The passport you own is an accident of birth and yet for many people the limitations of this pocket-sized document soon become apparent.
That’s why in this ever more complicated world — politically, socially and economically — obtaining second citizenship is a soaring trend.
A person with a second citizenship is a citizen of two nations at the same time. Dual citizenship, as it is also known, is very intricate, so it’s vital those applying for it comprehend the advantages and commitments.
One route is citizenship by investment (CBI). For nearly 40 years, these schemes have been the hot ticket to a new nationality. Indeed, CBI is now offered by a number of countries to encourage foreign investment and generate revenues.
Have passport, will travel
Increasingly, in this globally connected world, moneyed individuals are looking at a new passport as a way of gaining access to new markets and greater visa-free travel and mobility. They are also looking to diversify their investments and businesses and gain access to better healthcare and educational opportunities.
Clients are becoming more sophisticated and informed when investing. And they are increasingly choosing the real estate option to acquire an asset as opposed to donating capital.
Mimoun A. Assraoui, CEO of RIF Trust and Vice-Chairman of Latitude Group, specialists in this area, has watched this global trend grow.
“Clients are becoming more sophisticated and informed when investing,” he says. “And they are increasingly choosing the real estate option to acquire an asset as opposed to donating capital.
“Many of the qualifying real estate projects have existing properties, which permit clients to immediately start earning rental income.
“A popular selling feature for the Caribbean CBI investors, for example, is that many of the properties provide the ability to access a global network of hotels and resorts, which allows clients worldwide vacation choices.
“European CBI investors benefit from warranty and buy-back options on their real estate investments.”
According to a YouGov survey in June, six in ten UAE residents wish to relocate from the country to a destination other than their home country. The survey found that education for their children, a better standard of living, and visa-free travel from a strong second passport were the key drivers for relocating to another country.
“The three major factors that UAE residents look at when they decide to migrate are opportunity, security and family,” says Clint Khan, Director at one of the leading immigration and visa consultants Y-Axis.
The three major factors that UAE residents look at when they decide to migrate are opportunity, security and family.
“While they are happy earning a tax-free salary and enjoying the UAE, they are sometimes insecure about being dependent on their employers for their visas,” he says. “The fact that they will have 30 days to return to their home country if they lose their job makes them want to have a backup.
“Family can be another big reason for them to move to countries that offer a permanent residency as their spouses can work full-time without any restrictions and children can get medical and education benefits — all of these are part of many advantages one receives by becoming a permanent resident in a few countries.”
Canada, Australia and New Zealand are top destinations that meet the above points, says Khan, as these countries offer a skill-based permanent resident visa without a huge investment of buying a property. But people are also looking wider.
Opportunities in Europe
“There are a lot of clients who are looking to emigrate to Europe too, especially Germany where they can get a job-seeker visa,” he says. “They can get a six-months visa with which they can go to Germany and legally apply for jobs and convert the visa to work permit.
Austria is popular too, adds Khan. “People can apply for the Austrian Red-White-Red card immigration scheme. It’s also a point system and if they meet the eligibility criteria they can apply for the visa.”
Drivers of skill-based immigration
A study conducted by the research team at the recently concluded International Real Estate and Investment Show in Abu Dhabi states that the demand for international migration is rising among UAE residents, a 20 per cent increase in 2018 compared to the previous year.
Many Gulf residents look at migrating after the completion of their working careers or contracts since they can’t remain in the Gulf indefinitely. The others look at migrating so that their children can enjoy lower education and healthcare fees as permanent residents in these countries.
“Many Gulf residents look at migrating after the completion of their working careers or contracts since they can’t remain in the Gulf indefinitely,” says Sanji A. Caldera, Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Sanji Caldera Associates. “The others look at migrating so that their children can enjoy lower education and healthcare fees as permanent residents in these countries.”
Immigration has always been a driver of economic and demographic growth for many countries. The coming new decade is sure to see that only escalate.