Published at: 30/12/2020 12:00 pm
The market of citizenship by investment programs is changing fast, the European passport schemes will be reborn in 2021. Meanwhile more and more countries launch their naturalisation programmes for wealthy applicants. Let's take a quick look inside the world of accessible citizenships in exchange for an investment or donation, before 2021 starts.
2020 is a year full of surprises, and not only the appearance of Covid shocked the world, but two essential passport programs changed or suspended as well. Cyprus and Malta maintained the most strict citizenship by investment schemes because the proper due diligence was the key to international acceptance. Both island nations are the Member States of the European Union and has to respect the standard rules and legislation. Moreover, Malta is a Schengen country, which means an extra layer of security checks. Cyprus suspended its citizenship program after a severe series of scandals. However, the program helped the Mediterranean island nation to rise from the downturn caused by the global economic crisis. As Covid-19 destroyed the income from the tourism, the Cypriot government must be working to strengthen the programs financial audit processes, and they may relaunch their traditional "Golden Passport" scheme, following the investigations. In Portugal, several scandals shook the immigration and other authorities, but they managed to strengthen the legal and financial control of the Portuguese "Golden Visa" Program (ARI), instead of cancelling the source of funds for state and the economy.
Malta acted fast and changed the citizenship program to a brand new "residency by investment fast-track citizenship" program. Bulgaria had an almost similar program before, but the Maltese solution puts more emphasis on the time spent as a resident. Shortly, Malta obliges the applicants to become first of all permanent residents. Then, following a second investment, they can obtain valuable EU travel documents.
Following the chaos caused by the coronavirus, the Caribbean countries with citizenship programs (St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and Saint Lucia) started the most remarkable price competition of the industry. Interestingly, the goals of the applicants changed, as well. The wealthy are not looking for only the freedom to travel anymore. The recent applicants are looking for safe destinations, which allows them not only to travel but guarantees excellent healthcare, education and overall security for their families as well.
Vanuatu is still one of the most sought-after locations for naturalisation of businesspeople and their families. Fast and straightforward process and please note, Vanuatu is 100% covid-free, only one infected tourist was arriving during 2020.
The host countries of the citizenship programs mentioned above are the most popular choices. Still, there are now so many new solutions, as the CIPs of Turkey and Jordan. To make up for lost budget revenues, several states start or plan to launch some type of citizenship or residency by investment programmes.
Kenya, Albania, Mauritius, and Greece have already voted for or launched their citizenship by investment schemes in 2020. However, proper planning and practice take time, and some details or final affirmation processes are still missing.
According to the Imidaily.com, the following nations are in talks with "citizenship program-related advisory groups": North Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Micronesia, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu.
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