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2nd Citizenship and Residence: Trends and Opportunities Against Backdrop of COVID

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The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has affected all areas of our lives. The world is forced to change and adapt to new conditions. While some industries are suffering catastrophic losses, the industry of migration services is digitalizing and reaching a new level. In this article, we explore the social and economic impact of COVID-19, as well as the trends and new opportunities of today’s international migration market. 

Global changes in the economic and social spheres in the era of COVID-19 

Due to the post-COVID-19 crisis, more and more residents of different states are looking for opportunities to secure a stable future for themselves and their families. It is the desire of people to move to another country in an easy and convenient way that has increased the frequency of online requests for immigration investment programs which we will discuss in detail below.

The Economic Situation in the Age of Coronavirus 

In April 2021, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published a ” World Economic Outlook 2020-2021 ” report. According to the experts, global GDP was to fall by about 3%, which is even worse than the situation during the global economic crisis of 2008-2009. However, as early as June 2021, the IMF changed its forecasts and lowered the expected level of the global GDP to -4,9 % this year. 

IMF analysts expect the economies of most European countries to decline by more than 10 %, and the U.S. economy ‒ by about 8 %. Despite the fact, that China is the initial hotspot of the pandemic, the country’s GDP will not be negative and will increase by 1%. The developing markets of Asia and Latin America will feel the negative impact of the current crisis particularly strongly. 

Nevertheless, we should not give 100% credence to the IMF’s assumptions for the coming years. The disastrous forecasts for the period of the global economic crisis of 2008-2009 never became a reality. It is also important to remember that the post-COVID-19 crisis is not caused by mass bankruptcies, unlike the previous one. The main threat in the current situation can be called inflation, the gradual growth of which is caused by a decrease in consumer demand for goods and the inflow of cheap money into the economy.

Impact of the COVID-19 crisis on material and social values

The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to reevaluate our priorities and think about the importance of financial stability in these volatile times. People around the world have realized the value of security, awareness, and, of course, health. 

Wealthy people are seeking to convert money into safe financial assets, thereby securely preserving and increasing it over time. Safe tangible and intangible assets to invest in, even during a post-COVID-19 economic downturn, include: 

  • Gold. It is considered to be the safest asset for investment, because the value of this precious metal has been growing steadily throughout history and is virtually unaffected by fluctuations in the international economic market.
  • Real estate. Purchasing a property abroad can serve as the ground for foreigners to obtain a residence permit or citizenship, and allow entry into that country even during the quarantine period. Many governments are fostering migration-by-investment programs, since the restrictions, caused by the COVID-19 crisis, have made investors wary of buying properties abroad. 
  • Hard currency. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift away from cash in favor of non-cash payment systems because of the high likelihood of virus transmission through paper banknotes. However, bank deposits in the U.S., Japan and EU countries are now virtually unprofitable, as interest rates are at 0%.
  • Cryptocurrency. The unofficial name for bitcoin is “digital gold”. Despite the volatility, e-cash is in high demand, unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic. For example, in 2021, El Salvador became the first state to recognize cryptocurrency as legal tender and even issued $30 in bitcoins to everyone in the country.
  • Bank account. Prudent people know that having a bank account in a stable and secure offshore region can guarantee the safety of funds in case of deterioration of economic situation in the country of residence. There are over 50 offshore jurisdictions in the world, the most popular of which are Cyprus, Virgin Islands, Panama, Liechtenstein, Mauritius and Seychelles. 
  • Shares. With a detailed study of stock market trends and the potential of a particular company, buying shares becomes an excellent investment, even during the current crisis. For example, in 2020, Netflix shares rose in value from $325 to $540, and Zoom Video Communications rose from $67 to $337.  

Trends of growing interest in second citizenship and residence 

Yet, the migration market is at its peak, as evidenced by statistics on demand for existing residence and citizenship by investment programs in 2020. 

Number of applicants for investment immigration programs in 2020 (according to the IMI Data Center)

2020
Turkey CIP (est. for Jan 1 – May 31, 2020) 5552
US EB-5 2577
Dominica CIP 1896
Thailand Elite 1783
Australia BIIP 1768
Portugal GV 1182
Greece GV 938
Spain GV 845
Vanuatu DSP (Through Aug 14th, 2020) 376
Grenada CIP 375
Antigua & Barbuda CIP 366
Ireland IIP 267
New Zealand IV 240
UK Tier 1 Investor 216
South Korea Investor Visa (Through Q2, 2020) 145
Saint Lucia CIP 143
Latvia GV 30

Reasons for immigration by investment

According to the Investment Migration Executive 2021 survey of RCBI clients, the reasons of interest in obtaining citizenship or residence by investment are: 

  • need for mobility and the ability to travel freely (67% of respondents); 
  • desire to reside in another country for a long-time period (8 %); 
  • ensuring access to quality education for family members (6 %); 
  • military conflicts and the political situation in the country (5%); 
  • desire to protect one’s assets (5%); 
  • tax optimization (3%); 
  • opportunity to enter the global economic market (3%). 

Even residents of economically developed and fairly stable states are looking for opportunities to move to other countries. For example, Americans are interested in investment migration and want to give up their current citizenship for the following reasons: 

  • the increasing taxation under the new government; 
  • the ability to travel without restriction with another country’s residence permit or alternative citizenship; 
  • the social polarization of American society; 
  • the growth of white-collar jobs that allow people to work remotely and leave jurisdictions with high prices and taxes.

New opportunities for second citizenship and residence: the iworld.com project

The development of technology and the worldwide accessibility of the Internet makes it easier and faster to find any information and solve issues. The international migration market is also evolving and becoming digitalized. The statistics of the inquiries for migration services in search engines is growing year by year, as shown by the data in the table below.

Type of service  Growth in the number of online enquiries for 2015-2021, %
Citizenship                                                                                                     33 % 
Residence permit                                                                                                      29 % 

As a result of the demand, migration companies promote themselves on the Internet and advertise their services and benefits. The online environment is crowded with a huge number of service providers, which only complicates the process of choosing and creates the following problemsfor a user: 

  • lack of a single source containing feedback on various migration companies; 
  • there is no opportunity to get reliable information about all services on one website; 
  • it is difficult to make a choice between 100+ migration companies on a single website. 

The international marketplace iworld.com was created to solve the problems of clients and migration service providers. The founders of the project aimed at creating a multilingual resource that would bring together migrants and service providers from different countries to meet their needs.

iWorld.com provides clients with a convenient and easy way of choosing the most suitable service provider from a list of verified companies, and for finding detailed information about current migration options around the world. 

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In turn, iWorld.com gives service providers the tools they need to attract clients and work effectively with them. Signing up for the Marketplace helps migrant companies achieve the following goals:

  • strengthen the position on the actively developing market and launch new services; 
  • get a steady inflow of clients from the target regions;
  • take leading positions in search engine rankings;
  • build a positive reputation on the Internet by receiving a customer feedback; 
  • confirm the reliability of the company by passing the certification.

Against the background of the modern world and quarantine restrictions, the website iworld.com is an indispensable assistant in obtaining and providing migration services, as it solves the actual problems of both clients and service providers.

How to start using the iworld.com marketplace 

In order to get a high-quality migration service from a reliable company on iworld.com, the client needs to follow a few simple steps: 

  1. Go to iworld.com
  2. Sign up. 
  3. Choose the country you would like to move to.
  4. Choose the country of residence.
  5. Select the main goal of your immigration. 
  6. Click the ” Search” button. 
  7. View the search result. 
  8. Choose a company and a suitable service. 
  9. Contact the service provider in any convenient way. 

In order to start cooperation with iworld.com and get clients, a migration company needs to follow these steps: 

  1. Sign up as a Partner. 
  2. Sign in to the personal account and fill out the profile.
  3. Choose and activate one or several suitable subscription types (“Immigration”, “Business and investments”, “Visas”). 
  4. Publish actual services provided by company. 
  5. Use all the advantages of working with the marketplace. 

Second citizenship and residency trends against the backdrop of COVID-19: How the statistics have changed 

The image of the investment immigration market has changed quite a bit since 2019, influenced by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Investment Migration Executive 2021 survey, the list of the largest sources of migrant investors includes:  

Middle East — 47 % (- 9 % compared to 2019), China — 16 % (+ 1 %), North America — 11 % (+11 %), Subcontinental Asia — 8 % (+ 5 %), South-East Asia — 8 % (% of migrants unchanged).

The most rapidly growing segments of the migration market are distributed as follows: North America — 26 % of migrants; the Middle East — 21 %; Africa — 18 %; Subcontinental Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) — 16 %; South-East Asia — 11 %.

In April 2020, IMIdaily conducted a “COVID-19 Market Impact” survey asking RCBI executives to predict the popularity of the following investment immigration programs in the face of the pandemic:

EU residency — 30 %; non-EU CIP (Caribbean, Vanuatu) — 16.67 %; EU business/start-up visas — 10 %; non-EU European CIP — 6.67 %; EU Member States CIP — 6.67 %.

The number of approved applications for investment and migration programs decreased, but not because of a decline in demand. Since many countries’ policies imposed strict restrictions on border crossings and government agencies were not fully operational, the processing of residence and citizenship applications was considerably slower. Nevertheless, statistics on the 10 largest investment migration programs indicate rapid growth of the industry even in the post-COVID-19 period.

Migration program    Approved applications in 2020 compared to 2019
Turkey CIP  + 220 % 
Vanuatu DSP + 25 % 
Thailand Elite Visa + 23 % 
Dominica CIP  + 4 % 
Portugal Golden Visa  – 5 % 
U.S. EB-5  – 30 % 
Australia BIIP  – 40 % 
Spain Golden Visa  – 42 % 
Greece Golden Visa – 85 % 

According to a survey conducted among executives of leading RCBI companies, the most popular in 2020 investment migration programs were: 

  • Portugal Golden Visa (21 %); 
  • St. Kitts and Nevis CIP (13 %); 
  • Vanuatu DSP (13 %); 
  • Investor Visa in New Zealand (11 %); 
  • Grenada CIP (8 %); 
  • Turkey CIP (8 %); 
  • Montenegro CIP (5 %); 
  • St. Lucia CIP (5 %); 
  • Other programs (16 %). 

The list of programs, that dropped significantly in popularity during the 12 months of 2020, includes: 

  • Cyprus CIP (24 %); 
  • Malta IIP (15 %); 
  • U.S. EB-5 (15 %); 
  • Antigua and Barbuda CIP (9 %); 
  • Dominica CIP (6 %); 
  • Grenada CIP (6 %); 
  • Quebec IIP (6 %); 
  • Other programs (15 %). 

Thus, according to the 2021 Investment Migration Executive Survey, the best-selling investment and migration program in 2020 was Portuguese Golden Visa. Survey respondents forecast that due to favorable conditions for obtaining residence, Portugal will once again take first place in 2021 (21 %). Other popular programs will be the following: 

  • St. Kitts and Nevis CIP (14 %); 
  • North Macedonia CIP (7 %); 
  • Dominica CIP (4.8 %); 
  • Malta PRP (4.8 %); 
  • St. Lucia CIP (4.8 %); 
  • U.S. EB-5 (4.8 %); 
  • Vanuatu DSP (4.8 %); 
  • Turkey CIP (4.8 %); 
  • other programs (29 %). 

The bottom line

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy will largely depend on the duration, severity and frequency of quarantine restrictions. Some branches of the economy have suffered an extremely negative impact, while others have remained on track for future growth and development.

Such industries as tourism, aviation and power have suffered catastrophic losses due to the coronavirus lockdowns and are just beginning to recover from the blow. Many companies will no longer be able to recover and take pre-crisis positions on the market. Those, that manage to do so, will have to adapt to the post-COVID-19 reality with its constant limitations.

The COVID-19 crisis has also affected the migration market, prompting its digitalization and an increase in the number of applications for residence permits, citizenship and other services. The Internet has become in need of a one-stop website that could solve the problems of both immigrants and service providers.

Now, there is the iworld.com marketplace. It provides migrants with an opportunity to choose a reliable company and a suitable service.  It also gives service providers the tools to bring in clients and work with them successfully. All of this makes iworld.com a perfect solution for those, who want to get a proper migration service and to provide it.

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