, of course,<br />

fundamental to the process, it does not tell<br />

the full picture and our checks online and<br />

in-country enable corroboration of genuine<br />

information and discovery of false or<br />

misleading information. We work alongside<br />

the CIUs when conducting verification, and<br />

if a perceived issue or threat is identified,<br />

we would always liaise with the relevant<br />

CIU and request further documentation to<br />

alleviate concerns. As technology develops,<br />

we believe that the application process<br />

can be streamlined and, potentially, allow<br />

for verification to be more transparent.<br />

How do you expect the due diligence<br />

practice to develop in the next five years?<br />

SW: I think there will be further significant improvements<br />

in the process of risk assessment and lower-risk application<br />

vetting, driven by technology and automation. As more data<br />

becomes available in digital format and Machine Learning<br />

and Artificial Intelligence tools become smarter and more<br />

available to practitioners, the vetting process will become<br />

faster and more seamless, particularly for low-risk applicants.<br />

However, where the risks remain high—either because of lack<br />

of transparency, lack of documentation, remote location in highrisk<br />

perceived countries—local and human based intelligence<br />

will remain the sine qua non of effective due diligence.<br />

JS: Hopefully we will start to see a more uniform adoption of<br />

due diligence for agents and governments across the industry.<br />

This is especially critical for the Western European residency<br />

programmes that deal in high volumes but seemingly do very<br />

little due diligence. Ideally, these Golden Visa programmes<br />

would adopt the minimal due diligence standards outlined<br />

in the <strong>IM</strong>C-coordinated reports, publicly outline what level<br />

of vetting takes place at the applications stage and what<br />

risk-based approach is taken when making decisions.<br />

LA: Technology will continue to play a significant role in<br />

the evolution of the due diligence industry, both in internal<br />

process enhancements and end-user offerings. We expect<br />

significant advancements in internal technology solutions that<br />

allow for added efficiencies in record retrieval, analysis and<br />

reporting, leading to improved turnaround times, increases<br />

in capacity, and more sophisticated levels of risk-based<br />

analysis. For end-user solutions, we also expect enhancements<br />

to risk rating and post-investigation monitoring tools.<br />

External to enhancements from providers, the next five years<br />

promise to bring additional data privacy measures in a number<br />

of jurisdictions, including increased use of anonymization<br />

and pseudonymization in records. As enhanced data privacy<br />

restrictions are enacted in jurisdictions around the world,<br />

due diligence processes will have to adapt accordingly, and,<br />

in some jurisdictions, it will be necessary to find alternate<br />

legal methods of obtaining meaningful intelligence.<br />

EL: With ever greater scrutiny on programmes by the media and<br />

policymakers, it has become vital to ensure that every application<br />

has been checked and all sources verified. Digital passports<br />

and IDs will change the way we all verify our identities, both at<br />

home and when travelling. That will inevitably alter the way in<br />

which verification for citizenship takes place and should allow<br />

for better initial checking. We also support the <strong>IM</strong>C’s work to<br />

establish best practice in due diligence and that will help to allay<br />

the fears of some on the quality of citizenship granting.<br />

80<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

United Kingdom<br />

United States<br />

Turkey<br />

Malta<br />

Canada<br />

Portugal<br />

Montenegro<br />

Austria<br />

St. Kitts & Nevis<br />

St. Lucia<br />

Dominica<br />

Grenada<br />

U.A.E<br />

Greece<br />

Andorra<br />

Antigua<br />

Switzerland<br />

Vanuatu<br />

Australia<br />

Ireland<br />

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Real estate-linked investment migration programmes are a firm favourite among<br />

applicants; however, they do not always deliver the intended economic impact. The <strong>IM</strong><br />

<strong>Yearbook</strong> spoke with five industry experts about the appeal of the real estate route and<br />

what could be done to ensure that this investment option realises its full potential.<br />

The real estate sector has long been closely intertwined<br />

with the investment migration industry. Today, the large<br />

majority of residence- and citizenship-by-investment<br />

(RCBI) programmes offer a so-called real estate route, whereby<br />

the purchase of property is considered an eligible investment.<br />

Although property-based residency and citizenship programmes<br />

remain popular choices among investor migrants, industry<br />

experts say there is a need to better direct real estate inflows<br />

to avoid potential negative repercussions on the local real<br />

estate market and to ensure a wider economic impact.<br />

Real Estate Attraction<br />

“The real estate route is a well-tested option,” says Yiannos<br />

Trisokkas, Chairman of Henley & Partners Real Estate Committee<br />

and Director of Casamont, the real estate arm of Henley &<br />

Partners. It offers investors opportunities for income generation<br />

through leasing as well as a clear exit strategy, Trisokkas explains.<br />

However, especially in turbulent times, investors appreciate<br />

real estate investment as part of a long-term back-up plan, he<br />

says. “Without a doubt, after the Covid-19 experience, people<br />

will want to have a home in an alternative location as a backup<br />

in case we face similar situations.” Gaye Hechme, Managing<br />

Director of Island Living in Antigua and Barbuda, agrees.<br />

“With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are seeing a<br />

greater number of applicants looking to invest in property<br />

that gives them the option to live in a safe country, a place to<br />

reside should the need arise in today’s uncertain world.”<br />

Frederico Seixas of Investaureum says real estate is<br />

still the number one driver and vehicle for the investment<br />

migration industry. “Real estate has been for decades known<br />

as the most secure and solid investment when compared<br />

with other investments options such as government bonds.<br />

However, high-net-worth individuals do take advantage<br />

of these assets. Purchasing property is more than just<br />

fulfilling a government obligation. Properties are often<br />

used for family vacations, although many clients also<br />

appreciate the fact that real estate can be easily re-sold.”<br />

Christos Kotsaidis, CEO of Filia Investment, points<br />

to steadily rising real estate values in Greece. “Despite<br />

the Covid-19 pandemic, the real estate market in Greece<br />

keeps on a steady pace. There are many undervalued<br />

properties due to the country’s 10-year financial crisis that<br />

ended in 2019, which present an attractive investment<br />

opportunity. In my opinion, I won’t be surprised if we see<br />

an increase in property value of 15% to 20% in 20<strong>21</strong>.”<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 83

Economic Impact<br />

Economically, Seixas continues, real estate projects linked to<br />

investment migration can have an enormous impact. “These<br />

programmes often bring in important financial aid required<br />

to rehabilitate communities and entire city centres. Then<br />

there is the job-creation aspect. Here we need to look at both<br />

the job creation as part of the construction and development<br />

of a project, but when it comes to bigger projects, such as<br />

hotels, we also need to take into consideration the jobs that<br />

are created once these projects are up and running.”<br />

Trisokkas agrees saying that “these programmes can possibly<br />

provide a series of significant liquidity injections into an<br />

economy and create paths for strategic investments that assist<br />

with the modernisation and diversification of smaller nations’<br />

economies, creating a better life for their citizens”. Gaye<br />

Hechme highlights that real estate projects are also a source<br />

of government revenue creating income in the form of taxes,<br />

duties and fees related to the operations of the project.<br />

Unbalanced Growth<br />

Critics of real estate-linked investment migration options<br />

often argue that they can lead to one-sided economic<br />

growth and negatively affect the property market by<br />

pushing up prices so that housing becomes unaffordable<br />

for the local population with modest and middle-income<br />

levels. “This can happen,” says Seixas. “That’s why it’s<br />

very important that local authorities are very attentive<br />

in legislating appropriate bills in order to minimise this<br />

effect, although a higher demand will always impact<br />

the pricing of real estate no matter whether it’s related<br />

or unrelated to the investment migration,” he says.<br />

“If the country does not structure the real estate route<br />

correctly, then it might have a negative impact,” Trisokkas’<br />

admits. “There is definitely a greater need to structure<br />

long-term strategies for the real estate route so that local<br />

communities enjoy the benefits of these foreign direct<br />

investment inflows.” He believes countries should structure<br />

their programmes “in a way that motivates applicants to<br />

invest in less developed areas, for example away from the<br />

city centres or prime locations, so that these areas see a fresh<br />

injection of capital”. Moreover, he says, investment migration<br />

programmes have a vast potential and could further assist<br />

with the creation of a new branded touristic product and,<br />

at the same time, upgrade the existing infrastructure.<br />

For Cameron Fraser Antigua and Barbuda demonstrates<br />

that this strategy can work. “Antigua required from the<br />

start that all CBI real estate projects need to be within<br />

clearly defined development zones that have primarily<br />

been set aside for the development of hotel room stock.<br />

This policy has been successful and has seen a significant<br />

increase in the number of hotel beds in Antigua funded<br />

by CBI real estate investments. If this policy is maintained,<br />

we believe that some of the issues that have become<br />

apparent in other markets will be avoided,” he points out.<br />

84<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

BIOS<br />

Yiannos Trisokkas is the Managing<br />

Partner of Henley & Partners Cyprus<br />

and the Chairman of the firm’s Real<br />

Estate Committee. He is also a Director<br />

of Casamont Ltd, a real estate company<br />

which is part of the Henley & Partners<br />

Group. Casamont specialises in the<br />

acquisition and management of distressed<br />

assets and serves an international<br />

clientele interested in investments in real estate linked to<br />

residency-and citizenship-by-investment programmes.<br />

Within that context, Casamont offers comprehensive<br />

services, from buying and selling properties to after sales<br />

services including property management and rental.<br />

Frederico Seixas is the Sales &<br />

Marketing Director of Investaureum.<br />

He has 25 years of experience in the<br />

real estate sector, of which seven are<br />

directly with the investment migration<br />

industry. The Investaureum Group is<br />

a Portuguese Real Estate Investment<br />

Group, specialised in Prime/Unique<br />

Real Estate Chartered/Heritage<br />

investments that are eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa<br />

programme. Investaureum has been launching prime<br />

real estate development projects, mainly located in<br />

Lisbon, Porto, Alentejo the Douro Region and Algarve.<br />

Unrealised Opportunities<br />

Both Trisokkas and Seixas are convinced that real estate<br />

will continue to play an important role in the investment<br />

migration industry going forward. However, they acknowledge<br />

that programmes are today offering a wider variety of<br />

investment options, including investment in alternative<br />

funds and start-up companies. They believe that offering<br />

clients many different options is a positive development<br />

for the industry, however, it will not challenge real estate’s<br />

status as preferred route for investment migration.<br />

Kotsaidis points out that global investors are becoming more<br />

and more aware of the Greek market. “They have acquired a lot<br />

of experience of the Greek real estate, and they know what to ask<br />

for. In my opinion, agents and the developers need to recognize<br />

that and help clients in a more efficient and transparent ways.”<br />

According to Trisokkas, governments should pay more attention<br />

to the benefits that real estate-linked investment programmes offer<br />

and develop long-term strategies that would help them to better<br />

manage and direct the flow of capital. “It doesn’t always have to be<br />

residential property. Investor funds could also be channelled into<br />

touristic, agricultural and industrial projects, for example.” Seixas<br />

also foresees a positive evolution of the real estate route, which<br />

will be closer linked to the development of a country’s economy,<br />

for instance through investment in essential infrastructure such<br />

as hospitals, universities and student accommodation. Policies<br />

and regulations that take these elements into consideration would<br />

help this investment option to fully realise its true potential.<br />

Christos Kotsaidis started his<br />

career in the shipping industry. With a<br />

decade’s service in one of the largest<br />

commercial shipping companies, he<br />

gained profound knowledge of business<br />

and then joined the energy sector as<br />

the Commercial Director of a Greek<br />

electricity company. Christos Kotsaidis<br />

is now the CEO of Filia Investment,<br />

which is currently constructing a luxury<br />

complex on the island of Crete in Greece.<br />

Gaye Hechme is the owner and<br />

Managing Director of Island Living, one<br />

of Antigua and Barbuda’s leading luxury<br />

real estate companies, and Island Living<br />

Investment Services Ltd, a corporate<br />

service provider authorised to facilitate<br />

and process applications for the Antigua<br />

and Barbuda citizenship-by-investment<br />

programme (CIP). She held a number<br />

of senior management positions in both the private and<br />

public sectors, primarily in inward investment and in the<br />

acquisition, management and development of tourism<br />

related residential and commercial real estate developments.<br />

Cameron Fraser immigrated to Antigua<br />

and Barbuda in 1967 and attended school<br />

in both Antigua and Scotland. He’s been<br />

involved with the expansion development<br />

of Historic Redcliffe Quay, the development<br />

and expansion of Cruise Tourism in Antigua<br />

and Barbuda. Since 2004 to date, he has<br />

been involved in the development and<br />

management of Nonsuch Bay Resort as a<br />

shareholder. He is currently a Director of Antigua Pier Group<br />

Limited, a Director and shareholder of Coconut Beach Club,<br />

a Director of key Properties Limited and Vice President of<br />

the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Tourism Association.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 85

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Residency- and citizenship-by-investment (RCBI) programmes have to meet the challenge of not<br />

only weeding out unsuitable applicants at the time of application, but also identifying those who<br />

could bring disrepute after they go through the application process and receive approval. Meeting<br />

this challenge involves employing a multi-pronged approach of enhanced due diligence along with<br />

real-time, ongoing monitoring, writes Karen Kelly, Exiger’s Director of Strategy and Development.<br />

The need for thorough, professional,<br />

enhanced due diligence on<br />

applicants to RCBI programmes<br />

is a standard highlighted regularly by<br />

industry advocates and programmes<br />

themselves. The risks of not implementing<br />

a comprehensive due diligence process<br />

have become evident in cases where<br />

applicants with ties to criminal activity<br />

and corruption have been named publicly<br />

and programmes were subsequently<br />

forced to re-examine their procedures and<br />

consider options for revoking citizenship<br />

or residency. However, even programmes<br />

with otherwise robust due diligence<br />

processes can be caught unaware by<br />

serious events that impact an approved<br />

applicant after an approval is granted.<br />

Applicants can and do experience<br />

material changes to their circumstances<br />

in the months or years following their<br />

approval. External factors, such as<br />

sanctions programmes that target new<br />

jurisdictions or sectors, would be near<br />

impossible for an RCBI programme to<br />

predict. Likewise, yet to be announced<br />

investigations against applicants or<br />

future suspect business dealings present<br />

a challenge when due diligence can only<br />

reasonably (and realistically) examine what<br />

has already transpired or is in progress.<br />

Red Flags<br />

By monitoring subjects through a<br />

technology platform for adverse<br />

developments in the months and years<br />

after initial due diligence, one observes<br />

that sometimes smaller red flags can<br />

precipitate more serious adverse<br />

findings in the future. Such red flags may<br />

include pending litigation, judgments,<br />

investigations, or regulatory actions<br />

against a subject or their businesses.<br />

The following examples are relevant to<br />

the investment migration industry:<br />

u A retired state official with a high<br />

net worth that far exceeds reported<br />

income and investments. Media<br />

outlets report an investigation into<br />

his financial activities has started,<br />

but law enforcement cannot confirm<br />

or deny such rumours at the time<br />

of due diligence. Five months later,<br />

the individual is charged with<br />

financial crimes and detained.<br />

u A business owner who heads a group<br />

of companies had a recent falling out<br />

with his companies’ shareholders and<br />

left his position as a result of related<br />

litigation, which has not yet progressed<br />

through the courts. He is later charged<br />

with multiple violations of local Anti-<br />

Money-Laundering and Anti-Terrorism<br />

Financing regulations and is already<br />

thought to have fled the jurisdiction.<br />

u Individuals with large personal or<br />

business debts due or judgments<br />

rendered around the time of<br />

application, already residing in a<br />

new jurisdiction in anticipation<br />

of avoiding payment.<br />

u Individuals whose political exposure<br />

and relationships have changed<br />

over time as new government<br />

officials take office, or as they<br />

enter new roles and industries.<br />

RCBI programmes make decisions<br />

regarding prospective applicants based on<br />

the information available at the time of<br />

the application. Holding off on decisions<br />

where an applicant is involved in an active<br />

legal case that could have a serious impact<br />

on the applicant’s reputational, legal, or<br />

financial standing can mitigate the risk of<br />

pending outcomes. But in cases without<br />

black and white findings, programmes<br />

assess the risks using the information at<br />

hand and make decisions accordingly.<br />

A Proactive Response<br />

Ongoing, real-time monitoring of<br />

applicants, after the initial due diligence<br />

report has been delivered, is fast becoming<br />

a standard tool for an RCBI programme<br />

to ensure it is alerted should serious<br />

findings come up after an applicant is<br />

processed. It is in a position to proactively<br />

respond, rather than scrambling to react<br />

to media reports and public pressure.<br />

Ongoing monitoring also presents a<br />

learning opportunity when applied<br />

to applicants that were not accepted<br />

or are still being considered, as it can<br />

validate the programme’s risk assessment<br />

framework and identify patterns to<br />

look out for in future applications.<br />

Monitoring across an applicant<br />

population does not need to be a heavy lift<br />

for a programme. Artificial intelligencepowered<br />

monitoring can scan thousands<br />

of sources in multiple languages in real<br />

time, eliminating false positives, and<br />

continuously refining an applicant’s<br />

risk profile. The right technology can<br />

be leveraged to scan for specific types<br />

of events and red flags for which a<br />

programme wants alerts, such as ties to<br />

sanctions or criminal proceedings. RCBI<br />

programmes that add technology-enabled<br />

monitoring to their toolbox for assessing<br />

applicants, and that are transparent<br />

about its implementation, have an added<br />

deterrent against bad actors. A combined<br />

approach of third-party due diligence<br />

and ongoing monitoring makes it more<br />

difficult for those looking to escape<br />

future consequences and strengthens a<br />

programme’s reputation for accepting<br />

only the highest-calibre individuals.<br />

Karen Kelly is Director of<br />

BIO Strategy & Development for<br />

Exiger Diligence, focusing<br />

on the Immigration, Citizenship,<br />

and Visa (ICV) Practice. She<br />

has 12 years’ experience that<br />

includes managing due diligence<br />

services for residence- and<br />

citizenship-by-investment (RCBI)<br />

programmes, financial institutions,<br />

and corporations, and developing<br />

specialised due diligence<br />

training programmes. She also<br />

participated in a large-scale RCBI<br />

programme review focusing<br />

on policies and procedures,<br />

workflow, operational support,<br />

and system implementation.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 89



CHECKS<br />


Trust and confidence matter more<br />

than ever in a world turned upside<br />

down by the pandemic. As the world<br />

struggles to find a way out of the current<br />

crisis, there is much that can be learned from<br />

what happened in the run-up to Covid-19<br />

taking hold and in the subsequent reaction<br />

of governments businesses and individuals.<br />

Investment migration provides opportunities<br />

for individuals and their families to change<br />

their lives for the better and for governments to<br />

benefit from investment to improve the lives of<br />

their citizens and future citizens. However, as we<br />

know, it is vital that those applying for citizenship<br />

through approved schemes are properly vetted<br />

and verified to ensure they pose no risk to the<br />

country to which they are applying for citizenship<br />

nor to the countries to which they might travel in<br />

the future using their newly acquired passports.<br />

Complete Verification<br />

Independent third-party due diligence is the<br />

cornerstone of any citizenship programme<br />

and numerous checks are required to verify<br />

identity, location, property, financial interests and<br />

personal information. Whilst some of this can be<br />

verified through online checks, the only means<br />

of carrying out a complete verification is through<br />

in-country checks; visits to confirm addresses<br />

and businesses and visits to local record offices<br />

to check documents. This is particularly vital in<br />

countries where digital records are non-existent<br />

or where physical documents may be unreliable.<br />

<strong>2020</strong> has so far proved to be a challenging<br />

year; for CBI and RBI programmes, for<br />

applicants and for due diligence providers.<br />

Lockdowns and restrictions on movement,<br />

combined with the closure of government<br />

offices, have slowed down the ability to apply,<br />

process and verify. In the case of verification,<br />

this has meant having to review on a daily basis<br />

the situation in specific regions or countries<br />

to assess the ability to obtain information, to<br />

manage risks to agents and applicants and<br />

to ensure that verification can be completed<br />

satisfactorily. This may not always be easy<br />

but communication with clients is crucial, as<br />

is utilising a variety of methods to assess the<br />

veracity of documents whilst maintaining<br />

the highest standards of due diligence.<br />

Ensuring Accuracy<br />

Online resources can certainly offer some<br />

solutions, but it is only through oversight by<br />

experienced researchers and analysts that a<br />

full picture of an applicant’s good standing<br />

can be obtained and communicated to the<br />

client. Whilst the overwhelming majority of<br />

applicants to programmes are acting in good<br />

faith and are not seeking to mislead or provide<br />

fraudulent information, it is well documented<br />

that there are some who may seek to use CBI<br />

and RBI programmes as a cover for criminally<br />

obtained wealth. A global pandemic may<br />

also have given some the mistaken belief that<br />

they can avoid detection during applications<br />

if they think that less checks can be made.<br />

In-country checks on residential and business<br />

locations, finances and assets, and criminal<br />

and civil records form the backbone of a<br />

complete due diligence process, and, by and<br />

large, these have all continued to be carried<br />

out during <strong>2020</strong>, though with some delays.<br />

Detailed local knowledge should ensure<br />

that, where there are intermittent interruptions<br />

to travel, these can be overcome by alternative<br />

means of verification or by referring back<br />

to an analyst who can add their skills to the<br />

mix. Identifying unusual behaviours or issues<br />

with documentation requires sometimes<br />

detailed understanding of cultural, political<br />

and hyperlocal influences that need to be<br />

reflected in the checks made in country<br />

and online and then reported back to the<br />

client in interim and final report stages.<br />

That may also require a delay to standard<br />

reporting timelines to ensure accuracy and<br />

that all checks have been carried out.<br />

On top of the ongoing need to ensure<br />

that no shortcuts are taken in the due<br />

diligence process, recent negative media<br />

reports around some schemes mean that<br />

due diligence is in the spotlight more than<br />

ever. The Investment Migration Council’s<br />

recommendations for best practice are to be<br />

welcomed, yet it is vital that the investment<br />

migration sector as a whole takes on board<br />

and supports these measures. Pandemic or<br />

not, there can be no cutting of corners in<br />

any part of the verification process.<br />

Pandemic<br />

or not,<br />

there can<br />

be no cutting of<br />

corners in any part<br />

of the verification<br />

process<br />

Eddy Leviten<br />

BIO is FACT’s Chief<br />

Operating Officer,<br />

managing all aspects of<br />

FACT’s business. He has<br />

over 30 years’ experience<br />

in the creative industries,<br />

retail, enforcement and<br />

policy and was previously<br />

Director General at the<br />

Alliance for Intellectual<br />

Property where he drove<br />

policy across a range<br />

of IP-related issues.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 91

Lagos, Nigeria<br />

C-suite Insight<br />



Henley & Partners is one of the largest companies in the<br />

investment migration industry. The <strong>IM</strong> <strong>Yearbook</strong> reached out to<br />

the firm’s c-suite executives and country managers to find out<br />

how they view developments in the firm’s most important markets<br />

and what they think of the current state of the industry.<br />

It is safe to say that most businesses didn’t<br />

factor a global pandemic into their <strong>2020</strong><br />

plans, budgets and predictions. Neither<br />

did Henley & Partners. “No one could have<br />

anticipated the tumult of <strong>2020</strong> owing to Covid-<br />

19,” says Dr Juerg Steffen, the firm’s CEO.<br />

While at the onset of the pandemic, the firm<br />

experienced a slowdown from an operational Dr Juerg Steffen<br />

perspective, Steffen is convinced that Henley<br />

& Partners, along with the entire investment migration industry,<br />

will emerge stronger from the Covid-19 crisis. “There has been a<br />

steady increase in interest in our services over the last few years,<br />

and we are looking forward to a record-breaking 20<strong>21</strong>,” he says.<br />

Coronavirus Impact<br />

The great lockdown, border closures and travel restrictions<br />

have given scenario planning a whole new meaning. The<br />

Covid-19 reality, Steffen explains, has affected clients who<br />

were required but not able to travel to host countries to<br />

proceed with their applications. This delayed applications<br />

that were in process. “However, the various countries that run<br />

investment migration programmes have been quick to adapt<br />

to the current conditions, and we are now seeing smoother<br />

application processes, greatly enhanced by technology.”<br />

COO Stefan Kraus says Henley & Partners itself benefited<br />

from pre-Covid-19 investment in digital platforms. “We have<br />

invested considerable amounts of time, resources and effort<br />

in developing digital solutions for both private clients and<br />

governments, ranging from self-service application portals to<br />

internal application management systems for governments.”<br />

He is certain that many of the digital advances adopted<br />

during the lockdown, such as digital application processing<br />

and verifications, will become standard procedures.<br />

Booming Business<br />

Meanwhile, Covid-19 has greatly increased<br />

demand for investment migration. “We saw<br />

a 49% increase in demand for our services<br />

between January and June <strong>2020</strong> compared to<br />

the same period in 2019,” the CEO comments.<br />

Stefan Kraus adds that demand has increased<br />

once again at the beginning of Q3 <strong>2020</strong>. “In<br />

August alone, we had double the number of Stefan Kraus<br />

signed-up clients than in previous months.”<br />

According to Kraus, the world’s wealthy today consider investment<br />

migration as more than just a ‘nice to have’ but rather as a<br />

safeguard against political strife, economic turmoil and, as a more<br />

recent addition, healthcare crises, which all have the possibility of<br />

endangering the wellbeing and future prospects of their families.<br />

“We typically tend to see increased levels of activity<br />

in countries and regions whenever there is turbulence or<br />

political unrest,” says Steffen. He points to other volatile<br />

92<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

Beijing, China<br />

“Wealth creation is<br />

growing at a far faster rate<br />

than the slow-moving<br />

diplomatic engagement that<br />

creates visa-free travel, and we<br />

predict this growth to continue<br />

further in the wake of Covid-19”<br />

Juerg Steffen - CEO, Henley & Partners<br />


situations in 2019 that contributed to dramatic spikes in<br />

interest and enquiries for alternate residence or citizenship<br />

such as the political unrest in Hong Kong, Brazil’s economic<br />

and political crises, Britain’s impending exit from the EU, US-<br />

China trade tensions, Australia’s bush fires, and mounting<br />

concerns over democracy and good governance in the US.<br />

Shifting Criteria<br />

Although political and environmental<br />

risk generally generate interest in the<br />

firm’s services, Dominic Volek, Henley &<br />

Partners’ Group Head of Private Clients,<br />

highlights that the events of <strong>2020</strong> have seen<br />

clients’ objectives and motives shifting.<br />

“While in the past, wealthy clients<br />

Dominic Volek<br />

sought to establish an alternative<br />

citizenship or residence in countries that provided best<br />

access, resources and opportunities, now some of them<br />

are considering a country’s coronavirus response and<br />

pandemic preparedness in general among other criteria.”<br />

This means it’s not business as usual for the investment<br />

migration industry. “We are witnessing the emergence of a<br />

new global hierarchy in terms of mobility, with countries<br />

that have effectively managed the pandemic taking the lead,<br />

and countries that have handled it poorly falling behind,”<br />

says Steffen. The firm is recording a surge in interest from<br />

citizens of advanced economies, including a 324% increase<br />

in enquiries from US citizens between January and October<br />

<strong>2020</strong> compared to the same period in 2019. Pre-Covid-19, the<br />

US passport usually ranked within the top 10 of the Henley<br />

Passport Index, with its citizens able to access 185 destinations<br />

around the world visa-free. “However, during the height of the<br />

pandemic, the number of countries Americans could access<br />

without a prior visa dropped dramatically by over 100, with<br />

US passport holders able to access fewer than 75 destinations,<br />

with the most popular tourist and business centres notably<br />

excluded,” says Volek. For Steffen, the marked increase in US<br />

investors looking to diversify out of purely American portfolios<br />

and considering international options is an exciting new<br />

development. Plus, this trend is reinforced by the significantly<br />

greater interest shown by Canadians and UK citizens.<br />

Despite the remarkable interest experienced from Western<br />

economies, Henley & Partners’ focus remains firmly on<br />

countries that are seeing rapid rates of wealth growth such as<br />

Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the UAE, and Vietnam.<br />

“Wealth creation is growing at a far faster rate than the slowmoving<br />

diplomatic engagement that creates visa-free travel,<br />

and we predict this growth to continue further in the wake of<br />

Covid-19,” says Steffen. To service new, emerging markets, Henley<br />

& Partners opened new offices in India and Nigeria in <strong>2020</strong>.<br />

Interest from India<br />

Henley & Partners has long been operating<br />

in India via its regional head office in<br />

Singapore and has seen constant growth<br />

in the market for the past few years. The<br />

decision to open offices on the ground, in<br />

Delhi and Mumbai, resulted in a strong<br />

increase in enquiries this year. “From January<br />

Nirbhay Handa<br />

to October <strong>2020</strong>, there was an 81% increase<br />

in India enquiries compared to the same period last year.<br />

Admittedly, Covid-19 has slowed down the actual execution and<br />

processing of applications, but interest and enquiries are at an<br />

all-time high,” says Nirbhay Handa, Head of the India Office.<br />

Due to the slower development of Indian geopolitical,<br />

diplomatic and trade relationships, Handa explains,<br />

many Indians might be extremely wealthy, yet they face<br />

restrictive global immigration policies. Indians are able<br />

to visit only 58 destinations without obtaining a visa prior<br />

to arrival. RBI options are most attractive to Indians as<br />

India does not allow dual citizenship, unless they opt<br />

for the Overseas Citizen of India option, an immigration<br />

status permitting a foreign citizen of Indian origin to<br />

live and work in the Republic of India indefinitely.<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong> 93

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam<br />

Nigeria: Window to West Africa<br />

Henley & Partners’ office in Nigeria opened<br />

its doors in May <strong>2020</strong> and is headed by<br />

Stuart Wakeling. Thus far the vast majority<br />

of interest is coming from Nigerians, but the<br />

idea is that Nigeria will serve as the Group’s<br />

West Africa hub. “Because of the uncertain Stuart Wakeling<br />

outlook for the Nigerian economy, which has<br />

been exacerbated by Covid-19 and civil unrest in <strong>2020</strong>, Nigerian<br />

clients are predominantly seeking alternative citizenship options<br />

to secure their wealth and their families’ future,” says Wakeling.<br />

According to him, there is currently significant interest in the<br />

Caribbean CBI programmes as for Nigerian high-net-worth<br />

individuals these programmes are the most cost-effective<br />

way to achieve global access, plan-b alternatives, investment<br />

diversification and advantageous opportunities for their families.<br />

China: A Competitive Market<br />

Denise Ng is the Head of Henley & Partners’<br />

Hong Kong office and responsible for the<br />

firm’s North Asian business, which also covers<br />

China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.<br />

However, the majority of clients are Chinese<br />

nationals, and the firm also has a presence<br />

in Guangzhou, China, while a representative<br />

office in China’s capital, Beijing, is due to Denise Ng<br />

open in late <strong>2020</strong>. “Competition is very<br />

fierce in China, with over 20,000 immigration agencies,” says<br />

Ng. The agencies offer very competitive pricing and include<br />

flexi-options and ‘after sale’ services such as assistance with<br />

opening of bank accounts. While real estate-linked investment<br />

migration options are favoured by many Hong Kong and Chinese<br />

clients, Ng reports that in recent years clients have also been<br />

looking more carefully at investment risk, exit strategy, resale<br />

market, and rental yield. Hence, Ng explains, the firm is seeing<br />

a small percentage of clients enquiring about security options<br />

and investment funds. However, it is paramount that these are<br />

well-structured, organised, clear and transparent, with processes<br />

that are uncomplicated and that include an exit strategy. The<br />

Chinese market still holds great potential for Henley & Partners,<br />

especially since investment migration has become popular among<br />

China’s middle class too due to the growing number of residence<br />

programmes with relatively low investment requirements.<br />

Vietnam: Rapid Growth<br />

In 2019, Vietnam accounted for 20% of Henley & Partners’<br />

business in Southeast Asia. “The pool of wealthy people in<br />

Vietnam is expanding rapidly, and this segment of society cares<br />

about global travel and welfare policies. As a firm, we consider<br />

Vietnam to be a fertile market for growth, similarly to India and<br />

Nigeria,” says Alexis Tan, Senior Manager of<br />

Henley & Partners Vietnam. Travel freedom,<br />

rather than relocation, is a main motivation<br />

for many of her clients, which is why they are<br />

keen on CBI programmes that provide them<br />

with more powerful travel documents. If they<br />

do have plans to relocate, Tan explains, they<br />

eye the more traditional RBI options such Alexis Tan<br />

as Australia, Canada and the US, although<br />

there is a long waitlist for the latter. “Interestingly, in the last<br />

year we’ve also been seeing a growing trend of Vietnamese<br />

high-net-worth individuals enquiring about residence options<br />

in Europe, namely Portugal, Switzerland, Malta and Austria.”<br />

Tan’s typical clients are successful businesspeople between<br />

the ages of 40 and 60, but she also sees younger entrepreneurs<br />

who have succeeded early in life. She notes that today plenty of<br />

the world’s wealthy are young, astute entrepreneurs interested in<br />

increasingly varied and sophisticated investment options. “It’s only<br />

fitting that we see many countries adapting their programmes<br />

to suit the new global citizen. For example, in Singapore the<br />

Global Investor Program introduced some changes earlier this<br />

year to include a new category of applicant – next-gen business<br />

owners – and a refined family office investment option.”<br />

A Maturing Industry<br />

In tandem with its clients, the investment migration industry<br />

has matured significantly, which has made it easier to recruit<br />

individuals to join the industry. “In the past, it was more<br />

challenging because the industry wasn’t very well-known,”<br />

says COO Kraus. Nonetheless, other challenges remain such as<br />

scepticism towards investment migration as well as the lack of<br />

regulation. “We are painfully aware that at times industry players<br />

do not adhere to the best practice or corporate governance that<br />

are in place.” Kraus points to some smaller players undercutting<br />

on price because they cut corners on due diligence.<br />

Where Do We Really Want to Live?<br />

Henley & Partners, likes others in the industry, is predicting<br />

a surge in demand for investment migration products in the<br />

aftermath of Covid-19 as more states seek to tap into their unique<br />

ability to expand their “sovereign equity by increasing the<br />

number of citizens who actively contribute to the country’s future<br />

well-being,” says Steffen. The firm wants to maintain a strong<br />

presence in its existing markets while growing its footprint in<br />

its new markets in Africa, India and South America. However,<br />

where do people really want to live in the post-Covid-19 era?<br />

“As the curtain lifts,” says the CEO, “people will seek to move<br />

from poorly governed and ill-prepared places to more proactive<br />

countries with greater resilience and better standards of medical<br />

care.” This heightened level of awareness in terms of health and<br />

security, he anticipates, will continue for the foreseeable future.<br />

94<br />

Investment Migration <strong>Yearbook</strong> 2O2O/2O<strong>21</strong>

“Wherever I go, I want to be a change-maker”<br />

A direct solution for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking UK residency.<br />

As the United Kingdom exits the European Union, there<br />

has never been a better time for ambitious changemakers<br />

to participate in the country’s rebirth as a new<br />

Global Britain.<br />

The UK Innovator visa offers a stress-free route for<br />

international entrepreneurs to obtain UK residency and<br />

a pathway to citizenship. The InvestUK Group has<br />

successfully managed over 300 cases, helping clients<br />

from over 34 countries to start the next chapter of their<br />

life in the United Kingdom.<br />

Applicants share their innovative, viable and scalable<br />

ideas with InvestUK, who advise on how best to localise<br />

their plan for the UK market, provide support with<br />

market analysis, introduce to a local co-founder and<br />

document their ambitions with a detailed business plan.<br />

When they are ready, clients are introduced to an<br />

authorised endorsing body prior to recommendation to<br />

the Home Office for grant of Entry Clearance. This could<br />

be Innovate in Britain (www.innovateinbritain.com), an<br />

endorsing body organisation within the InvestUK Group.<br />

Innovate in Britain will review the client’s application and<br />

if approved, support their business across the duration<br />

of their three-year period to UK settlement.<br />

InvestUK attracts professionals from all sectors with a<br />

wide range of business experience and expertise. This<br />

diversity is a huge strength, stimulating conversations,<br />

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creates an enriched experience for our participants and<br />

a foundation upon which we can build the UK’s future<br />

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Rupert Gather, Group Chief Executive<br />

+44 (0)20 7629 2522 / rupert.gather@investuk.com<br />

For more information visit www.investuk.com/change-makers<br />

© <strong>2020</strong> InvestUK (Group) Limited. All rights reserved.<br />

A part of


5 Questions with ANNA GRIGORIEVA, Managing Partner of AG ADVOCATES<br />



While Cyprus has suspended its citizenship-by-investment<br />

programme, the country continues to offer non-EU<br />

citizens the opportunity to become permanent residence.<br />

Anna Grigorieva outlines the main conditions.<br />

What’s the permanent residence<br />

permit and who’s eligible for it?<br />

The Cyprus permanence residency permit<br />

(PRP) is attractive to anyone wanting<br />

to invest in property and permanently<br />

reside in Cyprus but will not work in the<br />

country. This means applicants need<br />

to have an annual income of at least<br />

€30.000 from abroad, so that they don’t<br />

need to engage in any form of business,<br />

trade, profession or employment. An<br />

investment of at least €300,000 in a<br />

brand-new house or apartment in<br />

Cyprus is required to qualify for the<br />

Cyprus residency permit. In addition,<br />

the applicant must deposit a minimum<br />

capital of €30.000 into an account of a<br />

Bank in Cyprus, which shall be pledged<br />

for at least three years. The applicant<br />

must also prove that the funds come from<br />

abroad and from legitimate sources.<br />

How long does it take to<br />

obtain such a permit?<br />

It usually takes around two to three<br />

months from the submission of the<br />

application, but it depends a bit on<br />

the workload of the department.<br />

Typically, it takes a month or so to<br />

complete the property purchase and<br />

to collect all relevant documentation.<br />

It takes another two or three weeks<br />

to get an appointment to submit the<br />

application, and once submitted, the<br />

Civil Registry and Migration Department<br />

reserves the right to request additional<br />

information and/or documentation.<br />

Are investors required to live<br />

in Cyprus to maintain their<br />

permanent residence status?<br />

To maintain the permanent residence<br />

status, investors cannot be absent<br />

from Cyprus for more than two<br />

years. If they are, their permits will<br />

be automatically cancelled.<br />

Can you give us a brief introduction<br />

to AG ADVOCATES and tell<br />

us a bit about yourself?<br />

AG ADVOCATES is the distinctive<br />

name of Anna Grigorieva & Co. LLC,<br />

a reputable boutique law firm, which<br />

I founded in 2012. I am qualified to<br />

practice law in Russia and Cyprus and<br />