Virtual conference on immigration by investment and acquisition of real estate
An online virtual conference entitled “Immigration by investment to the EU, the UK, the USA, and Canada. Acquisition of real estate to support immigration” will provide information on investment in different countries including Canada. Canadian Immigrant is one of the sponsors of the event.
When: 18 March 2021 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. UK Time
Registration: Link here (attendance is free)
The event is organized by International Luxury Property Concierge Service Group (ILP Group), a company that brings a series of international conferences and exhibitions for the global real estate market and residency and citizenship by investment industry.
In addition to learning about opportunities in Canada, attendees will hear from industry professionals on residence by investment programs, application procedures and receive hands-on advice on real estate investing. The conference will cover a variety of topics, including residency and citizenship in Canada, the UK as a destination for foreign investors,EB-5 investments, citizenship investment programs in Malta, Portugal and Spain, how to get a second passport in a Caribbean country and investment opportunities in the Cypriot real estate market. Learn more about the event here.
Kseniya Korzun, General Manager at ILP Group, who will be presenting at the event, shares her thoughts on residency and citizenship by investment programs and opportunities for investment in the Q&A below.
Why do so many EU countries offer residency and citizenship by investment programs? How do they benefit from them?
Korzun: Designed mainly to attract foreign investment, such programs boost the economy, create jobs and drive innovation. This is a huge market! In 2019 alone investment immigration programs generated a total of 21.4 billion dollars in revenue worldwide. Unlike employment or unauthorized immigration, it has nothing but a positive effect. There are some risks however, including illegal capital inflows. That is why most EU governments are ratcheting up due diligence procedures and banks are imposing stricter KYC requirements.
What privileges and limitations are envisaged for applicants?
Korzun: Every country has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some countries, e.g. in the Caribbean region, offer fast-track citizenship options and visa-free access to more than 100 countries, including the EU, the UK, and the USA. These programs are quite affordable but most investors do not actually plan to move to any of these countries. If a prospective immigrant is actually looking to relocate, he would rather opt for the EU with its benign business environment, well-developed healthcare system and high-quality education. One of the most coveted programs is the Portugal Golden Visa. Beginning 1 January 2022, the minimum investment threshold to qualify for residency will increase from 350,000 to 500,000 euros. No wonder, the interest in this program is now at all times high as so many investors are trying to obtain their visas before the changes come into effect. This situation is reminiscent of that with the USA’s EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, when the minimum investment required was 500,000 US dollars and the expected increase triggered a surge in demand.
What properties qualify for immigrant investment programs?
Korzun: Again, eligibility and qualification requirements vary from country to country. For instance, in the USA and the Caribbean, investment projects are to be approved by the government. Most European countries set a minimum investment threshold and investors may choose the property at their discretion.
Apart from real estate, are there any other qualifying investment opportunities?
Korzun: You can start your own business or expand an existing business into the country. Other options include government-funded projects, industry, infrastructure, arts & culture, science, and you name it, of which many can be even more profitable and exciting. Every country has its own peculiarities, however. Surprisingly, most immigrants are not even aware of the variety of investment opportunities available to them.
Do applicants need proof of funds? What are the most common reasons for rejection?
Korzun: When you submit an application for a residence permit or passport, you will be requested to verify your source of funds. Valid evidences may include a tax return, wage and tax statement from your employer or documents of title. The application can be rejected if the investor fails to prove that the money was earned in a lawful way and all the taxes were paid, or if the investor’s business or public reputation was found to be unsavoury. To be honest, refusals are quite common but professional immigration lawyers will guide you through the entire procedure and help you with the paperwork, which will significantly improve your chances of approval.
What other costs should be added to the investment amount when applying for the program? Processing fees, solicitor fees, agent fees?
Korzun: Regulations and procedures differ from country to country. On average, hiring a lawyer will cost you from 10,000 to 50,000 euros. The processing fee is usually quite small. Agent fees are normally paid by the developer, so having an agent to help you find the right property to fit your needs will not affect the bottom line. However, certain exceptions may take place.
How long does it take to obtain a residence permit? Can it be done remotely?
Korzun: Everything can be done by correspondence these days. In the EU, it works smoothly and efficiently. Speaking of terms, for European countries it may take around six months, in the Caribbean the processing time is roughly the same. If you are interested in the USA or Canada, you may have to wait for up to several years. In some countries there are also fast-track (accelerated) schemes available with the application processing time reduced to up to three months. But the paperwork is quite time-consuming. Be sure your submission is in compliance with all the requirements, and nothing is missing.
EU governments are now discontent with investment immigration programs. What will be the fallout of the recent passports-for-sale scandal in Cyprus?
Korzun; Giving forecasts is a difficult task but based on the current dynamics, I’d dare say that the requirements will get tougher, screening and vetting of applications will be enhanced, the immigration cap will be cut, and the processing time will be extended. I.e. such programs will become less accessible to applicants and more secure for governments. Now all countries in the world are making serious effort to combat corruption, money laundering, and terrorism. A host of laws have been enacted to ensure safe information exchange and curb cybercrimes. New regulations won’t pose a problem to bona fide investors but may affect the processing time.