The latest Portuguese citizenship legislation updates / 15th August, 2018

Launched in 2012, the Portuguese programme has been a popular programme amongst investors because of its low stay requirement, affordable investment options and the opportunity to acquire citizenship status after year six (if investors comply to the regulations set up for the Golden Visa programme).

As of recent, Portugal has updated its citizenship legislation by amending the length of years an applicant can obtain a Portuguese passport. Previously, as stated above, an applicant could opt to apply for settlement in Portugal after the sixth year of their Golden Visa. However, with the new citizenship legislation, the Portuguese programme has dropped this period down by one year. Applicants can now apply for a Portuguese passport after just five years as opposed to the previous six years.

Moldova Programmes / 10th August, 2018

Alongside Malta and Cyprus, Moldova is set to be the third country in Europe to offer a citizenship by investment programme in the coming months. Compared to its older counterparts, the Moldova programme is offering the most affordable route to citizenship in European region.

The financial requirements of the programme are for approved applicants to make one of the following contributions:

-€100,000 contribution in to the Moldovan Public Investment Fund

-€250,000 contribution in to an area of strategic development such as real estate or government bonds

The primary reason for the Moldovan government offering such reasonable and affordable contribution options is heavily dependent on the fact that Moldova is still not a member of the European Union. In contrast to the other two citizenship by investment programmes who are in the European Union significantly alters the pricing difference. However, the programme is not without its benefits as though applicants who are approved can relish in visa-free travel to over 120 countries including the Schengen Area. Additionally, investors contributions will drastically help the citizens of Moldova (including themselves) as the Moldovan government’s fundamental objective is to create long-lasting societal value for the Moldovan people. The government recently announced that the investment programme will help provide “valuable foreign direct investment that will enhance the daily lives of all Moldovans”.

Montenegro Programme / 10th August, 2018

The government of Montenegro have officially approved the launch of the nation’s citizenship by investment programme as of 1st October 2018. The programme is capped at 2000 applicants, granting those approved with a full Montenegrin citizenship in exchange for a secure investment in to the country. The programme is set to offer non-EU countries the opportunity to invest in a citizenship over the course of the next three years.

Perks of the programme are yet to be finalised with some benefits already confirmed, such as, visa-free travel to over 125 countries (including the Schengen area) and an accelerated application processing time that is confirmed to process citizenships at a given period of six months.

There are two routes of investment, which are the following:

- €250,000 investment in a government approved project in an under developed region of Montenegro

-€450,000 investment in a government approved project in a developed region of Montenegro

As the programme is still preparing for its launch, there may be slight amendments and/or adjustments. If so, we will keep you up to date with the latest news about the Montenegrin citizenship by investment programme.

The Sustainable Growth Fund launched in St Kitts and Nevis / 10th April, 2018 / Authors Name

As of 1st April 2018, the ever-populare St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship-by-Investment Programme will launch and make available a new investment path for potential investors who seek a strong and secure path to obtaining a second citizenship.

Followed by the success of the Hurricane Relief Fund, St Kitts and Nevis have launched the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF) that allows investors the opportunity to become citizens by making one of the following contributions:


Rather than replacing the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF), both fund will coexist. The SGF will enable citizens an residents to thrive by streaming resources in to areas of health care, education, alternative energy, heritage, infrastructure, tourism and promotion of indigenous entrepreneurship.

Dr. the Honourable Timonthy Harris, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in St Kitts and Nevis, spoke out upon announcement of the new fund:

“St Kitts and Nevis will maintain their high standards of integrity, rigour and robust due diligence. We shall continue to refine our programme and will continue to strengthen our platinum brand.”

The Impact of Brexit on UK residency via Tier 1 investor visa programme / 5th April, 2018

On 20th March 2018, Theresa May confirms the alleged leave time and date from the EU to be at 11pm on Friday 29th March 2019. Having this date confirmed, many foreigners living in the UK, either on a BRP card, work permit or visa, have concerns regarding their residency status in the UK once Brexit takes full effect. A question on many foreign investors lips remains; what is the likelihood of this impacting UK residency via the Tier 1 investor visa*programme?

Luckily, the question has a fittingly great and simple answer: no changes are to be made towards the Tier 1 investor visa programme. Foreign investors, who are eligible for the programme, can apply and invest into the UK as they have done so before.

The only noticeable change is that the immigration law firms (who deal specifically with these investor programmes) have seen a drastic increase in demand for them, especially from Chinese investors. With the Financial Times reporting that the “total Chinese investment into the UK reached £20.8bn in 2017”. This has continued to rise in 2018.

Foreign investors see the UK as a prosperous investment due to the economic stability, international connections and educational prospects, as well as the UK being among the safest places in the world; regardless of any risks related to Britain leaving the EU.

For more information regarding the UK residency via Tier 1 investor visa programme, please contact us through our contact form, call or email and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

*Often referred to as the UK “Golden Visa”

PSU leader in favour of CBI programmes for St Vincent and the Grenadines / 8th March, 2018

Mr Elroy Boucher, President of the Public Service Union (PSU), says he hopes that the Unity Labour Party administration can come up with measures to relieve the tax burden on Vincentians.

Compared to the other independent Eastern Caribbean States, St Vincent and the Grenadines remain the only countries without a formal citizenship by investment (CBI) programme.

The governing political bodies, the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Unity Labour Party (ULP), are divided by the sheer volume of opposed opinions towards the CBI programmes, which have an immense affect on the taxes for their citizens as well as the government budget.

Mr Boucher endorses the CBI programmes as do the NDP, agreeing that by supporting the programme benefits, not only the citizens, but helps fund a significant chunk of the national budget. In contrast to this, the opposing ULP argue that the programme enforces and encourages a higher rate of passports to be sold on the black market.

Mr Boucher voiced his support for CBI programme at a PSU press conference on Wednesday 28th February 2018, saying;

“… I’ve heard the opposition put forward the suggestion that the government can make use of the citizenship by investment programme. And I just can’t understand the reluctance to get involved. Every OECS country is using this programme and it is financing a great part of their budget,”

Followed by;

“St. Kitts is the leader, I think, in this regard. It is financing a great part of their budget. This programme has allowed these governments to lower the taxes on their people… St. Kitts has been voted the least corrupt country within CARICOM. The least corrupt and they are running this programme,”

As quoted by Mr Boucher, he is “mind-boggled” by the ULP’s stance on CBI programmes and continued to add;

“ … we elect you to govern and govern in a responsible way to make our living conditions better.”

The PSU union leader continued to debate that rather than taking the advice of the opposition, the government;

“would rather find ways of taxing workers, the citizens. And I am of the view that a responsible government needs to listen to all of the ideas and see how best they can put policies in place to relieve the burden, the financial burden of workers and their families.”

In its “People’s Budget” response to the national budget in January, the opposition restated its support for a CBI programme.

The release of the 2017 report for the Maltese Citizenship by investment programme statistics / 31st January, 2018

The office of the regulator of the Individual Investor Programme of the Government of Malta issued its Fourth Annual report on the 20th of December 2017. For the 12-month period between July 2016 and June 2017, this report states and provides statistics for the Malta Citizenship by investment programme. The report highlights numerous factors including how many applicants were received, rejected and those naturalised. Additionally, the report offers a thorough breakdown routes to investment as well as citizenship status for the primary applicant, their spouses and other dependents.

As the report reveals, the Maltese programme is still attracting an influx of applicants, however, there has been a decrease by 17% when compared to the 12-month period above and the previous year before that. The exact amount of applications that were submitting during 2016/2017 fell to 377 compared to the 451-recorded applications during the previous period. From inception up to today, this brings some total amount of 1101 applications made.

The percentage of male applicants who submitted their applications as the main applicant made up 79% of the total applicants; making a mere 21% of the main applicant’s female. On average, per main applicant included three of their dependants. The statistics outlined the nine main regions where applicants applied for. Please see the table below:

When comparing the period between 2016/2017 to the previous, there are few similarities and differences of the applicants who applied. Similarly, most of the applications came from the European region. Although, in contrast to the previous year, there was an increase of the number of applications from the Middle East and Asia, while those from Africa and the Gulf decreased.

Even in other Citizenship by investment programmes, there is a common trend that can be seen throughout by the number of applicants who apply in addition to the region they are applying from. From the applicants who were approved in relation to the due diligence being positively concluded and a letter of approval was issued 422 times; those who were not approved was only 83. There has been a significant increase from the previous period of those approved that was 241 and the year before that, only 75. This figure represents the incline of how efficient application process is becoming.

Considering how many applicants applied and reached the naturalization stage totaled to 386 applicants. This highlights that once again, there is a significant increase of those recorded from the previous period as it was only 137. Combining the two amounts together, by the end of June 2017, there was a total of 566 naturalized citizens. The Malta IIP has capped the naturalization of candidates, excluding their dependants, at 1,800. Since the Malta golden visa programme began in August 2015, it has already filled a third of its total capacity.

Property investment, across the golden visa board, is the most favoured route to investment. 88% (340) of the contributor’s property investments were leased and the remaining 12% (46) were purchased. The areas in Malta that are seemingly more popular are in Sliema, St Julians and Swieqi. During the period of 2016/2017, €868,173.58 seemed to be the average amount spent on a single purchase of property. The rental value during the same period stood at an average of €21,128.53. Compared to most of the other investment programmes, the Maltese golden visa programme requires the main applicant to not only invest in property, but Government stocks and between June 2016 and June 2017, this amount totalled to €58,371,279.83. Please see more Maltese statistics below:

Malta Citizenship Programme Statistics – Contributions Collected from July 2016 to June 2017

1st July, 2016 – 30th June, 2017 the financial contributions amounted to €194 million to the National Development and Social Fund;
€83 million to the Consolidated Fund;
€16 million to the Identity Malta Agency and;
€13 million to the concessionaire
Per applicant of the IIP for this period the total estimate contribution stands at €10,584,600,000 which is equivalent to 2.74% of the GDP.

15% rise in foreign property investors using the Portuguese Golden Visa Investment Programme / 18th January, 2018

As we opened our new Lisbon office with Her Excellency, Kirsty Hales, British Ambassador to Portugal, our London team were astounded by the beauty that Portugal presented to them.

Lisbon, a capital city founded on wooden beams under the sea after the earthquake of 1755. Few capital cities are situated idyllically by the sea with backstreets leading to authentic Fado restaurants; the city is filled with tradition and culture; from Ginja shots served in chocolate cups to nata pastry stalls situated on every corner. No wonder, the Portuguese Golden Visa Programmes is one of the most attractive immigration investment routes there is today among the global elite.

Since being introduced in 2012, the Portuguese Golden Visa investment route has aided the country in receiving around €3.4 billion worth of foreign investments. Near to 6,000 investors with approximately 10,000 family members have qualified for a fast-track permanent residence in the country.

In November 2017, it was recorded that €54.6 million were invested into Portugal via the Golden Visa route, which is a 14.6% increase compared to €47.6 million in November 2016. Figures expected to rise even higher in the coming years.

Both Lisbon and the rest of Portugal offer a different architectural structure compared to most of Europe and the world. With different hues of marble-stained in-built exterior walls, Juliet balconies and vibrant building colours, the purchase of property has remained the preferred choice when choosing to invest in Portugal.

Property investments have soared, just alone in November 2017, totalling €52.4 million while equity investments accounted for the rest of the €2.2 million.

Portugal consistently introduces essential changes to the programme, not only to keep it fresh with content, but to also offer a variety of options for investors to retain their preferred status of residence including routes such as equity investments.