This write-up focuses on immigration by investment particularly residency by investment. Many of the same principles would still apply when investing in a Citizenship programme. Those in the immigration by investment business have to keep themselves abreast of European RCBIs and other relevant matters including policy and administrative changes thus ensuring the provision of the right Programme to the right beneficiary. The selection of a Programme that suits the beneficiary revolves always around to which country the prospective applicant and dependants if any are attracted and the most advantegous in terms of return on investment.
One must not forget that the residency and citizenship by investment industry employs thousands of professionals across the globe. These are normally people hailing from the banking and insurance industry, legal, financial and other professional backgrounds. This industry has also a substantial effect on other service providers such as real-estate agencies, law firms, wealth management providers, stockbrokers, health insurance firms and other key stakeholders. At the pinnacle of this, is the positive and direct impact on the economy of the countries promoting such Programmes. We know of many European Programmes that given their success, certain countries managed to turn to their advantage a hard economical situation into one which is very rewarding and lucrative. Why not? If such Programmes create prosperity, job and investment opportunities we ought to ensure that they are there to stay. Not without of course the right mechanisms to ensure that the applicants’ background checks including source of funds, source of wealth and other important criteria is thoroughly checked for compliance and security. Reference to due diligence will be made in my second article. It goes without saying that effective RCBIs work hand-in-hand with equally effective and innovative Background Verification Reports, Practices and Polices.
With the above precedent paragraph in mind, it is pertinent to point out that in the last three years I had the opportunity of setting up and heading an agency responsible for residency by investment. This provided me the opportunity not only to work with a great team of professional people who did their job to a very high standard of accomplishment but also to meet and work together with accredited agents and agencies who are certified to promote Malta’s Programmes internationally. This is a big plus for an RCBI to function without conflicts as prospective clients can only submit their respective application/s through capable, certified and approved agents/agencies. For further transperancy the list of these agents is available for the public in general on-line. Over and above this, RCBIs are very important because they provide tangible options to beneficiaries. During my travels, I had the privilege of meeting hundreds of prospective applicants and families of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds together with their representatives. One quickly learns that people have different aspirations and their motives of investing in a second residency, are not restricted to expanding their business prospects further as many may think. Not at all! Their decision in investing in a second residency is many a time purely based on personal and family reasons. The following paragaph covers applicants’ standard requirements.
Investing in a second residency is a long-term life changing experience. The applicant’s family members or dependants would also want have their share in the final decision. When it comes to residency by investment, the most common requirements are the following (not necessarily in order of priority) :-
- Access to the twenty-six countries forming part of the Schenghen Zone (in case of an RBI);
- Permanent residency;
- A country’s growing economy with a democratic Government;
- The country’s climate and natural environment;
- The safety and well-being for applicant and their loved ones;
- The country’s medical institutions and health-care;
- The country’s internationally recognised educational systems;
- The country’s employment opportunities and/or to set up a business;
- The country’s tax systems;
- Language abilities. This normally applies more to applicants wishing to learn how to read and write the English Language proficiently;
- Purchasing of a real-estate at an affordable price;
- Other investment/business opportunities.
Let us for example refer to the Educational Systems a country may provide to the children of a prospective investor. Why impede such learning opportunities! We always talk about equity, equality, non-discriminatory decisions etc., however in this world, words have always confused, it is only tangible facts and actions that convince. Such Programmes serve as vehicles in affording this and other.
Accepting or rejecting an application is entirley based on stringent due diligence processes and the capabilities of experienced assessors that can potentially smell problem miles away. This will be discussed in Part II of this series.