BRIAN DOBBIN, FOUNDER
Despite the $25 billion and increasing annual market in citizenship and residency programs in over 20 countries around the world, this is a legitimate question.
Recent news of citizenship investment programs in Cyprus and Malta being suspended has been wide-spread, but not as well-known has been the gradual shutdown of investment immigration programs in Canada over the last years.
The popular Federal Investor Program and the Quebec Investor Program represented billions of dollars of incoming capital to Canada and thousands of new wealthy immigrants only a few years ago, and now both programs lie dormant with no sign of resurrection on the horizon.
Recent debate in the European Parliament has focused on the remaining ‘golden visa’ programs of the EU, with an overwhelming majority of MEPs openly demanding an end to these schemes in the member states where they are currently run.
With the silent death of the Canadian programs which were the world’s most voluminous and arguably most popular, it should be expected that the United States EB5 program does not have a long life ahead of it.
Many expected the program to be shut down in the Trump presidency given his rhetoric around immigration, but one could surmise that did not go down given the long-time propensity of his son-in-law’s family for using the program for their development funding.
The Kushner property empire used the program a lot more than one time, given its evolution as a cheap non-recourse model for construction and building financing. A lot of other American developers have done the same over the last 20 years, but that card seems likely to be taken out of their deck soon.
So – what does this mean, given the steady rise of global affluence and the demand for economically advantaged families to have second residency and citizenship options? In the short term, it means that if you have been considering getting a second passport or residency I would not procrastinate much longer.
It is reasonable to expect the smaller programs like Vanuatu and the Caribbean CIP islands to remain active. They are too important now to the economic well-being of the economies, and these countries are sovereign and not subject to over-riding jurisdictional bodies like the EU Parliament.
That said the major tax collectors in the world – the US and EU – are not fond of escape routes for their citizens and there are a multitude of ways that the Western powers can choke off these programs.
Foreign aid, defense, and banking are just a few of the tools that can be, and are being, used to put pressure on these nation’s citizenship investment programs. A short time ago we heard a rumour that an entire Caribbean island’s government was forced to do their banking for a period of time through a third party’s account overseas – given the slowdown caused by US intermediary banks enhanced due diligence on transfers to the country.
I remember 20 years ago thinking – how long did these programs have to last before demand petered out? Well, with the explosion of world wealth the demand has only increased since then, but now the question is – how long will these programs still be available?
Although like an oil tanker, it takes a while for them to slow down and stop, be aware the slowing down has been happening and it is not unforeseen that within the next months and early in 2021 we could see the more popular options like the EU and US come off the table completely. As stated, the smaller programs maybe not so quickly.
In a crazy year in which it seems like the world turned upside down a couple of times, there appears to be even more reasons why having a second passport or residency permit in your pocket makes a lot of sense. Just make sure that if this makes sense to you, you do not wait too long to obtain it.
If you’d like to speak to us, please either send us a webchat (click the icon bottom right of this page), email or book in for a video consultation easily in our partner calendar. We find video conferencing to be the most efficient use of your time to ascertain the best program for you and your family. We encourage you to take advantage of it since your first consultation is free of charge.