Investment migration people in the news this week included:
- Dominic Volek
- Nadine Goldfoot
- Armand Arton
- Paddy Blewer
- Nestor Alfred
- David Lesperance
- Sam Bayat
- Juerg Steffen
“They’re now realizing: Let’s actually get the contingency plan in place,” said Dominic Volek, Henley’s head of sales, said of his potential customers. “That’s why we’ve seen quite a spike now, not only in inquiries, but also in the families actually signing up and saying, ‘Let’s start the process.’”
Nadine Goldfoot, a managing partner at law firm Fragomen, said the pandemic has driven wealthy people to take action. “What is becoming and will continue to be very important now in people’s selection process is how the country has fared during the pandemic and how the government has approached it,” she said.
“This limitation of mobility has made more people aware of … the benefits of having more than one passport,” said Armand Arton, the president of financial firm Arton Capital, which specializes in citizenship through investment.
According to Paddy Blewer, public relations director of Henley & Partners, a firm that works with countries and individuals on citizenship-by-investment programs, investment migration “is a way for sovereign states to raise debt-free capital and also to drive further foreign direct investment — and combine these programs with other policy areas — to really enhance investment in certain industries.”[…]
Reputation management is top of mind for the host country, too. Nestor Alfred, the chief executive of the St. Lucia Citizenship by Investment Unit, says that part of the reason for the St. Lucia program’s intense vetting is to uphold the value of the country’s passport. It’s in St. Lucia’s best interest to stay in good standing with the 146 countries that allow St. Lucian passport holders visa-free travel.
Wealthy people sitting in developed countries where anti-billionaire rhetoric is ratcheting up are in “wildfire zones,” according to [David] Lesperance.
“What do you do when you’re in a wildfire zone?” he said. “Well, you engage in fire-prevention techniques. For an American, you may do things like harvest capital gains so I’m paying 23.5% as opposed to 48% or higher in the future. ‘I’m going to get fire insurance; I’m going to get alternate residences and citizenships; and I’m going to have a fire-escape plan in case of whatever it is.'”
The rogue agents who participate in undercutting do so not only at the expense of small countries seeking investment, therefore, but also at the expense of unsuspecting investors, who could find themselves facing the loss of their citizenship. This risk was highlighted by Sam Bayat, former president of the International Section of the Canadian Bar in Quebec and CEO of citizenship consultancy and law firm, Bayat Group. While talking with WIC News Bayat warned that applicants who obtain citizenship through illegally discounted real estate investments “could lose their investments or have their citizenships revoked.”
D’autres n’ont pas été rassurés par la réponse sanitaire dans leur pays. « Des clients américains nous ont expliqué qu’ils ne voulaient plus être aux Etats-Unis lors de la prochaine épidémie », témoigne Paddy Blewer, porte-parole du cabinet Henley & Partners. Ce n’est pas tant la suspension des vols commerciaux qui pose problème que la fermeture des frontières aux ressortissants étrangers pour cause de confinement. Dans ces circonstances, un jet privé n’est d’aucun secours. C’est un droit de résidence qu’il faut acheter. Un plan B réservé aux plus riches.
“Demand for these programs is accelerating, just as the supply has grown globally,” says Dr. Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, a company that helps people obtain citizenship in other countries. “Increasingly, nations and wealthy individuals see investment migration as more than a competitive advantage. Today, it is viewed as an absolute requirement in a volatile world.”[…]
The island of St. Lucia started offering residency to foreigners in 2015, and according to Nestor Alfred, CEO of the St. Lucia Citizenship by Investment Program, about 700 people have obtained passports since then. In May, the price to obtain citizenship was cut in half thanks to new “Covid-19 Relief” bonds: Through the end of 2020, it’ll cost $250,000 for an individual and $300,000 for a family of four. With a St. Lucia passport, you can get visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 146 global destinations.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.