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Wealthy Britons step up citizen shopping to stop Brexit



LONDON (Reuters)-The investment immigration firm said that the number of British entrepreneurs hoping to “buy” citizenship from countries that can provide visa-free entry into the EU has risen sharply because the UK and EU will reach a trade agreement after Brexit dimming.

The distributed photo shows the Cape St. George Beach Resort in Paphos, Cyprus. This photo was provided to Reuters on September 24, 2020. ASTONS/distributed via REUTERS

Astons, an investment immigration company, stated that in the quarter, interest for clients seeking citizenship of Cyprus or Greece increased by 50% and 30% year-on-year, respectively. It is less than four months before British passport holders may lose their freedom. Movement across the European Union.

Henley & Partners also reported that there has been an increase in inquiries regarding investment immigration applications to Malta, Portugal, Austria and several Caribbean islands. These immigrants provide a range of residency, visa-free travel to the EU and investment in local businesses or real estate. Citizenship.

Citizens of certain Caribbean sovereign states, including Saint Lucia and Saint Kitts and Nevis, also enjoy preferential conditions for entering the EU, thanks to the close ties between history, diplomacy and modern trade agreements with EU member states.

“This has nothing to do with tourists. This is the UK̵

7;s high-net-worth community, which has always needed to travel to the EU and spend a lot of time in the EU.” said Paddy Blewer, director of Henley & Partners.

He said: “This is an investment migration as a volatility hedge, and is part of a high-net-worth portfolio value defense strategy.” He added that the amount of customer participation is now higher than that after the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Although the European Commission is considering possible measures to curb EU countries that sell passports and visas to wealthy foreigners, there is growing interest in increasing citizenship due to concerns that it can help organized criminal groups.

Only need to purchase 300,000 euros (351,870 US dollars) of real estate, you can ensure the residency rights of Cyprus residents within two months. It takes six months to ensure citizenship and at least a real estate investment of 2 million euros.

Reuters reported in December how some donors to the British ruling Conservative Party were seeking Cypriot citizenship, including hedge fund manager Alan Howard.

Aston spokesperson Konstantin Kaminskiy said: “Investments in Cyprus and the Caribbean are very popular… Mainly driven by British high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) who are concerned about Brexit Future and life.”

Caribbean dream

Henley & Partners stated that compared with the first quarter of 2020, its business volume with customers seeking alternative nationality or residency through investment in the first quarter of 2020 has increased by 40%, and has since trended during the COVID-19 lock-in period in the second quarter. Yu Ping.

But since July 1st, interest began to rise, and by September 10th, participation increased by 15% year-on-year, as the transition phase of Brexit was coming to an end.

Henley & Partners’ Blewer said that clients are increasingly receiving applications for Caribbean citizenship-which may allow them to get a better travel route to the EU than the UK-but with lower minimum investment and faster approval procedures.

According to data provided by Astons, Saint Lucia citizenship can provide visa-free travel to 146 countries/regions, and can receive a minimum investment of £76,152 in about four months.

For less than £40,000, investors can obtain citizenship of Saint Kitts and Nevis within 60 days and visa-free travel to 156 countries.

In contrast, Malta offers citizenship in exchange for an investment of approximately one million pounds, but this process can take up to 14 months.

At the same time, Portugal usually processes investment immigration applications within three months, but only grants EU residency to investors and visa fees are only applicable to 26 countries/regions.

“For wealthy people, time is usually more important than small fluctuations in costs, and many people want to get more citizenship as soon as possible in a pandemic,” said Arthur Sarkisian, managing director of Astons.

The EU authorities are under pressure to suppress member states’ plans to combat investment immigration.

Sven Giegold, a member of the European Parliament from the German Green Party, said that this type of citizenship sale “posed a serious threat to the group’s EU security and anti-corruption struggle.”

“EU passports and visas are not commodities. Money must not be the standard for EU citizenship and residency.”

(1 USD = 0.8526 Euro)


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