UK Residency via TIER 1 Investor Visa 'Surprise' Suspension / 10th December, 2018
The visa scheme was set in place to encourage affluent people from outside of the EU to invest in the UK. This was a fast-track solution being offered to foreign investors who were interested in settling in the UK.
UK Ministers decision to impose this drastic halt on the visa scheme is part of a “crackdown on financial crime” i.e. money laundering.
The programme gave investors who bought the visa for £2 million, indefinite leave to remain after five years in the UK However, concerns arose where the scheme had traces of being used as a means of money laundering.
Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes announced that “the suspension would come into effect at midnight on Friday” as “we will not tolerate people who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse the system”. She went on to say that, “that is why I am bringing forward these new measures which will make sure that only genuine investors, who intend to support UK businesses, can benefit from our immigration system.”
The “gold-plated” visa suspension will end after an audit process is introduced, ministers say.
Word has it that as of next year, independent, regulated auditors will assess applicants' financial and business interests as well as checking that they have had control of these funds for a minimum of at least two years, the Home Office said - compared to what the scheme previously required, which was that applicants had to have a UK bank account and were of "good character".
In 2017, over 1,000 Tier 1 visas were issued with the highest investors coming from China and Russia. Under the programme, successful candidates were eligible to have visas that lasted three years and four months, with two-year extensions available.
By 2011, the government anticipated that the Tier 1 visa would attract the "brightest and best" due to allowing investors the option to bring forward the date at which they could apply for settled status. This would amount to them spending, on average, £10 million in the UK to cut the wait by two years.
The Migration Advisory Committee, however, said in 2014 that “the scheme brought little economic benefit for British citizens because most applicants were buying gilts to qualify” – meaning that they were effectively loaning the government money, rather than investing in the UK.
So, what will be the future for the “gold-plated” UK visa?
The Home Office revealed that there will be a planned provision for ‘pooled investments - supported by the government,’ to support projects with a "clear economic benefit to the UK" such as backing up small and medium-sized businesses.
Analysis revels that an approximate 35,000 people have invested in a passport / 15th October, 2018
With interest and demand rising, the question stands as to how many individual passports have been issued to applicants worldwide via the route of citizenship by investment? After much data exploration, Coates Global have come across remarkable results of an estimated total number of economic citizens in the world. Please note that we have not included any residency by investment permits as well as programmes that Coates Global do not offer services for.
Total of 3,850 economic citizens
In February 2018, officials at the Finance Ministry informed the press that Cyprus had issued 3,300 passports under the Cyprus citizenship by investment programme. This is the most up to date data that is available, however, what we can deduce is how Cyprus has received an average of 62 economic citizens a month in the last 4 years. Due to this, we can only assume that this would be the number of applicants Cyprus continues to receive from the period between March 2018 up until today.
Total of 2,101 economic citizens
Malta’s Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) have published detailed statistics in their annual reports by the programme’s regulator called Office of the Regulator (ORiip). In comparison to the other programmes, Malta has offered the world a most transparent review when reporting data on a year-on-year basis.
Total of 6-10,000 economic citizens
The difficulty when trying to establish a concrete estimate with the total amount of economic citizens in Dominica is that the country does not offer any sort of official statistical reporting on its citizenship programme. On the other hand, other sources point towards, what we can only gather as an estimated total number.
Emmanuel Nanthan, ambassador and head of Dominica’s citizenship by investment unit, stated in April this year that he was receiving between 1,500 and 2,000 applications per annum. Other factors have added to this, such as, the IMF, during their Article IV missions to the island, recorded CBI-receipts as % of GDP as well as the Prime Minister disclosing investments raised in Dominica via the programme through the annual budget address. As this information is rather theoretical and estimated on uncertain data, this leaves us with an approximate average of more than 6,000 and less than 10,000 economic citizens who have been issued their Dominican passport.
ST KITTS & NEVIS
Total of 16,544 economic citizens
Prime Minister Harris of St Kitts & Nevis stated in July 2018 that his country had a grand total of 16,544 economic citizens. St Kitts and Nevis, like Dominica, publishes no data on its programme, although the government has repeatedly promised to do so.
Total number of economic citizens in the world
At least 32,495
That is a very conservative estimate (using Dominica’s highest percentage, otherwise it would be calculated as £28,495). As some of this data has no true lead, we can only assume and hope that the mark exceed £35,000 rather merely making it an average. This goes without saying that there are numerous of other citizenship by investment programmes that are not listed as Coates Global only wish to provide carefully selected elite and prestigious of programmes.
The British Embassy’s Department of International Trade (DIT) in Lisbon presents Coates Global with one of their prestigious business awards / 6th October, 2018
From humble beginnings, Coates Global has expanded in ways unimaginable since its inception in 2016. Our company has flourished enormously in the these past two years. Starting off with a single office, we now have seven offices worldwide!
This award is a monumental representation of the footprint Coates Global will continue to leave behind with every client on every programme; every step of the way!
Over 430 Million Euros raised through the Maltese IIP alone making the NDSF one of the top 50 Sovereign wealth funds / 6th October, 2018
The fund receives an average of 70% of all applicant contributions that make up part of the Maltese citizenship by investment programme. The fund not only provides future charitable commitments that have reserved €56 million, it has admittedly retained the chief part of nearly half a billion euros in a separate account with the Central Bank of Malta.
Moreover, there has been a profound increase in both in the public and private sectors when making higher yield investments. It was last month that the fund bought a 49% stake in Lombard Bank. According to the Times of Malta, the programme has acquired more than €130 million in publicly traded securities and treasury bonds.
At current exchange rates, the equivalent to the NDSF’s recorded balance is exactly half a billion US dollars!
Residence-to-Citizenship by Investment Bill Passed by Egyptian Parliament / 10th September, 2018
A report revealed that the new programme has several unconventional features compared to the other programmes currently trending in the RCBI-market:
- Those approved under the deposit option are permitted to apply for a citizenship within a five-year period in contrast with other programmes who offer this citizenship option only after a ten-year period
- Family members of the main applicant are obliged to reside in Egypt to qualify for citizenship alongside the main applicant
- Once the citizenship application has been approved in the fifth year of residence, the bank deposit is transferred to the Treasury, hence converting the investment in to a donation
- Those who become naturalised through this scheme will only be eligible to “exercise their political rights”(likely meaning the right to vote), five years after obtaining their citizenship status
According to a report on Mada Masr:
“The legislation sparked backlash in Parliament from lawmakers who used nationalist arguments to criticize it, noting that the amendments essentially put Egyptian citizenship up for sale.”
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Russia endorses Visa-Free Travel with Dominica / 30th August, 2018
Detailed on an official statement published on the Russian cabinet’s website expressed:
“The draft agreement waives visas for holders of Russian passports valid abroad, including diplomatic and service passports, and citizens of the Commonwealth of Dominica who hold diplomatic, service and regular passports, provided their stay does not exceed 90 days in any 180-day period."
In addition to PM Roosevelt Skerrit announcing that his administration was in the final stages of negotiating visa-waiver agreements with Russia, he also was in the final stages of negotiations regarding a similar deal with the UAE; as well as actively pursuing one with China.
Whereas the Russian visa-waiver agreement now appears to have been sealed, we are awaiting news on any such agreement being settled with the other two nations. Despite this, Dominica did announce earlier this week that they will be opening an embassy and a consulate out in the UAE.
With Russia joining Dominica’s index of visa-free destinations is a momentous gem in Dominica’s crown. Three other CIP-jurisdictions, which are Saint Kitts & Nevis, Vanuatu, and Grenada, already achieved visa-waivers with Russia, while Grenada stands as the only Caribbean nation that has visa-free access to China.
Residency by investment programme on the horizon for Anguilla / 29th August, 2018
When hosting an information session on the subject that took place on 23 August 2018, the government of the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla presented the purpose and benefits of the programme. They gave a preview of the proposed residency by investment programme, including the application process and fees as well as its plans for implementation.
The latest information regarding the residency by investment programme for Anguilla state the following:
- Two investment options:
1) Investment in a Capital Development Fund of US$150,000
2) A minimum investment in real estate of US$750,000
- A third route to investment is to be released as a tax residency option, however, details as still to be determined
- Accelerated processing times that could have are 30-day turnaround (from application stage to approval stage); this is still to be confirmed
- Dependants of main applicant are eligible to apply
- Permanent residency status ONLY
As information is being verified, finalised and accordingly adjusted, amendments to the residency programme could still come to play. For more information about the upcoming Anguilla residency by investment programme, please click here to view the government’s official announcement.
The new CBI index confirms more attraction from investors seeking dual nationality via Caribbean CBI Programmes / 29th August, 2018
As shown in the image above, the Caribbean islands CBI programmes have reached an all-time high with their popularity ratings from investors. With the Caribbean nations leading the current trending and growing citizenship by investment programme industry, investors worldwide – primarily from Russia, China, the Middle East and Africa – are attracted to the concept of acquiring dual nationality via an affordable investment route that suits their needs.
A publication from the Financial Times released the 2018 CBI Index that ranks the world’s most active CBI programmes, crowning the Dominican programme as the most attractive on the market. The Dominican programme exceptionally scored perfect marks in five out of the seven pillars in which each programme is evaluated by. The top five places were allocated to all Caribbean nations confirming that as of 2018, the Caribbean CBI programmes are the most favoured programmes by the investors!
The pillars (areas) that CBI Index measures CBI programmes are the following:
- Due diligence
- Freedom of movement
- Standard of living
- Minimum Investment
- Ease of processing
- Citizenship timeline
- Mandatory travel/residence
- Due diligence
- Independent researcher and architect of the CBI Index, James McKay, deems these the most critical factors of any investor’s decision-making process when choosing the right CBI programme to obtain their second citizenship. He explains that;
“The CBI Index is rapidly becoming the leading tool for investors to accurately measure the performance and appeal of global citizenship by investment programmes.”
Throughout the CBI index special reports, the prime emphasis is falls on due diligence as this is the security and vetting procedures involved in each CBI programme ensure that morally questionable characters are excluded. The 2018 CBI Index highlights the due diligence process as a key component in differentiating the programmes.
CEO of due diligence experts S-RM, Heyrick Bond Gunning, stated that it:
“should be a staple of all CBI programmes that aspire to success and durability.”
Echoed from 2017 CBI Index, Dominica remains the world’s best CBI programme due to maintained high levels of timeliness and simplicity in process, an affordable investment threshold, and a robust due diligence framework. This result is a great testament and success to the nation of Dominica as their CBI programme has withstood the challenges presented by last year’s hurricane season. Dominica further serves as an admirable example of how CBI funds are used to improve the lives of its citizens, such as the recently announced construction of 5,000 new homes, financed entirely by the CBI programme.
With the latest upheaval over post-Brexit debates, this has ignited and raised awareness of the value of one’s citizenship and the certainty — or lack thereof — that it may hold. The impact of this can influence an inevitable result that freedom of movement is becoming a key element for investors to allocate their finances.
To find out more, please head over to the official CBI Index website at www.cbiindex.com.
Malta ranks first among all CBI Programmes for due diligence and compliance / 22nd August, 2018
The most recent changes made in the Spanish Golden Visa / 22nd August, 2018
Expansion of dependents who can accompany the investor
Elimination of the need to visit Spain to renew visa
Residence permit extension increased to 5 years
Initial visa validity increased to 6 months
PM Gaston Browne welcomes inquiry into mandatory vetting of Caribbean CIPS / 16th August, 2018
As a result of its popularity, Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua-Barbuda has stated:
“… that every application for Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment, under his administration has been subjected to the rigorous vetting process.”
Chief is it that all citizenship by investment programmes go through proper due diligence checks. This is and will continue to be an upmost priority as the question of proper due diligence has been a thorny issue, primarily for Caribbean CIPs. Bearing in mind that the due diligence worldwide will not uncover all negative information, efforts of the government are in action with high alerts on those who have committed acts against law via these thorough checks that are put in place.
PM Browne goes on to declare:
“In this regard, my government welcomes the initiative announced by Prime Minister Mitchell [of Grenada] as chairman of the Monetary Council. The position of Antigua and Barbuda has always been, and remains, that strict and intensive vetting is central to the credibility and integrity of the CIPs,”
The leader of the sovereign state of the Commonwealth, Antigua and Barbuda, continues:
“What occurs in one jurisdiction has an impact on all; it is, therefore, imperative that full vetting
of applicants, be carried out and that it be strong and intensive. In this regard, my government
and its authorities will cooperate fully with an inquiry into whether all countries are subjecting
to their applicants to vetting by the regional and international crime agencies, and the sooner
the inquiry starts the better.”
Not only is this a prime factor of safeguarding applicants and new citizens, it is essential that
consultancy agencies are in the scope of these meticulous vetting procedures. Coates Global
assures that all their authorised agents and qualified lawyers who assist with the programmes
have been certified by each country’s government, ensuring that they correlate to the citizenship
and visa legislations set in place, including vetting protocols.
The latest Portuguese citizenship legislation updates / 15th August, 2018
As of recent, the Portuguese Immigration department (SEF) are planning to update 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
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
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:
SINGLE APPLICANT: $150,000
MAIN APPLICANT + THREE DEPENDENTS: $195,000
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,”
“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.