Invest in your future: The rise of citizenship and residency by investment

The Covid era has made the wealthy look more urgently at acquiring new passports

A global crisis has a way of putting things into perspective, while obliterating the status quo. Before Covid-19, for some people having good connections and money to burn could buy them the right to live pretty much anywhere. This global phenomenon has generated intense interest in Citizenship and Residency by Investment (CBI and RBI) programmes, which greatly expand travel opportunities.

Then the pandemic happened and for the first time in modern history, nations around the world began restricting entry exclusively to their own citizens and residents. Travellers who consistently enjoyed unrestricted mobility now find themselves locked out of countries they had previously entered at will — all because of their limited citizenship.

Covid-19: An eye-opener

The unprecedented trend of bans and suspension of temporary visas and work permits by several countries during the pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of such statuses of residency,”. It has stressed the importance of acquiring proper residency or citizenship in the country where you want to reside as a permanent citizen, so you can enjoy certain exclusive rights and remove uncertainty. As an industry, CBI began in 1984 in the Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, which offered a passport to foreigners who invested substantially in their economy.

Today, a long list of countries trade citizenship or residency for cash. This is now worth $25 billion (Dh91.8 billion) a year.

There are some country differences in terms of CBI programme requirements, but common to all are a minimum investment in one of the government-approved options — usually real estate — the purchase of government bonds or a donation to a national economic fund, and the ability to show the legal source of the investment money.

There are numerous benefits to being the owner of the second passport, including freedom of movement, tax reduction, visa-free access to coveted foreign markets, and a better quality of life. Right now, there are other more pressing motivations. Rich people are seeking the assurance of mobility in a world where the health crisis, tense international politics, and climate change are all making people nervous.

Source: Gulf News