Barriers and opportunities for wealth migration

We asked Fragomen Worldwide to assess the largest barriers to future movement and highlight new opportunities


 

TOP 5 BARRIERS TO MOVEMENT

Migration implications of global security threats

Exclusions from investor citizenship programmes are not new: Iranian, North Korean, and Afghani nationals already face restrictions. St Kitts and Nevis has suspended, and Antigua and Barbuda is ‘actively’ considering excluding, Syrian nationals from its Citizenship by Investment Programme. The impact of lifting sanctions on Iran remains to be seen in 2016.

Restrictions and closures of popular investor migration models

In November 2014, the UK doubled the minimum threshold for its popular Tier 1 Investor programme to £2m and introduced additional compliance requirements. Two popular programmes, Hong Kong’s Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (CIES) and Canada’s Federal Investor Programme, were closed in 2014/2015.

Changes to residency in Switzerland

The requirements of the lump-sum taxation regime were recently tightened, and in 2014 the Swiss federal government proposed abolishing it altogether, while the French government announced that Swiss residents who are taxed under the lump-sum regime will no longer benefit from the provisions of the Swiss-French double-tax treaty.

Internal restrictions impacting top sending countries

In 2014, Russia introduced a legal requirement for its citizens to notify the authorities if they obtain alternative permanent residency or citizenship. China has imposed limits on withdrawals outside of China on UnionPay bank cards, which in effect applies to all bank cards as UnionPay processes virtually all card transactions.

Schengen restrictions and developments in the EU

Recent months have seen border controls being re-introduced across parts of the EU in response to the refugee crisis. This has effectively meant temporary exit of some countries from the Schengen system, potentially affecting all those with investor residency elsewhere in the EU seeking to enter under Schengen.

TOP 5 OPPORTUNITIES FOR MOVEMENT

Caribbean opportunities increasing

Saint Lucia’s first citizenship by investment programme was announced in late 2015. Applicants will require a net worth of US$3m and must make a qualifying investment to qualify with an initial annual limit of 500 applications. In May 2015, Dominica and Grenada signed short-stay visa waiver agreements allowing EU citizens to travel under Schengen terms.

Malta’s Individual Investor Programme (IIP)

Interest in Malta’s Individual Investor Programme remains high. As of June 2015, the number of applicants for this service was just over 620, out of the cap of 1,800 applications in place for the whole programme. Malta is also introducing a Residency by Investment programme.

Incentives and flexibility introduced in other investor migration programmes

Antigua is offering time-limited reductions in investment thresholds and fee waivers, work restrictions are being lifted in Spain, and, as of 1 November 2015, applicants to Cyprus’ citizenship programme who initially invested in bonds may be able to switch to immovable property during the three-year qualifying period.

Australia introduces the Premium Investor Visa (PIV)

Introduced in July 2015, the Premium Investor Visa (PIV) allows investors the opportunity to fast track to permanent residence in Australia. This is a service made available for those holding a complying investment of at least AU$15m for 12 months, with no attached residence requirements.

Portugal increases Golden Residence Permit investment options

Four additional options have been introduced to encourage investment into science, cultural heritage and urban rehabilitation and incentivise applicants to invest in areas of low density and lower than average GDP.