Citizenship and residence by investment consultants CS Global Partners help high net worth individuals find the right investment immigration programme for them.
Andres Gutierrez discusses the growing demand in the industry, why you might prefer a residence-by-investment programme over a citizenship-by-investment scheme, and what they future may hold as we change the ways we think about citizenship.
In the first half of this interview he explains the history of the citizenship by investment industry, the importance of the due diligence process that countries go through when assessing their potential citizens, and how to work out which programme is the best for you.
How has supply and demand in the investor immigration industry changed, and what’s driving those changes?
Andres Gutierrez: The demand is based on what we call the three pillars of citizenship, which is basically physical safety, financial security, and lifestyle and accessibility.
Because at the end of the day, a person cannot be entirely happy if their family or their own personal safety is compromised, or they cannot do business properly. And they increasingly need to be doing business worldwide, from Asia to South America to North America, passing through Europe and Africa.
Obviously the countries has realised this, and they have been offering different solutions to this. We have the residence programmes and the citizenship programmes, and this is a way of enabling these applicants to have financial stability or further business prospects, but also drive foreign investment into their own economies.
There’s been a rise in residence by investment programmes alongside citizenship by investment; what’s the difference, and why choose one or the other?
Andres Gutierrez: From a legal perspective, residence is the right, the legal right, to live in a certain jurisdiction. Citizenship on the other hand, is being a citizen of a nation, which obviously entitles the right to reside in that nation, but at the same time having the same rights and obligations and duties as the citizens of that nation. And the ability to apply for a passport.
This ability to apply for a passport, it translates into the ability of further travelling and doing business globally.
Why to choose one or the other? Again, we go back to the client’s needs. If the client wants to live in Spain for example, a Caribbean passport won’t be the solution.
What is the profile of a typical citizenship programme investor?
Andres Gutierrez: Basically the profile is as we have discussed before, it is a person that is looking for the three pillars of citizenship: physical security, financial safety, and accessibility and lifestyle. And at the same time, access to other markets, which is something that, with these citizenships, can be achieved.
As an example of this, we had an applicant doing normal business with Europe and with many other countries. The problem is that from one day to another, this person wasn’t able to travel.
If a person is not able to travel, well perhaps it is fine. But for this particular business person, he was the only supplier of baby nappies and baby food and so on for his country. So it doesn’t affect only the entrepreneur, but it affects the entire population.
So, what this person did was basically he acquired a second citizenship, and with that citizenship was able to travel, was able to start that business going again, and that supply into the country again. So this is a triple-win situation: because this has allowed this person to travel freely on one side, to do business globally; that has allowed the country that gave him citizenship to receive his foreign direct investment; but at the same time the citizens of his country where he has his business have been allowed to start receiving nappies again.
And what’s next in this rapidly evolving industry?
Andres Gutierrez: We see from our perspective for the future more programme offering, because at the end of the day it is the driver of foreign investment; together with a rise on advice like CS Global Partners. The need of having legal advice that basically understands not only the needs of the client but also understands the different options in the market, and can advise properly so the clients can make an informed decision.
This will lead at the same time to more regulation, more transparency, and to a final thing, which is nowadays we are looking, we are opting at one citizenship, two citizenships, but in five or 10 years it is not going to be about which citizenship do we hold but: how many citizenships do you think you would need in the next 10 years?
Source: World Finance