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12 August, 2022

How the requirements for investors will change in 1-2 years: trends launched by the pandemic

The restrictions that countries have introduced in connection with the pandemic have marked new trends in the investment immigration industry.

Let's talk about changes in the procedures and conditions of citizenship and residence permit programs that have already begun or are expected in the coming years.

Investment Immigration Industry Trends
Photo: Adobe Stock

Transition of programs online

The personal presence of an investor who participates in the program has become optional or reduced to a minimum. This key trend manifested itself during the closed borders due to the pandemic. It was continued today, in the face of a difficult geopolitical situation.

Citizens of some countries cannot freely travel to the program country due to visa restrictions. Therefore, the possibility of remote participation in the program is not just a convenience for the investor. This is a matter of effective attraction of external investments for countries where residence permit and citizenship programs operate.

Svetlana Gorchakova Head of the Sales Department
Svetlana Gorchakova
Head of the Sales Department

The changes are not limited to the government departments that manage the programs. Software agents - companies with appropriate government licenses - are also changing their processes.

The licensed agent is responsible for preparing the package of documents and submitting the investor's application. Accordingly, remote work with a client sets several tasks for the agent at once:

  • Organize a remote exchange of documents, preferably online;
  • Protect the personal data of investors not only during storage, but also in the process of exchanging documents;
  • Keep all services remote.

Immigrant Invest does not just help clients prepare a standard package of documents. The investor documents the legality of the income and the origin of the money that he will spend on participating in the program.

Therefore, the package of documents may, for example, include accounting and tax reporting of the investor’s company, personal financial information, data on assets. This information is of great value to scammers. Therefore, data protection is a very important aspect of our work.

Svetlana Gorchakova Head of the Sales Department
Svetlana Gorchakova
Head of the Sales Department

With the help of a second citizenship or residence permit, investors solve several problems at once. For example, a family receives a residence permit for investment in order to move to another country. You will need to buy or rent a house, register in the tax system, get a driver's license, arrange a child for school, deal with utility bills.

All these tasks can be solved remotely. But in order to solve them quickly, efficiently and transparently for the investor, it is necessary to establish contacts with reliable realtors, developers, and service companies.

Investors don’t get status for the sake of status. That is, the online processes in the work of a licensed agent must be debugged, taking into account any possible additional requests.

Not every agent will cope with this task. The rotation of industry participants has already begun, in 2-3 years only competitive agents will remain on the market.

Svetlana Gorchakova Head of the Sales Department
Svetlana Gorchakova
Head of the Sales Department

Five Caribbean citizenship programs that operate in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia are already completely remote - they do not require the personal presence of the investor. The citizenship program of Vanuatu, a country in Oceania, has become the same.

According to European residence permit programs for investment, an investor needs to come to the country only once - to pass biometrics. An invitation for biometrics is issued after the approval of the investor's application.

If the investor does not have a visa, he is issued a special invitation. For example, this is how the Maltese permanent residence program works.

Svetlana Gorchakova Head of the Sales Department
Svetlana Gorchakova
Head of the Sales Department

Tightening Due Diligence

Strengthening due diligence is the second major trend that the pandemic has accelerated.

The legislation of the European Union and the United States in the field of control of financial flows, the fight against money laundering is constantly being tightened. More and more countries are involved in the exchange of financial and tax information. This allows developed countries that provide residence permits for investment to more carefully check investors and cut off unreliable ones.

The EU Parliament regularly questions the legitimacy of investment programs. The complete transition of procedures to online – both for programs and for agents – does not reduce the degree of doubt.

This is also why Due Diligence is constantly changing in the direction of tightening. For example, it is discussed that it is necessary to check the reliability of not only the investor, but also his family members at the same high level.

Programs that fail to provide the proper level of verification will be closed. And we are talking not only about residence permit programs in European countries, but also about Caribbean citizenship programs.

Consultant, Compliance Anti Money Laundering Officer
Pavel Reshetnikov
Consultant, Compliance Anti Money Laundering Officer

Immigrant Invest, as a licensed agent of state programs, takes into account in its work not only regulated changes in the field of Due Diligence, but also trends. Our company is the only one in the industry that conducts due diligence. Therefore, the rejection of the applications of our clients is less than 1%.

Also, since no two situations are alike, we prepare affidavits for investors. These are detailed legally significant explanations, which are accompanied by documentary evidence of the reliability of the investor and his family members.

These are optional procedures for a licensed agent, but important for an investor. They allow not only to obtain a status, but also to be sure that the reliability of the investor will not be questioned in the future.

New requirements for staying in the country 

Requirements for ties with the country will increase. The pandemic has shown that investors are interested in remote programs. Demand for Caribbean citizenship in conditions of closed borders increased by 1.5-2 times.

The governments of developed countries are concerned about the growing nominal status. Increasingly, there are proposals to tighten the requirements for investor relations with the country of the program. This is not about the personal presence of the investor during participation in the program, but about living in the country after receiving the status.

The residence permit program in Portugal requires the investor to spend 7 days a year in the country, the Antigua and Barbuda program requires 5 days for the first five years of citizenship. Perhaps in a year the terms will increase.

From the point of view of mutual recognition of programs and support for the investment immigration industry, only those programs will be developed under which the investor visits the country, shows a connection with the country.

Consultant, Compliance Anti Money Laundering Officer
Pavel Reshetnikov
Consultant, Compliance Anti Money Laundering Officer

The impact of future changes on today's investors 

The transition of procedures to online has made the participation of investors in programs more convenient. The work of licensed agents and program departments is becoming more client-oriented. This change can be assessed as positive.

Strengthening Due Diligence, new requirements for staying in the country, on the contrary, may negatively affect the desire of investors to participate in the program.

Serious preparation for due diligence is the most important stage of the program. Therefore, we recommend investors to contact only reliable licensed agents with a proven track record. The highest quality preparation for Due Diligence is carried out by Immigrant Invest.

Investors who obtained a residence permit or citizenship prior to the new residence requirements are likely to retain the privilege of short stay or the option not to travel to the country. The new program rules are not retroactive, industry experience shows.

Thus, today is the best moment to get a second citizenship or a residence permit by investment. Within a year, the conditions of the programs may change dramatically.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent that helps investors obtain a residence permit or a second citizenship in Europe and the Caribbean. If you want to get a second passport or a residence permit, please contact investment program experts for advice.

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How the requirements for investors will change in 1-2 years: trends launched by the pandemic