Mimoun A. Assraoui, CEO, RIF Trust
As a leading consultant in the field of immigration what does your firm bring to the table that is unique?
RIF Trust is one of the few fully licensed and government-approved advisories with 13 offices and 70 staff globally, offering over 20 different citizenship and residency by investment solutions in the Caribbean, Europe, and North America. Unlike many of our direct competitors, RIF Trust has over eight years of experience serving over 1,000 clients and their families and offer post-citizenship/residency services.
Which countries in your opinion are rising destinations for citizenship by investment programmes and why?
Clients seeking greater visa-free travel are now choosing Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Kitts, St Lucia, Grenada with an E2 Investor Visa, and Vanuatu. Clients do not have to travel to apply and recent updates have made these countries more attractive and affordable for families.
Clients looking to relocate to countries with strong healthcare systems and prime real estate investment opportunities are choosing Portugal, Malta and Cyprus as these countries offer a path to citizenship and handled the pandemic very well.
Does RIF Trust offer any data on millennial preferences in terms of immigration options, which are their destinations of choice and why?
Millennials value fast processing times and are choosing Caribbean countries and Vanuatu as they can obtain their passport in under four months and have the option of a government donation or real estate investment.
Jeremy Savory, Founder and CEO, Savory and Partners
Which countries in your opinion are rising destinations for citizenship by investment programmes and why?
The Caribbean citizenship by investment nations have had almost a decade of popularity. St Kitts and Nevis, as the oldest such programme, retains popularity, more so now with its recent Limited Time Offer to the Sustainable Growth Fund.
Vanuatu’s recent prominence in the Middle East market is driven by its comparable pricing and marginally faster file processing relative to some Caribbean jurisdictions.
As one of the oldest and most established immigration consultants in the world, how do you see the industry evolving in a Covid world?
Covid-19 is sweeping through 2020 while changing us as individuals and nations. The lockdown has made us more compassionate within our families and immediate communities; meanwhile, relations between nations have become more strained than at any point in recent history. Travel restrictions and trade wars may have tempered globalisation, but economic headwinds will lead to new citizenship by investment programmes as nations look to fill budget shortfalls. More choice will result in more discerning immigrant investors. A second citizenship that offers visa-free travel and tax advantages, but also residency, healthcare and education benefits at a price that satisfies the country and the investor is key. It must be a win-win for all stakeholders.
Saadiya Saadat, Managing Director, Secondpass Global
How do you read the shift in consumer focus on immigration during the pandemic?
For one, it has definitely been very positive and eye-opening. In this time of uncertainty, there is no better time than to plan for a second citizenship or residency to secure the future of one’s family and business. Most of our clients are savvy HNWI Investors and are looking for a plan B to mitigate the risks of this pandemic. When the majority of country borders are shut for non-citizens/non-residents and embassies are closed for new visas while those that are open are extremely stringent in issuing new visas, there is no option but to see the value of a second passport or a PR card. Our clients understand that, especially now with so many good offers in the citizenship and residency by investment industry the time is right to think about immigration, whether it be for ease- of-travel reasons or to migrate to a new country to start a new life.
Have you seen traction for second citizenship by investment for countries in the Caribbean in the past few months? If yes, why?
As stated earlier, with clients looking for a plan B to mitigate Covid-19 risks and so many great offers from the Caribbean nations there is no better time than to get one’s second passport in as little as two to three months.
Which have been your most successful residency by investment programmes and why?
The most successful residency by investment programmes are always European (EU). Within these, the ones most popular among clients are Portugal, followed by Greece and Malta. The first two offer property investment based PRs while the latter is a relatively cheaper route to EU residency. Portugal is #1 as the country not only offers immediate PR but an EU passport as well, in six years.
Gregor Nassief, Proprietor, Secret Bay
As citizenship by investment options go, the Residences at Secret Bay programme is pretty unique. Could you share some details on the same?
We are the only government-approved CBI project in Dominica with an existing product where investors can purchase an operating asset with rental demand, returns and a competitive exit strategy in a robust resale market. As an entrepreneur and being proprietor of the property, I’m committed to ensuring the future success of Secret Bay. CBI owners also have access to global reciprocity via Third Home.
What makes Dominica a popular destination for its citizenship by investment programme?
In addition to the benefits of 90-day application processing and visa-free travel to 130 countries, Dominican citizenship can be passed to future generations without wealth, gift, inheritance, foreign income or capital gains tax. Plus, Dominica is unspoilt by mass tourism and The Residences offer a low-density setting spread across acres of pristine rainforest.
Please share some details on the residential style villas at Secret Bay and what makes them a standout?
The Residences at Secret Bay features 42 villas between 1,356 and 5,128 square feet, each with a private plunge pool, state-of-the-art kitchen and abundant indoor/outdoor living space. Owners have privileged access to six-star resort amenities and services, including the open-air Zing Zing restaurant, treetop Gommier Spa and a dedicated villa host.
Vrinda Gupta, Managing Partner, Vazir Group
Why is there so much of interest in Canada within the sector and what are the special programmes you offer to those applying for immigration to Canada?
Interest in Canada comes from the benefits a person enjoys the moment he becomes a resident: free healthcare, free education with huge reduction in tuition fees for universities, the right to reside and work anywhere in Canada, no tax on global income, dual citizenship, and the right to apply for a Canadian passport after living three years out of five in Canada.
In addition to our investment programmes we have added new programmes specially designed for the hard times that we are facing: the Foreign Worker Programme and Skilled Worker Programme, with both offering work permits. There are others that offer direct permanent residency for the entire family.
How important is a tailored immigration strategy in the scheme of things?
For us it is vital. Each client is unique, has his own background - education, work experience, family and financial situation and so on. The immigration solution cannot be taken out from a shelf. We have the ability to adapt the programme according to the client’s needs and we offer a custom solution that helps him achieve his immigration dream in the shortest possible time.
Could you share some information on your foreign worker and skilled worker programmes and how they can benefit prospective applicants?
The Foreign Worker Programme is the fastest programme to migrate to Canada by relocating with a secured job provided through Vazir Group. The programme is for the main applicant and his family. Vazir Group provides a job for the main applicant, work permit for the spouse and study permits for children to study in any public school. We can assist the applicant for the submission of the permanent residency if the applicant solicits it.
Inspired from our famous Foreign Worker Programmes, the Provincial Immigration Programme was designed to be flexible and easy, providing direct permanent residency and is for the main applicant and his family.
The Skilled Worker Programme is designed just for the applicant, based on his skills and experience and provides a work permit specially in sectors such as healthcare, logistics, IT and more.
For example, we have a huge demand from Canada for IT and tech professionals who can now benefit from special immigration fees: up to $27,000 and the opportunity to immigrate along with their family.
Sid Syed, Director, Aqua Investments
Please share some details on the Caribbean and Turkey citizenship programmes being offered by Aqua Investments?
Aqua Investments is a one-stop solution offering exceptional range of bespoke investment programmes and services for you and your family to secure a safe future. We specialise in UK and European residency programmes along with citizenship by investment for Turkey and the Caribbean through which you can obtain a second passport.
Could you share some details on the UK residency programme from Aqua and what it entails in terms of property investments?
We have seen a big surge in applications over the pandemic period for our UK residency programmes. We offer two main programmes – first is a sole representative business residency programmes where the eligibility is based on having an established company with the intention of opening a branch of this in the UK while being a minority shareholder or holding a senior position in the company. This allows you and your family to get residency and benefit from free healthcare and education from day one. The second programme that we have is the Innovator programmes, which is for people who do not have an established business but have experience within any respective field. You can start your own new business or invest in a new business in the UK with a minimum of 50,000 pounds investment. The whole process for both the programmes are speedy and can be done within 3 months for the full family with no nationality or age restrictions.
Are there any new focus countries that people are showing interest in to migrate to after the pandemic started?
For individuals that are looking for a second passport right away, we also offer Turkey citizenship, which requires a minimum investment of $250,000 into one or more properties in Turkey for which we have a range of selection. We also have other options such as the Caribbean citizenship programmes where by property investment of $220,000 citizenship, passport can be achieved in three months. This citizenship gives you visa-free travel access to more than 140 countries. Overall, Aqua Investment’s role is to help our clients from the first consultation until the client obtains their residence permit, through to getting the passport and any other support required.
Janice Williamson, General Manager, Next Generation Equity
NGE advises its valued clients on which citizenship or residency programme and investment option is best suited to their requirements. While facilitating the application and investment process for its clients, its portfolio of services allows NGE to prepare and assist with required documents and complete the investment transaction until the clients obtain new passport or residency.
What are NGE’s key programmes for residency and citizenship by investment?
Our most popular citizenship programmes are those from the Caribbean including Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and St Kitts & Nevis. This is due to the quick process of only four months and visa-free access to over 140 countries including the UK and EU Schengen states. Cyprus is our most popular European citizenship option allowing the new citizen to reside anywhere in the EU but requires a higher investment than the other programmes. Portugal and Malta have been our most popular residency programmes with both options allowing access to the EU Schengen states.
Jorawar Singh, Managing Director, Stratix Consultants
Please share a brief history of the brand, when did Stratix Consultants set up shop and what is the group ethos that drives its staff?
Our company was started in 2014 with an office in Dubai, UAE and today proudly we have 9 offices in 6 countries which easily makes us the fastest-growing immigration company in Middle East. With a vision and determination to provide a one-stop solution for every type of immigration requirement, we offer skilled migration, citizenship/ residency through investment programmes, entrepreneur programmes and also study permits for students across 20 plus countries. We believe in complete transparency in making an individual aspiration of relocating to a new country by following a realistic approach and by never overpromising on our deliverables. We hence have the highest success rate in terms of relocation of families or individuals to their new second home.
Which are the top global destinations for students choosing to study abroad and how can Stratix facilitate the move?
With the world shrinking day by day due to advances in technology and travel becoming more easier and shorter more parents are willing to send their children for overseas education. The preference of country of choice for education can be arranged in descending order with Canada followed by Australia, the US and the UK.
Pej Mohyeddin, Managing Director, Bayat Legal Services
How critical is it for migration applicants to consult a registered legal consultant?
It’s always best to consult and do business with firms that have been licensed by individual nations to process immigration applications. In our case all five Caribbean nations have licensed us to market and process immigration cases. In the case of countries that don’t have licensing like Canada, make sure you are dealing with a professional entity that is registered. However, most importantly it’s not about who is registered and who is not, it’s about the fact that the listener has to be intelligent, the seller can say whatever he wants, the applicant needs to analyse and ensure what’s being said makes sense. For instance the donation for Dominica is $200,000, the government website states the figure. Now, if a consultant says that he can get it done for less, you are taking a chance.
In your view, which three Caribbean nations are attracting interest from applicants for citizenship by investment?
The one that’s attracting the most interest internationally would be Grenada because of its E2 options. This is followed by Dominica and then St Kitts. These are the best known ones. In my opinion, St Lucia is also interesting as it does not have any past history of citizenship by investment.
How easy is it to get residency in Portugal and Greece, and how does Bayat Legal facilitate the same?
It’s rather easy to get residency in both these countries; the fees are more reasonable for one. Also, I favour Portugal because as per the law within five years from now, you actually have three options to renew your five-year residency and change to permanent residency, or apply for citizenship. The requirement in this regard is simple, just learn basic Portuguese so you can manage to hold an intelligent conversation in the language within say five years, so as to get Portuguese citizenship and become an EU citizen.
Preeya Malik, Managing Director, Step Global
What makes Step Global’s portfolio of services unique?
Step Global is a full-service immigration firm which takes clients through the entire process. Our firm is unique in that it provides bespoke tailored solutions for each family based on their goals and plans for the future.
Which are your three most successful immigration through investment programmes and why?
The most popular programmes are the United States EB-5, E-2 and L-1 Programmes; Canadian Provincial Entrepreneur Programmes; and Portugal Golden Visa Programmes.
What are the benefits that clients get from Step Global’s real estate by investment programme?
Our clients have the benefit of licensed lawyers working on each file and access to a team who has had a 100% track record of success. We are readily available. As a boutique firm, we have the luxury of providing each client the personal attention they deserve.
Clint Khan, Director, Y-Axis Middle East
At Y-Axis you don’t sell, you counsel. Could you elaborate on this statement?
Our core competence lies in being a career counsellor where we aim to inspire, motivate, counsel, convince and persuade. We see ourselves as someone to whom people come with a dream that they aspired for all life, some even with their last hopes pinned on us. What we do affects lives and livelihood and that is why we take our job very seriously and personally.
What our clients are comfortable with is the trust of our brand and the transparency of our process, which is backed by a proper legal agreement. Our global resettlement services offer end-to-end solutions allowing you to land in any country and feel our support until you settle down permanently.
The immigration process can be a daunting task for many. How does Y-Axis help its patrons make the journey seamless?
At Y-Axis the whole immigration process is managed as a stage-wise process, which makes it less daunting for our clients. We treat the immigration process as a multiple stage process where a client will be helped through every stage by a counsellor exclusively delegated to help the client. The dedicated counsellor breaks down and simplifies the migration process, by helping the clients understand the process, requirements and documentation at each stage, provides regular updates and helps the client in putting together the right documentation attesting his/her eligibility for the permanent visa and submitting the required documents.
We use the highest level of technology with Salesforce.com as our CRM and we are powered by 3CX for our telephone system.
Y-Axis is registered with the office of Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) for Australian immigration and the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), the national regulatory body that oversees regulated Canadian immigration professionals and we are bound by a code of conduct.
We are also endorsed and associated with some of the biggest brands like Salesforce.com and are British Council’s trusted registration centre.
Syed Jafar, General Manager, Cosmos Immigration
Why is it critical for immigration services to be registered entities?
Registered consultants are well informed of the latest immigration updates and are trained to represent application with no errors, which protects the application. With the increasing fraudulence in the market, having a registered consultant (ICCRC, MARA, IAA) would save the applicant’s time and money as they are required to follow stringent guidelines.
Cosmos specialises in skilled and business migration as well as the study abroad programme. Could you share the firm’s strengths in these fields?
Cosmos has a brilliant team of experienced solicitors and immigration lawyers in respective countries that understands the applicant’s needs and interests to provide customised solutions within the legal framework of immigration to provide end-to-end service for all nationalities. We offer services for permanent residency, business immigration (investment), study permit and temporary resident visa, and visit visa.
Could you share a couple of tips on how immigrants can succeed in Canada’s job market?
Firstly, you need to secure a valid permanent residency visa / be a Canadian citizen, to stand out from other applicants. Starting your job search in Canada can be daunting, so follow a systematic approach. Your resume is your first impression; keep it professionally crisp and updated. We at Cosmos liaise our clients exclusively with resume formatting and post-landing services, which include guidance to recruiters and placement agencies to make the settlement easier. Be very much selective in your approach. Do not apply for all the job postings. Initiate social networking, attend professional events and job fairs. It is indeed helpful to reach out to the right employer. Get your qualifications assessed to ensure you meet Canadian education standards. Last but not least, be proactive.
Elina M. Nikolaevna, General Manager, Illimite Migration
How unique are Illimite’s portfolio of services?
We have a unique qualified team here at Illimite, supervised and aided by legal professionals. We focus on quality, dedication and passion in our work. Our mission of improving the lives of the people who are entrusting us and feeding us with positive feedback and reviews is what has kept this team going and allowed us to thrive in the industry. Additionally, Illimite’s service portfolio, which includes residency by investment also processes applications for the coveted UK Innovator Visa (for investors) and Sole Representative Visa, which essentially allows a senior employee (individually) of an overseas business to enter the UK and establish to run a registered UK branch or a wholly owned subsidiary of the business in the UK.
How does Illimite help serve its clients better?
Illimite Migration is a one-stop shop for a better life destination. The team specialises in immigration processing, from the first step of the application until receiving the visa or having the second passport, which is the dream of every non-native speaking national who aspires to be in his respective destination. We offer a bouquet of services to our valued clientele such as the Canadian and Australian immigration applications, options for permanent residency by investment, citizenship by investment, processing visit and tourist visas. Moreover, we also have an in-house training session for IELTS (International English Language Testing System).
What has been the response Illimite has received on the innovative Caribbean CBI programmes?
Illimite receives a lot of requests for processing second passport through citizenship by investment programmes for nations in the Caribbean. Through the years, we have processed numerous amounts of successful applications in the CBI sector for Caribbean nations such as Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis and this continues to increase.