15 May 201848

Residency and citizenship by investments - 10 events that have altered the market last year

 If you are interested in immigration through the purchase of real estate, citizenship by real estate, as well as residency and citizenship by investments of another plan, you have come to the right place!

 How to prepare for what can be expected in advance? What is the best strategy for protecting and multiplying wealth in the light of your personal circumstances and your priorities? Our regular readers should be well aware of the answers to these questions.

 Quick and easy registration of alternative residency and citizenship by investments is the key to controlling your future and ensuring the welfare of your family. You and your relatives can issue new passports when investing in more than a dozen countries. And options are available for every taste and purse.

 Every year the industry of services for registration of residency and citizenship by investment is changing, being still quite young and rapidly developing. And last year has become particularly effective in this regard.

 After collecting and analysing detailed information about all residency and citizenship programs by investments, we prepared a brief overview of the ten most significant events that occurred in the last twelve months and had a significant impact on the world market.


Factors that affected the industry of services for registration of residency and citizenship by investments

 1. Hurricanes and price wars

 For those few who may have missed this event, we recall that last fall, the hurricanes Irma and Maria hit many Caribbean island jurisdictions with the citizenship for investment programs. They have a little patted St. Kitts and Nevis and caused massive destruction in the Dominican Republic and Barbuda. 

 Subsequently, in Antigua and Barbuda, they decided to intensify the attraction of funds to fight the disaster, halving the amount necessary to register citizenship through a subsidy to the National Development Fund. Now this opportunity is offered for only $ 100,000 for one applicant instead of the previous $ 200,000.

 As a result, in the Caribbean, there are even more interesting from a financial point of view programs for individual investors and investors with families. Similarly, the authorities of Saint Kitts and Nevis submitted a temporary Hurricane Relief Fund with a donation fee of $ 150,000. The collection period for this fund expired at the end of March 2018. But it continued to exist after rebranding in the form of the Sustainable Growth Fund.

 The authorities of Saint Kitts and Nevis also decided to add a second option for citizenship for real estate, offering an investment opportunity of $ 200,000 with an asset retention period of seven years in addition to the already available financial option (investing $ 400,000 in nationality for real estate with a mandatory tenure period of five years).


2. Stricter requirements for participants in the Canadian investment residence scheme

 The announcement of changes to the conditions of the Quebec Immigrant Investor program was held. It is planned to increase the minimum amount of investments from 800,000 to 1.2 million Canadian dollars, and raise the requirements for the size of the investor's own assets to 1.6 million Canadian dollars to 2 million Canadian dollars. Local authorities took two years to reach a consensus on this issue.

 It is expected that this innovation will scare away many investors, making more attractive the numerous alternatives to the Quebec Immigrant Investor program like some kind of "citizenship for investment" scheme in the Caribbean.


3. New programs from the category "citizenship by investments" and stiffer competition for the attention of each investor

 Last year, Turkey announced the creation of a program from the category "citizenship by investments", offering many investment options and setting the entry threshold at the level of 1 million US dollars in equivalent (when buying real estate).

 Then a similar scheme Moldovans was launched. Moldova, whose passport allows visa-free entry to Europe, offers three very affordable investment options: a donated donation of 100,000 euros, five-year investments in bonds worth 250,000 euros, and investments in real estate for a similar amount with the same period of compulsory tenure.

 Jordan joined these newcomers by offering foreigners the opportunity to obtain citizenship for investments, paying at least $ 1 million in investments. And no sooner had the program started, they began to record a significant demand for their product. The authorities of the country reported overcoming the mark in half a hundred applications in just a couple of months since the launch of the program.

 Since then, Turks, having monitored the success of existing players and the emergence of new competitors such as Moldova and Jordan, and also fixing a low interest in their program "citizenship by investments", have decided to reduce the entry threshold by 3 times: to $ 300,000.

 After the unexpected success of the Jordanian program, it is expected that Montenegro will also open applications for citizenship by investments under a scheme that the authorities of the Balkan country have been developing for several years.

 All these newcomers are trying to attract the attention of wealthy individuals who want to move to live in a safe and prosperous country, fleeing economic crises and armed conflicts in their homeland.


4. Announcement of Caribbean programs on tax residency registration 

 Many of the Caribbean countries with the citizenship by investment programs are considering the idea of launching schemes for registration (tax) residency through investments, in order to use their considerable tax advantages to attract the Hinwits (HNWI).

 Recall that the government of St. Kitts and Nevis made a statement last summer. But at the moment they have published very little information on this issue. High-ranking officials from Dominica also made announcements in a similar vein, but in their case, no information on the actual introduction of relevant amendments to fiscal legislation has also been published.

 Only the Saint Lucia government made an abstract announcement about the prospect of launching a scheme to provide non-dom tax status to wealthy foreign investors in the foreseeable future.

 According to experts, the authorities of the three above-mentioned countries should bear in mind that competition with the British overseas territories in the region will be difficult in this respect.


5. Cayman Islands increase the "cost" of the permanent residence certificate

 As soon as it came to the British Overseas Territories with interesting schemes for registration of tax residency, it should be noted that the Cayman Islands increased the threshold of entry within the framework of our program. The minimum investment requirements for obtaining residency in the purchase of real estate increased from $ 1.6 to $ 2 million.

 This program is one of several schemes for registration of residency offered by the Cayman Islands. And with its help, if certain conditions are met, you can get a new passport and alternative citizenship by naturalization.


6. The program for New Zealand immigrant investors gets a "facelift"

 Terms of registration of New Zealand investor visas under the New Zealand Immigrant Investor Program (Tier 1 and Tier 2) have undergone a change. At present, participants in these schemes are offered a permanent residence instead of a temporary residence. But at the same time, the minimum amount of investment has increased to 3 million New Zealand dollars for the Tier 2 Investor investment visa, while the minimum investment in the case of the investor visa Tier 1 Investor now is NZ 10 million.

 The New Zealand authorities have also amended legislation that prohibits foreigners without a New Zealand residence to buy property in that country. This is supposedly necessary to slow the escalation in house prices due to the growing demand from wealthy investors from abroad, making New Zealand real estate more accessible to local residents.


7. Preparation of the Kazakhstan program of investment residency

 A number of events helped Kazakhstan to attract the attention of a growing number of immigrants, investors and financiers. Recently, the International Financial Center "Astana" (Astana International Financial Center, AIFC) was opened in the country. The launch of the AIFC, along with tax holidays and legislative optimization, is expected to lead to the fact that more and more enterprises and Hainites (HNWI) will choose this state to design their residency.

 The administration of AIFC appealed to the firms on presentation of services in the field of registration of residency and citizenship with a request to forward proposals for the creation of a Kazakhstan residence registration program for investments. It is expected that the corresponding program will be launched next year.


8. New start-up visas for Portugal, Japan, Cyprus and not only

 Following the worldwide trend, more countries wishing to attract innovative start-ups are opening programs for issuing start-up visas for foreigners. Although there are exceptions.

 Portugal and Austria, following Italy, France and other countries, have developed their own programs for the provision of start-up visas. The conditions for obtaining the latter vary from country to country.

 For example, in the framework of the Portuguese scheme, the applicant must be approved by one of the authorized start-up incubators. As with many other start-up visa programs, there is no minimum investment requirement under the scheme launched in Portugal.


9. France suspends the program for the provision of investment visas CEE

 The French authorities in 2009 created a special program for the granting of residency to individual investors for the "Contribution Economic Pricing (CEE)." The European state offered a long-term residence to all those who invest 10 million euros in the economy of France.

 The program, most likely, was created taking into account the interest of immigrant investors from Qatar and was never intended to attract wealthy immigrants from other states. This year the program was suspended. This is probably due to low demand and the creation of Innovator and Investor programs in 2016. In the same year, the French launched an interesting scheme for tax residency registration.


10. The process of applications from applicants for Australian residency is getting out of control

 The Australian authorities amended their country's legislation on citizenship by tightening requirements for knowledge of the English language and allowing naturalization only after holding the permanent residence of that country for a four-year period. The average processing time for applying for citizenship in Australia has increased from 3 months in the last year to 13 months this year.


In case of an investor visa program, the average processing time for an application is 9 months (up to 15 months). As a result, many investors began to look for alternative options.